Amoeblog

Amen Dunes' Damon McMahon Talks Trying Not to Be Cool On New Album 'Love'

Posted by Billy Gil, June 13, 2014 06:16pm | Post a Comment

Damon McMahon has been making lo-fi psychedelic folk under the Amen Dunes moniker over the past decade. Several tours, a stint living in China and a few records later, and Amen Dunes are having a breakthrough moment with the recently released Love, a cleaner, more precise album and perhaps one of the best of the year thus far, full of swirling, melancholic folk-rockers with carefully considered experimental touches.

I’ve read that in the past you recorded a lot of things on your own onto tape. What made you want to go for a more produced sound on this record?

I think I’ve always wanted to make records that sounded really good, but I didn’t have the means to do so. It’s always been a solitary process, it never really worked for me in studios, but I’ve always wanted to make a record that sounded really good but I never really had the ability to do that. I had specific visions for this record. I had this idea of imagining what a songwriter record would sound like if it was backed by Pharoah Sanders. I was really obsessed with this Pharoah Sanders record called Karma, I have been for a long time. I wanted to make a record that production-wise was reminiscent of that. And I couldn’t really do that with a TASCAM four-track.  

Was it important to keep some of the immediacy of your earlier work? I’m thinking of a song like “I Can’t Dig It,” which has almost a live feel to it.

The way that I try to do that is I take forever to work out the arrangements for overdubs and mixing, but the core music, the vocal and main two melodic instruments and drums are always first take. I probably did like three takes most of each song, and what we kept is one of those three takes. That’s why it feels really immediate, because it is.

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A Look at Baloch Arts and Culture and an Urgent Appeal to Prevent the Execution of a Child

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 28, 2010 01:48pm | Post a Comment


Balochistan (????????) is a UNPO member nation that lies along the division between the Middle East and South Asia. It is currently divided between Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.


Mehrgarh

The area was first settled c. 7000-6000 BCE by the Dravidian ancestors of the modern day Brahui. The ruins of the Neolithic Mehghar reveal it to be one of the earliest sites with evidence of farming and herding in South Asia.

From the first to third centuries, AD, the area was ruled by Indo-Scythian or Indo-Parthian kings, the P?ratar?jas. During the Arab Conquest in the 700s, Islam and Arabic culture arrived. In the 1000s, fleeing the Seljuk Turks, and in the 1200s, fleeing the Khagan of the Mongol Empire, numerous Aryan tribes arrived. All found the harsh, arid and mountainous ideally isolated and today, Baloch people's DNA reveals a rich genetic mix with varying degrees of Arab, Aryan, Dravidian, Greek, Kurdish and Turk ancestry.

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Amoeba Hollywood World Music Best Sellers For February 2010

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, March 3, 2010 04:21pm | Post a Comment

1. Charlotte Gainsbourg-IRM
2. Charlotte Gainsbourg-IRM (LP version)
3. Huun Huur Tu/ Carmen Rizzo - Eternal
4. Dengue Fever Presents: Electric Cambodia
5. Tinariwen - Imidiwan: Companions
6. Basseko KouyateI Speak Fula
7. V/A - Pomegranates (LP version)
8. Ali Faurka Toure/Toumani Diabete - Ali & Toumani
9. Mulatu Astatke - New York-Addis-London
10. Shakira - She Wolf

So far 2010 has been shaping up to be the year of the women. Amoeba’s three biggest releases this year have been from the likes of Sade, Joanna Newsom, and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Ms. Gainsbourg tops the Amoeba Hollywood World Music chart once again in February and shows no signs of slowing down. The LP version of IRM also landed the second spot. At number three was Huun Huur Tu from Tuva, who had an amazing instore performance back on February 7th (Super Bowl Sunday). I managed to catch Huun Huur Tu once again a few weeks later opening for Tinariwen at Royce Hall at UCLA. The two groups combined were three and a half hours of musical bliss. I hope that perhaps both these groups would consider going on the road together. Tinariwen’s Imidiwan: Companions was at number five in the charts, up a few notches from last month.

Two compilations that came out last month both featured a music scene that was thriving during a modernization era that ended with entry of a new regime. Pomegranates (number seven) was compiled by our own Amoeba Hollywood’s Mahssa Taghinia (whose mix CD Oyun Havasi! Volume 1 is still one of Amoeba Hollywood’s best sellers). Pomegranates is a collection of pop music from Iran before the Ayatollah Khomeini. It is a blend of Persian and Western culture that culminated in some of the best sixties and seventies pop, rock and psyche. Most of this music was lost for a period of time, as Khomeini banned the broadcasting of any music other than martial or religious on Iranian radio and television in July 1979. It’s a great collection of songs sung in Farsi about love, sex and longing that most of the world has never heard outside of Iran.

Electric Cambodia (number four) is a collection of Cambodian rock from the sixties and early seventies. The members of Dengue Fever put this compilation together from their collection of rare Cambodian cassettes. During the period most of this music was recorded, Cambodia was going through major modernization, which brought on an artistic renaissance that not only included music, but architecture, art and cinema. This period ended when the Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia in 1975. It was noted that most of the musicians included in this collection were killed during this period in the cleansing of Cambodia’s intellectuals and western sympathizers. However, the cassettes of the music from that era continued to be copied and their music lived on.

At number six is Basseko Kouyate's brilliant I Speak Fula.  The Malian musician will be performing at Amoeba Hollywood on Sunday March 21st at 7 pm. I would advise you not to miss it. Basseko Kouyate plays the Ngoni, which sounds like a mix of the banjo, guitar and Kora. To top it off, he jams on his instrument. Although I love the album, it will be his live show that will impress you. So don’t miss out!

Notice there aren't many Latin music releases in the top ten? That's because all the biggies are coming out in March. More on that later.

Scimitars and Sand Dunes - Rethinking the Middle East, Arabs and Islam

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 6, 2009 10:41pm | Post a Comment
With President Obama's recent address at the University of Cairo, there has been a veritable sandstorm of media discussion about the Middle East, the Arab world and the Islamic world; three concepts lazily interchanged in the American mainstream media (including the supposedly smarter public radio). Despite some overlap, the indiscriminate use of the terms, both out of ignorance and deliberately,  minimizes substantial heterogeneity and differences -- to the detriment of our understanding of reality, and as a result contributing to the undermining and hindering of attempts at peace in the region. While I did find the president's speech fairly nuanced, intelligent and inspirational, until substantial actions reflect those attractive words, they offer nothing more than hope.



"Neighbour to the Moon," the legendary Christian Lebanese singer, ?????.

Today Arabs, Muslims and Middle Easterners remain some of the last people in the west for whom racism is not only extremely common but also widely accepted, even governmentally endorsed. Merely advocating equality and human rights for Arabs and Muslims is often met with charges of racism and embracing hatred, probably the only people likely to ellicit that response besides Germans. Given this reality, centuries of negative stereotypes and repeated military and political actions that reflect undeniable double standards, it's no wonder that many view the frequent proclamations that "Islam is a beautiful religion" and hands extended in friendship with widespread suspicion at best.

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Happy نوروز (Nowruz)

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 20, 2009 08:26am | Post a Comment
HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Today, for most observers (but tomorrow for others), is Persian New Year, variously and roughly anglicized as Navrus (Tajikistan), Nawroz (Afghanistan), Nevruz Day (Albania), Nooruz (Iran), Nov Ruz Bairam (Kyrgyzstan), Nauryz Meyrami (Kazakhstan) and Novruz Bayram (Azerbaijan). As with the Lunar New Year, which is often referred to in the media as the "Chinese New Year" (unintentionally marginalizing Koreans, Taiwanese and Vietnamese, who also celebrate the Lunar New Year), Nowroz is often referred to as the Iranian or Persian New Year. In President Obama's Nowruz address, he didn't make that mistake, although he did turn it into a fairly contrived address to the Islamic Republic.


Maz Jorbani on Axis of Evil Comedy Tour

IRAN VS PERSIA

Iran, though related to Persia, is not the same thing. The word Iran comes from Ary?n?m, literally, "Land of the Aryans." Other Aryan people (who also celebrate Nowruz) include Baloch, Kurds, Lurs, Ossettians, Pashtuns and Zazas. Thus, Nowruz is widely celebrated (in addition to the places already named) in Balochistan, Bosnia, the Caucasus, the Crimea, Iraq, Kashmir, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Macedonia, Syria, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The term "Iranian," in contrast to "Persian," includes all people descended from Iran who are just as fully Iranian (at least on paper, though not necessarily in practice) such as Arabs, Armenians, Georgians, Jews and Kazakhs, who are probably less likely to celebrate Nowruz. Though most of Nowruz's celebrants practice Islam, its origins go back much further and the day is especially important to Zoroastrians, as well as Alawites, Alevis, Bahá'í, Ismailis, and other Central Asian people of various faiths. 
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