Blog Roddus

Blog Roddus
My Favorite Place A Note on my equipment: 1 Tetrabyte hard drive connected by USB to an Acer laptop, connected via USB to FUBAR II Digital Audio Converter, connected via RCA leads to Cyrus system with Tannoy Speakers, Choice!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Are We Alone?

One of the best things about the Star Wars movie series is the fact that they are set in a Galaxy far far away. There is no planet Earth and although most of the main characters are human, they are not US. I struggle to think of another Sci-fi film where Earth and its Human inhabitants were not central in the story or the dominant race or the victims who fight back and ultimately win etc etc... Most Sci-fi is Earth and Human-centric. So it appears that Hollywood still believes that Earth is the center of the Universe, like the old times where we believed the universe physically rotated around our planet. I wonder, although the movie makers can dream up some fantastic aliens, if the dominant ideology is that we ARE alone in all the Cosmos. God I sincerely hope not. There is beginning to look like a strong possibility that we may be extinct within the next couple of hundred years. I recently read something posted on Facebook saying that if the amount of CO2 and whatever other pollutants we keep pumping into our atmosphere reach a certain concentration then we pass a point of no return for possible human extinction, not to mention many other species. This threshold is approaching fast and could be reached within the next decade or less.
Here is the text of what was posted.

Climate! Serious consequences.
WE HAVE ONLY FIVE YEARS IN PRACTICAL TERMS TO AVOID SEVERE RISKS OF EXTINCTION -HUMAN AND VERTEBRATE.

Does this seem a little far fetched and alarmist? Please follow me as I trace a broad brush strokes line through some contributing logic to this claim.

1 ) WHERE ARE WE NOW?
CO2 has reached 400ppm which has not been seen for 3M years and is rising rapidly
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=648593438516205&set=a.428114147230803.91966.428111240564427&type=1&theater
We are already nearly half way through the critical decade, with no reductions in CO2 emissions in sight. If emissions were to peak now we are close to needing a very difficult 5% reduction of CO2 per year to keep global temperature to a "safe" level of 2 degrees.
http://www.skepticalscience.com/the-critical-decade-part-3-emissions-reductions.html

2 ) WHAT IS THIS DOING TO THE OCEANS?
CO2 has been buffered by oceans but ocean acidity is rising steadilyhttp://news.mongabay.com/2012/0305-hance_oceanacid_massextinction.html

3 ) WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO US AND THE FOOD CHAIN?
Photosynthesis produces O2 both on land and in the ocean. Scientists like Dr Sylvie Earle estimate 70-80% of worlds O2 comes from marine life like phytoplankton. However higher temperatures and the associated lower pH (higher acidity) affects the early calcification of zoo plankton which will lead severe consequences for the marine food chain and survival of fish, let alone sharks and cetaceans.
https://theconversation.com/if-warming-oceans-leave-algae-hungry-well-go-hungry-too-17969
http://www.nrdc.org/oceans/acidification/
Also ocean acidity and temperature may well radically change the amount of, and composition of phytoplankton species with probable grave affects on ocean photosynthesis; also causing severe effects on food production, migrations and population levels throughout the ocean biosphere.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=sweeping-change-in-phytoplankton

4 ) WHERE ARE WE HEADING?
New research confirms higher projections for temperature rises, at least 4 degrees by 2100 and may be 8 degrees by 2200
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/12/31-1

5 ) WHAT DOES HISTORY TELL US?
Most major extinction events were around 6 degrees, ocean pH is trending however towards the levels of the very worst event in only hundreds of years -the Permian - where the planet was fried back to the level of a slime ball for aeons and aeons.http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0305-hance_oceanacid_massextinction.html

6 ) WHAT DO WE HAVE TO DO TO PREVENT THIS?
Referring back to the carbon budget critical decade emissions levels graph, we had only 10 years at the beginning of the decade to avoid major tipping points. These include the current irreversible melting of the Polar ice sheet, with Greenland and West Antarctic starting. These tipping points will accelerate global warming. If we can act within this decade we can greatly improve our odds in saving the human race! The later we leave it, the worst it gets. Really we have ONLY FIVE YEARS to start to reduce emissions, as no Government has been able to do any better than 3% per year. At 5 years we need reductions that are only associated with the severest of social disruptions like in Cuba (5-6%). At the end of this ten years we would need an politically improbable 9% rate of CO2 emissions reduction per year.

http://www.skepticalscience.com/the-critical-decade-part-3-emissions-reductions.html

7 ) HOW DO WE KNOW THIS IS TRUE?
SPREADSHEET AND DISCUSSION
Here is a very comprehensive spreadsheet with many papers cited that shows the utter urgency for avoiding the very grave consequences of global warming. Please follow through the spreadsheet and see how that if we do nothing we face severe risks of human extinction in under 200 years. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc...

We must act now. Referring back to the Carbon Budget, we are almost at the mid point of the critical decade. If emissions peaked today we would face the politically very difficult task of instigating a 4% drop in CO2 emissions to stave off the otherwise inevitable rise 3 degrees warming by mid or late this century. At this point we will be faced with the grave consequences of irreversible tipping points - the melting of the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, the Amazon burning or at best turning into savannah, and the desertification of many temperate areas including Southern Europe. Continued warming will now be out of human control; levels over 5 degrees would be associated with extinction levels of over 40% of species, with hurricanes with 40% more power. Lethal heat stress will become a very significant ingredient in reducing human population.
http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2013/20130415_Exaggerations.pdf

It is not so clear whether contributions from CO2 emissions from melting permafrost would be significant. No one sane would risk a comparable extinction to the Permian event, where 96% of marine species, 57% of all families and 83% of genera - 95% of all life on earth - perished, with a mere 10 million years of recovery required.

Agricultural impacts may well prove to be the most important in the end, with further devastating effects on human population levels at temperatures over 5 degrees of warming. Human populations are likely to have already been reduced to below a tithe from the vastly reduced carrying capacity of agricultural land, and subsequent gross global shortages of food, leading to war.

Although these scenarios are not clear, what is clear is at temperatures over 6 degrees there will be, at best, a vastly reduced human population living in dire circumstances that we have only yet glimpsed in the pages of novels such as Level 7 or Dr Strangelove.

http://dels.nas.edu/resources/static-assets/materials-based-on-reports/booklets/warming_world_final.pdf

CONCLUSION

WE MUST ACT IMMEDIATELY TO AVOID SEVERE RISKS OF FUNCTIONAL HUMAN EXTINCTION IN UNDER TWO HUNDRED YEARS

We need strong emission reductions beginning now! Australia has a carbon budget of less 10 billion tons left before we must become carbon neutral, if we are to do our fair share in slowing global warming! https://theconversation.com/steep-emissions-cuts-needed-or-well-blow-australias-carbon-budget-climate-authority-23425

I wish to acknowledge significant help with this attempt by myself as a concerned activist only, in this quick traverse - a climate warming trajectory wake up call - from a group of climate science workers, the remaining faults are all mine.

The threat of severe consequences from untrammelled CO2 emissions is very very real. We have very little time. We must start reducing emissions NOW.

Sally Newell

Now this would be most unfortunate if it turns out that we were the only planet with "intelligent" life in the entire universe. It would seem like the whole Universe was just a waste of time if the only intelligent species destroys itself before it even steps foot outside its own solar system. It would also seem a cosmic waste to have a Universe so mind blowingly vast, so enormously populated with uncountable stars and galaxies that was completely void of life except on one tiny blue planet on the outer reaches of  of an obscure galaxy.
Surely that would make life a joke.
Our Galaxy, the Milky Way, is made up of over 100 billion stars(suns), a huge number. This is just one galaxy, the entire KNOWN universe apparently contains an estimated 100 BILLION Galaxies, some of which may be far larger than our own and it is estimated that there may be somewhere in the vicinity of  300 sextillion (3×1023) stars in the Universe(fuck me! Can I have a .000001 of a dollar for every star in the universe). We now know that there are planets around many stars in our galaxy and one could assume that the same applies to all other galaxies. That makes for quite a few planets. Possibly Trillions just in our galaxy alone.
Life on other planets? Got to be, better be, their might not be any on ours for too much longer. Considering  how prolific life is on our planet, I would imagine the universe to be absolutely teaming with life.Oh I so look forward to the day when it is proved beyond doubt.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Neil Young - Live At The Cellar Door (USA 1970/2013)

Latest new arrival.



Just a quick note on this new Neil Young CD that I finally got around to purchasing, Something like the 6th volume in the Performance series and it is another Neil solo acoustic gig recorded in 1970. Nothing short of brilliant, with a raft of extremely familiar songs played and sung beautifully by Neil on Piano and acoustic guitar. This was a very intimate gig with only a smattering of applause between tracks and the intimacy of the occasion definitely shines through in the renditions of these songs, as it is noticeable when  listening to it in conjunction with the Massey Hall gig the following year, which was a bigger hall and audience. The Massey Hall CD is also brilliant, but this one just pips it for me. Neil solo is just the best and the sound quality is excellent, highly recommended and compulsory for serious Neil fans. Rating 5/5.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Guangxi Yulin Dog-Meat Festival

Some More Thoughts.

I get all sorts of information coming at me on Facebook from many of my socially conscious friends and plenty of these posts get me thinking about all sorts. One that caught my attention the other day is a post against the Guangxi Yulin Dog-Meat Festival  in China. This is a festival where thousands of dogs are slaughtered and eaten in a week long festival. Of course I was revolted by the idea of eating dogs and apparently in the past the dogs were slaughtered in the streets in full view. This goes against the grain for most of us in the West and the post was asking for support to help stop the festival. I got to thinking about this and my initial thinking was although I was "offended" by the idea(we have a dog and she is part of the family) I also thought about my judging other cultures and their activities. After all, other countries eat dogs and other cultures eat all sorts of things that we would not touch even if we were near death from starvation. We eat Cows, which are sacred in India and we eat pork which is not Kosher for the Jews. Horse is eaten in some Central Asian countries also, which is another meat the west has an aversion to, probably mainly due to the fact that horses are also pets for many people. No doubt people have been eating dog for thousands of years, but I'll leave it alone thanks. So although I got to a place where I could be ok with people eating dogs, I was still not at all impresses by the whole Idea of this festival and the practices undertaken. There is considerable support, even in China itself, to stop this festival. Of course the locals themselves are not impressed with outsider reaction and fall back on the age old excuse that it is part of their Culture. Again I got to thinking who am I to judge another's Culture and the customs that define that culture. Many people seem to think that Cultures are somehow sacred, unchanging, and are forever, but that is not true, all cultures change and evolve in reaction to the changing world which informs them, and it looks to me that many people defend particularly horrid and destructive practices in that they are part of their Culture and are therefore beyond reproach. So I'm taking another approach now, the world isn't a bunch of isolated Cultures any more, all cultures are open to scrutiny of all other cultures and many are found wanting in our modern and supposedly civilised world. Claiming Cultural imperatives is not longer acceptable  for those "Primitive" Cultures who think it is their God given right to rape their women, to slaughter seals as part of a "Manhood rite", To kill the female babies in their families, to mutilate female sexual organs, To sell their children into slavery, to exterminate another culture because it is not like them, and the list goes on. Yes we should stand up and protest against these cultural depravities because they create so many victims, it might be "cultural" to treat Women the way they do in Saudi-Arabia but do the Women like it? I doubt it, but they are not allowed to voice their unhappiness at the way they are treated. Finally, don't for a moment think that I think that our Western Culture is Perfect. One of the defining things of Western Culture is Economy and it has become our god. A god of such appetites that it may yet lead to the destruction of the human race and the planet we inhabit, but that is another post altogether.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Sun Ra - The Complete Detroit Jazz Center Residency December 26th 1980 - January 1st 1981 (28 CDs) (Transparency 2008)

The Mother of all Ra Live recordings.




Tracklist

Friday December 26, 1981

Disc One 67:37

1st Set

Sun Ra Accepts The Key To The City Of Detroit
Discipline 27
Untitled Improv
Queer Notions
Yeah Man!
Round Midnight
Space Loneliness
Lady Bird
Half Nelson
Cocktails For Two
Big John's Special
Love In Outer Space (Includes Long Drum Section)
Disc Two 67:32

Fate In A Pleasant Mood
Space Is The Place
Untitled Improv
We Travel The Spaceways
Gone With The Wind
Encore
Angel Race / This Place Is Not My Home / Stranger In Paradise / Astro Nation
Greetings From The 21st Century / Interplanetary Music / Moonship Journey / Next Stop Mars / Second Stop Is Jupiter / Rocket Number Nine / Do That Thang / Pluto Too
2nd Set
Discipline 27
Untitled Improv
Untitled Improv
Enlightenment
The Satellites Are Spinning
Blue Lou
Unidentified Title
Disc Three 39:58

Spontaneous Simplicity
Images
Unidentified Blues
Stompy Jones
Over The Rainbow
I Can't Get Started
Saturday December 27, 1980

Disc Four 72:42

1st Set

Untitled Improv
Hymn To The Sun
Untitled Improv
Untitled Improv
Untitled Improv (Organ And Percussion)
Big John's Special
Unidentified Title
Take The A Train
Lightnin'

Disc Five 56:32

Slippery Horn
Solitude
Exactly Like You
The Mayan Temples
The Sound Mirror
Right Road, Wrong Direction
Bad Truth
Shoulder To Shoulder
Sea Of Immortality
To Be Or Not To Be
Ra Ra Ra
Over The Rainbow
Calling Planet Earth
Enlightenment
The Satellites Are Spinning

Disc Six 74:38

Love In Outer Space
Yeah Man!
Space Is The Place
We Travel The Spaceways
Announcer

2nd Set

Untitled Improv (Kora)
Discipline 27-11
The Same Sun Is Shining Now / Computer In The Sky / Private Eye In The Sky / Another Kind Of Glory / I Have Many Names / Mystery, Mr. Ra / You Have No Life Certificate / I Am A Different Kind Of Being / The Universe Sent Me To Converse With You / Stranger In Paradise / Do You Have Rights For Angels? / I Use Planets For Stepping Stones / Bad Truth / You're Just Babies In The Universe
Bad Truth / Moonship Journey / Sea Of Immortality / Astro Nation / Angel Race / This World Is Not My Home / I'll Wait For You
Greetings From The 21st Century / Rocket Number Nine / Second Stop Is Jupiter

Disc Seven 74:34

Untitled Improv
We'll Be Together Again
The Sunny Side Of The Street
King Porter Stomp
Spontaneous Simplicity
Space Loneliness
Lights On A Satellite
Watusi

Disc Eight 15:54

Big John's Special
Strange Celestial Road
Hit That Jive Jack / Gone With The Wind
Announcer

Sunday December 28, 1980

Disc Nine 72:31

1st Set

Untitled Improv (Kora) / Jingle Bells / Untitled Improv / Hymn To The Sun
Along Came Ra / Mystery Mr. Ra
Discipline 27 / Untitled Improv / Unidentified Title
Unidentified Title
Unidentified Blues
Three Little Words

Disc Ten 77:34

Sleeping Beauty
Fate In A Pleasant Mood
El Is A Sound Of Joy
South America
Africa
The Satellites Are Spinning
Saturn Rings / Journey To Saturn / Saturn Rings
Announcer

Disc Eleven 58:02

2nd Set

Untitled Improv
Unidentified Title
Discipline 27-11
You Are Living On The Other Side Of Time / I Am Sin / Sunset
The Same Sun Is Shining Now / Private Eye In The Sky
You'd Better Mind What You're Saying
Untitled Improv
Deep Purple
Unidentified Title
Big John's Special
Yeah Man!

Disc Twelve 65:16

Body And Soul
Queer Notions
Discipline 99
Images
Unidentified Blues
Lady Bird
Half Nelson
Watusi

Disc Thirteen 30:55

Destination Unknown / Untitled Improv / Untitled Improv (Synthesizer) / Destination Unknown
Space Is The Place
We Travel The Spaceways
Rocket Number Nine / Next Stop Mars / Second Stop Is Jupiter / Journey To Saturn / Saturn Rings / Third Heaven / Neptune

Monday December 29, 1980

Disc Fourteen 58:23

Unidentified Title (Kora, Bass, Percussion, Etc)
Pleiades (Flutes And Bells Only)
Before Sun Comes Out
Discipline 27 / Unidentified Improv
Spontaneous Simplicity
Oblique Parallax (Organ And Synthesizer Only)
Queer Notions
Big John's Special
Yeah Man!

Disc Fifteen 46:43

Lights On A Satellite
Love In Outer Space
We'll Be Together Again (Organ And Rhythm Only)

Disc Sixteen 58:13

Space Loneliness
Destination Unknown / The Space Age Is Here To Stay / Unidentified Improv (Synthesizer Only) / Calling Planet Earth
Space Is The Place
We Travel The Spaceways / Angel Race / This World Is Not My Home / I'll Wait For You / I Could've Enjoyed Myself On The Planet / Greetings From The 21st Century / Rocket Number Nine / Next Stop Mars / Second Stop Is Jupiter / Why Go To The Moon / Satellites Are Spinning / Journey To Saturn / We Travel The Spaceways / Interplanetary Music / Face The Music / Strange Celestial Road / Sun Ra And His Band From Outer Space / Hit That Jive, Jack / Gone With The Wind
Encore
Astro Nation
King Porter Stomp
Fate In A Pleasant Mood
Announcer

Tuesday December 30, 1980

Disc Seventeen 55:25

Untitled Improv (Kora, French Horn, Etc)
Discipline 27 / Untitled Improv (Alto Sax, Trumpet, Etc.)
The Last Days / Crazy As A Daisy
Calling Planet Earth
Queer Notions
What's New?
Springtime Again
Space Loneliness
Cocktails For Two

Disc Eighteen 60:23

Lights On A Satellite
Big John's Special
Love In Outer Space
Enlightenment
The Shadow World

Disc Nineteen 44:30

The Shadow World (Continued)
Journey To Stars Beyond (Part 2) / Space Is The Place
Over The Rainbow (Organ Only)
Space Is The Place
We Travel The Spaceways / Outer Spaceways Inc. / We Travel The Spaceways / Hit That Jive, Jac / Moonship Journey / Greetings From The 21st Century / Rocket Number Nine / Second Stop Is Jupiter / Why Go To The Moon / I'll Wait For You / We Travel The Spaceways / Angel Race / Stranger In Paradise / This World Is Not My Home / We Travel The Spaceways
Announcer

Wednesday December 31, 1980

1st Set - 8:00 PM

Disc Twenty 56:24

Untitled Improv (Percussion. Kora) / Untitled Improv (Horns) / Unidentified Title (Flutes)
Auld Lang Syne
Astro Black
Tapestry From An Asteroid
Along Came Ra
Discipline 27
Island In The Sun

Disc Twenty-One 48:14

A Foggy Day
How Am I To Know?
Images
New Horizons
There Will Never Be Another You
Celestial Realms
Stardust From Tomorrow
Enlightenment

Disc Twenty-Two 42:06

Somebody Else's Idea / I Wouldn't Make A World Like This
Bad Truth / Somebody Might Push The Button
The Impossible Is Your Only Hope / Sea Of Immortality
Untitled Improv
They'll Come Back / There Are Other Worlds / Take The Big Gamble (On The Dark Horse)
Announcement: Get Your Passport From Me

2nd Set - 11:00 PM

Disc Twenty-Three 59:40

Untitled Improv (Percussion, Kora)
When There Is No Sun / Are You Spotless?
Discipline 27-11 / I Am The Tempter / I Use Planets For Stepping Stones / Discipline 27-11
Auld Lang Syne
Big John's Special
El Is The Sound Of Joy
Beyond The Purple Star Zone (Journey To Stars Beyond) (Part 1)
The World Of Africa
Rose Room

Disc Twenty-Four 57:21

Halloween In Harlem
Journey To Saturn / Saturn's Rings
You Got To Head Out To Space One Day / Never Never Land
Everything Is Space
Fate In A Pleasant Mood
Strange Worlds / Black Myth
Medicine For A Nightmare / Untitled Improv
Rocket Number Nine / The Space Age Is Here To Stay
Face The Music

Disc Twenty-Five 59:47

St. Louis Blues
Watusi
Sunology / The Lion Of The Heavens
Planet Earth
Third Heaven / Why Go To The Moon? We Travel The Spaceways / Imagination
Announcer

Thursday January 1, 1981

3rd Set - 3:00 AM

Disc Twenty-Six 19:49

On Green Dolphin Street
Untitled Improv
Outer Space Is Such A Pleasant Place
Myth Vs Reality
Strange Worlds / Black Myth

Disc Twenty-Seven 72:43

Untitled Improv
Vista Omniverse (Organ And Synthesizer Only)
Tea For Two
Blue Lou
King Porter Stomp
Yeah, Man!
Deep Purple
Keep Your Sunny Side Up
Interstellar Low Ways
The Satellites Are Spinning
Stompin' At The Savoy
Mayan Temples

Disc Twenty-Eight 60:12

Unidentified Title
Queer Notions
Willow Weep For Me
Space Loneliness
Round Midnight
Limehouse Blues
Discipline 99
Space Is The Place / We Travel The Spaceways / Greetings From The 21st Century / Strange Celestial Road
Announcer



I briefly mentioned this CD Box Set several months ago after it arrived in my mail box. It could quite possibly be the only copy in NZ. This version of this release is the 2008 second addition of 500 after the initial 400 from 2007 on CDr, so they are getting pretty rare. It is not a lavish affair by all means, the packaging consists of a cool plastic hinged box with binder rings to hold the plastic sleeves that the Cds slip into. The track list is a printed list on 2 sheets of folded A3 paper. The list of musicians does not quite match those listed in "The Earthly Recordings Of  Sun Ra" Second Edition. I like the packaging and it should hold up well over time. The set was released by Transparency Records, a small boutique label that has put out quite a number of rare Sun Ra recordings, mostly live audience recordings and other rare gems and some not so good. The residency was recorded on soundboard by the residencies organiser, Rick Steiger, and was probably doing the rounds on the Tape swapping scene for some time. The set had been remastered from the original soundboard cassettes and although is very listenable and well above Bootleg quality, it certainly ain't high -fidelity. With over 26 hours of music on offer there is plenty to keep one occupied, although a lot of dedication is required.I have been sampling random discs from this set over the last several days and am finding the music here immensely listenable and enjoyable. We are getting the full gauntlet of Ra's ourve and lots and lots of excellent soloing from the Arkestra. There is far too much music for me to go into much detail about and in reality this set will only be of interest to a few hundred hardcore Ra fans but if you are into Sun Ra in a big way then this is one of the best live documents I have heard, sound quality aside. Highly Recommended, If you can find it. Rating 4.5/5.   

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Some thoughts.

One of the things I had intended for this blog when I started it was to use it as a vehicle for getting some of the stuff out of my head and down as writings. I think a lot about the world and the things that happen in it. I have always had trouble expressing the things that I think about while I'm working or tramping or gardening or even listening to music. I don't have the answers for the worlds ills and I am sometimes pretty cynical about society and humanity in general and sometimes pretty angry at some of the things I hear about. Of course, like most, I have opinions and Beliefs, not always well informed and I don't intend to be completely accurate with my writings, these will just be musings based on what I believe about the world based on my own experiences, media that I have been exposed and thoughts and beliefs that I have accumulated through my existing within the society I live in. It will be good practice getting my Ideas out into the world, I have things to say and just as much right to say them as any of the hatemongers, bigots, and fanatics who abuse their freedom of speech so much. Every day we receive information, from media, news programs, papers, magazines, TV, movies, books, songs, other people we interact with, social media, emails, phone calls and more and that information can trigger all sorts of thinking and sometimes emotions that influence our everyday existence. So with all so much going on around us and assaulting us from every direction, where do I start with my thoughts. How about these ones. 
Last night I watched the movie"Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" Not a bad movie, based on Mandela's autobiography, but not as powerful a document as I would have hoped for a great man. A movie like that certainly evokes plenty of emotion and thinking about the things that transpired and I could spend several days expressing all the thoughts that passed through my mind during and after the film. But the thought train I want to look at right now is what happened after Mandela became President of South Africa. In the movie, Mandela was quite uncompromising in his requirements for the Blacks in South Africa: Total abolishment of the Apartheid system, one vote for every person and no power sharing with the whites if the majority voted that way, with the Majority being overwhelmingly Black. For a liberal type like myself these conditions sounded fine, especially in light of the disgusting treatment the Blacks had been dealt for so long and indeed he got what he wanted, The presidency, the dismantling of Apartheid and universal suffrage. Great progress for South Africa and humankind in general, right? What I am thinking now though is how much better are things actually NOW in SA after more than 20 years of being Apartheid free. A quick perusal on Wikipedia reveals that of the 53 million population, 80% are black and that in 2009 the unemployment rate was nearly 24%. That is an incredible almost 13 Million people unemployed and I could quite comfortably predict that a very large majority of them are Black. The Poverty then will be pretty bad and from what I have head from various sources and again from Wikipedia, the crime rate is one of the worst in the world. So after 20 years of Black rule in South Africa, is the average Black any better off than he was before. Well they should have more freedom from political oppression(I would think) but what else? Sure there is now a much larger population of middle class Blacks but I suspect that many have come from the ones that were already educated before the dismantling of Apartheid, like Mandela himself, who was a lawyer. And apparently, there are more poor Whites now than there was before, but this is a trend all over the world. So I am wondering why is South Africa still in such a mess. I think it is good that the Black South Africans are running their own country, although if they are like most of the other Democracies of the world, the real power lies with the very rich elite. Which brings me to my simplifications of the current conditions in SA. Money. I seems to me that money and the current economic systems we work under really undermine any advancement of social gains. I suspect one of the first pressures Mandela and his government would have come under would have been to protect the wealth of the ultra rich White elite and even today SA is ranked in the top 10 countries of income inequality. Of course there are a huge number of other reasons why SA is in the state it is and it is not all bad but it just looks like another situation where humans seem almost incapable of finding solutions so that all their people can have some reasonable quality of life.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

David Bowie - The Next Day.(UK 2013)

Latest CD Arrival.



Bowie is back! After about 10 years, The Thin White Duke is back with a new album and it got voted No.2 album of the year in the Uncut Magazine best of 2013 album list. It doesn't sound stylistically all that different from his last two releases back in the early 2000's, but it has maintained the quality of those two records. Like some others of his vintage, Bowie has made a late career resurgence with some strong material that sounds like just what he want's to put out and not dictated by some record company jerks trying to sell mega quantities of albums. You probably won't hear any of this on commercial radio and it isn't exactly classic rock but there is some good stuff here and I especially like the smoky sax on several tracks, especially "Dirty Boys" Overall most enjoyable and gets a rating of 4/5.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sun Ra - A Night In East Berlin/My Brother the Wind & Sun No.9 (USA 1995)



Another quality Leo release of various recording from the Sun Ra archive, this set comprises a couple of late period live recordings of superior sound quality and  excellent playing. The music presented here is mostly somewhat more accessible than a lot of other recordings by Ra and so is recommended for the less hardcore Ra aficionado. A great release, Rating 4/5.

Texas Flashbacks Volumes 1-6 - Various Artists (USA 1960s)

A Recent Arrival.



I originally had a couple of volumes of this set on vinyl many moons ago and came across this boxset on some obscure webshop while looking for the impossible to find Rubble Collection Vol 11-20. I bought this cos I knew there were some pretty good tracks on the volumes I had. After several days on random play in itunes I have discovered a plethora of new raw 60s teenage garage beat songs and covers to keep me amused. Plenty of great guitar shredding snotty punk songs along with several top notch tracks I know from other compilations. A few duds but overall a great collection, highly recommended, Rating 4.5/5.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

John Zorn - Filmworks IV - S&M + More (USA 1997)

Latest Zorn Filmworks Arrival.





This release is another compilation of various film musics from a bunch of obscure flicks that not many of us have seen. The tracks here are a lot longer that the many short music samples from most of the previous volumes. The set kicks of with a sort of late night dubby thing that cruises along quite pleasantly and is a lovely relaxing vibe, where as the second track is far more esoteric and is actually a number of smaller sound bites from the same film soundtrack all indexed as one track. As usual with Zorn there is a vast cornucopia of musical styles on offer here, making for an intriguing listen, although not all of it is riveting and some of it will work better hearing it in the context of the film it was created for. Rating 3/5.  

Luc Ferrari - Cellule (Tzadik 1998)

Some older Tzadik release. 




I picked this out of Tzadik's back catalogue while browsing the other week cos the dude has a cool name and the French put out some pretty out there music. Luc doesn't disappoint. Two extended tracks with the first one having a strong Minimalist vibe and some cool percussion before developing into even more interesting sounds.The second track is even more experimental but is also very cool and I keep thinking back to Igor Wakhevitch as a reference point.Totally non commercial and very  far away from conventional "classical" music, Luc has composed some interestingly different music that works well and keeps me interested throughout. Rating 4/5. 


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sun Ra - Cosmo Earth Fantasy(Sub Underground Vol 1&2) (USA 1974/5/2012?)

Latest Sun Ra Arrival.



Latest arrival from Sun Ra, this recent release combines two ultra rare Ra LPs from 74'and 75', Cosmo Earth Fantasy and What's New, although the recordings themselves are dated somewhat earlier. Quite a mix of styles on offer here with the set kicking off with the mammoth 22 minute improvised title track which will challenge but reveals some quite interesting passages. The rest is a bit more conventional sounding with some nice piano from Ra in places and reasonable remastering to give a fairly listenable release. A very worthwhile Sun Ra set and gets my rating of 4/5. 

Buffalo Springfield - Buffalo Springfield (USA 1969)

Off The Shelf




Been reading Neil Youngs' "Waging Heavy Peace" And got to his bit about meeting Stephen Stills in LA which lead to the formation of The Buffalo Springfield. There are three bands from the 60s (Outside of The Beatles and Zappa's Mothers of Invention) that stand out head and shoulders above all the others for me(and that is against some mighty stiff competition). Spirit is one, The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band and the mighty awesome Buffalo Springfield. 
This was their first of only three albums and it kicks of with their big hit, which most of us will know, the magnificent "For What It's Worth". The rest of the album is a fantastic blend of folk, country and 60s pop, it is a powerful set and just oozes self assurance and quality. This is also the album that introduced us to the mighty talent of the incomparable Neil Young, with his 5 compositions being the best ones for me. Better than the Byrds, massively influential, a classic album which I should listen to far more than I do. Rating 5/5.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

John Zorn - The Hermetic Organ II - St Pauls Chapel NYC (USA 2014)

Latest John Zorn CD





Johns second Organ recital and pretty much like the last one which was something I didn't really get into all that much. This one is slightly better and a bit mellower than the first one. Perhaps better to see the event live but still, listenable and I'll rate it 2.5/5.

John Zorn - Filmworks III - 1990-1995

Another Zorn filmworks CD.






The next volume of Zorn's Filmworks releases arrived a couple of weeks back and it is another collection of over 50 tracks in just over an hour. The first 12 tracks are most important as it was the first coming together of the four musicians who went on to form Masada and it is a great bunch of nice jazz tracks. The tracks 14-25 are Zorn and Marc Ribot letting loose on some very cool music. There is some real lovely mellow laid back stuff amongst the more raucous stuff. I don't think I have heard Ribot and Zorn play together like this, just the two of them, it is very good. The rest of the collection is apparently a bunch of advertising jingles, so to speak and most  are very short and cover a vast amount of musical territory with some familiar themes which I recognise as they were developed further later on on some of the Naked City releases. Overall a most interesting release.Rating 4/5.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Sun Ra - Space Probe

The latest Sun Ra Arrival.




As I head towards owning probably the largest Ra CD collection in NZ, this latest arrival is another of those collections that shines yet another light on the musical world of Mr Ra. The 17 minute title track is a spaced out extended experiment on the new Moog as of like 1970 and is way ahead of it's time and quite an impressive collection of weird noises which are very cool on the headphones late in the evening.(don't play it to your Grandma). The rest of the set is a small ensemble recording and parts remind me of Moondog. All very good Sun Ra and the recording quality is some of the best. Rating 4.5/5.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Henry Kaiser : Requia And Other Improvisations For Guitar Solo (USA Tzadik 2013)

The latest arrival from Tzadik





An experimental improvised solo guitar album from Tzadik, this has some quite interesting and enjoyable moments and covers quite a lot of styles but also has some long and tedious plinkity plinkity bits that don't really inspire me too much, mainly being the 21 minute track 3. A mixed bag  and not the best example of this sort of thing I have heard. Rating 2.5/5.

Sun Ra - Live At The Red Garter 1970 (USA 2013)

SUN RA





This popped up on Nuvoid last week and I knew I had it on the shelf along with quite a lot of the other Transparency releases I procured last year. Nuvoid talks about the historical importance of this recording and the quality of the playing, but he is a muso himself and far more knowing about these things than me. The bugbear here is that this set was mastered from an audience recording and even after mastering for CD still sounds like a Bootleg. Which for me makes it pretty hard to get into the swing of it and makes me wonder why bother when there are so many far superior Ra recordings available, but hey, that's Sun Ra. There is some interesting stuff here amongst the murk and it would have been nice to hear it more clearly. Rating 2/5.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sun Ra - Lanquidity (USA 1978)

SUN RA
Just arrived.




The late 70s were an interesting time for Sun Ra Fans in that he integrated a lot of the current "Black music styles" in to his recordings and so we have albums influenced by Disco and Funk and this set which leans heavily towards the Jazz/Fusion of the early 70s. This makes for one of the more accessible Ra albums and a good one for those who struggle with his more esoteric stuff. I think it is a great set and the recording quality is one of the best I have heard in the vast Ra discography. Rating 4.5/5.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Casey Hut - 6-7th February 2014

Uncle Roddus tramping diary: Tramp No. 143
Casey Hut 6-7th February 2014.


The best laid plans of Mice & Men. Thursday 6th was a public holiday, the extended forecast for the four days from Thursday to Sunday for the Canterbury High Country was for fine with light winds. I decided to take advantage, take the Friday off work and visit two huts that are on my list. I left home fairly early in anticipation of a longish day. Loaded with a four day pack, I set off from the Andrews Shelter, heading along the Andrews track to Casey hut, which was to be my lateish lunch stop before the big climb up to Ranger Biv, My first nights accommodation. By the end of the first couple of hours walking my boots were starting to give me trouble, oldish boots that had given trouble in the past but  my feet had survived several trips in them with little discomfort over the last couple of years. I had even wet them before leaving home to soften them up a little. After 3 hours I stopped just over Casey Saddle and spent about 40 minutes eating and dealing to the blisters on my feet, using up my last blister blocks and Lectoplast and starting in on the contents of my first aid kit, but  the damage had been done and even with all the padding, things got worse as I approached Casey Hut and by now I had a pretty good idea I wouldn't be too keen to carry on. I limped into Casey Hut after about 5 hours 20 minutes from my car and was so relieved to remove my boots. The pain in my big  toes, where they had been pressing into the front of my boots eased and fortunately showed no physical damage but my heels  both had large blisters. It was only about 2:30PM so I had lunch, scored a bunk in this 16 bunk hut and settled in for the duration, knowing that others would arrive in due course as this is a pretty popular hut. I wasn't at all in the best of moods knowing that my weekend wasn't going at all to plan. To make matters worse, the hut was stifling hot and due to there being only two windows with insect screens and the sandflies outside being ravenous and in plague numbers around the hut, we couldn't really open any other windows. Another 6 trampers arrived over the course of the afternoon, we chatted about the weekends plans, I mumbled about going back out and home in the morning and then I went for a short walk to the Poulter river and tried to stay a bit cooler outside, but the aforementioned sandflies were equally ravenous no matter where I went and seem to develope a very rapid immunity to the insect repellent I was using. Sleeping in the hut was particularly  difficult due to the heat and I seriously considered grabbing my bivvy bag and sleeping outside at one stage but I must have drifted off before I got motivated enough to do this. Things finally did cool down enough in the night to actually allow me to sleep under my sleeping bag instead of on it. The next morning every body slept in till about 9am. After breakfast and packing I attacked my sore feet with what I could scrounge from my first aid kit to try and pad out the sore bits for the trip out. It worked well enough and the first climb out from the hut went fairly well. I made good time in spite of the pain and stopped for lunch just past Hallelujah Flats. The feet were getting sorer as I got to the climb out of the Andrews River and I was finding that my legs were getting more fatigued because I couldn't relax with the pain of walking and the last big down hill part was a killer. I was sooooo relieved to finally arrive at the car but had to make a very quick getaway as I was swamped by more ravenous sandflies. I think I managed to get back out in somewhere between 5 and 51/2 hours. Considering it is only about 14KM from the hut to the car, My legs were quite sore the next day. A combination of the heavy pack and the strain of walking with the pain. Not one of the better tramps I have done. Below are the photos I took on the first day.