Monday, May 11, 2009

Sandy Bull

I've been exposed to a lot more experimental psychedelic music recently, again through Anthology. Today I had to compile release notes for Sandy Bull's Still Valentines Day, 1969, Live at The Matrix, San Francisco and after hearing the album in full and really enjoying it, I thought I'd share here. Honestly Bull sounds drugged out and distant when speaking, but the music is wonderfully blues/Middle Eastern/experimental sounding.

Here's my writeup:
Still Valentines Day, 1969, Live At The Matrix, San Francisco is a compilation of live tracks from Sandy Bull’s two live performances at The Matrix in San Francisco on February 14th and April 5th, 1969.

Expertly performing on borrowed equipment, Bull, in his finger-picking style, plays both the oud and guitar on this album, accompanying himself with tape loops. “Electric Blend 1” and “Electric Blend 2” with their tape reverberations are tracks you can only imagine experiencing live – this album being the next best thing. While he claims to only have recently picked up the oud, his two “Improvisations For Oud” suggest anything but. The melodies heard there have a distinctively Middle Eastern sound, in sharp contrast to “Memphis, TN” where he plays electric guitar alongside a fuzzy Chuck Berry tape.

Turn up the volume for Bull’s quiet introduction of several tracks, which give a unique glimpse at his experimental performance style and descriptions of his techniques. Listen closely and in the introduction of track 4, “Manha De Carnival” you will hear the inspiration for the album’s title: lost in the performance and technical difficulties and likely some mind altering chemicals he states “it’s Valentines Day… I don’t know if it still is… might be past midnight.”

You can listen to samples and buy the album, if you so choose, at Anthology Recordings