Jackie-O Motherfucker

(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Alchemy , 6/10
Cross Pollinate , 6/10
Flat Fixed , 6/10
Fig. 5 , 7/10
Wow , 6/10
Magick Fire Music , 7/10
Liberation , 6/10
Change , 6/10
Nudge: Trick Doubt (2002), 6.5/10
Nudge: Elaborate Devices for Filtering Crisis (2003), 6.5/10
Nudge: Cached (2005), 7/10
Flags Of The Sacred Harp (2005), 4/10
Valet: Blood Is Clean (2007) , 5.5/10
Valet: Naked Acid (2008), 6.5/10
Nudge: As Good As Gone (2009), 6.5/10
Ballads Of The Revolution (2010), 6/10
Earth Sound System (2011), 5/10

Jackie-O Motherfucker was the project of New York-based multi-instrumentalist Tom Greenwood (a former Railroad Jerk). Alchemy (Imp, 1995) and Cross Pollinate (Imp, 1996) already displayed a schizophrenic inspiration that mixed psychedelic guitar, country slide guitar and free-jazz improvisation, as if Jimi Hendrix played Hank Williams backed by the Swell Maps.
Tracks: A1 Birds And Insects 11:29 A2 Misery Failing 7:51 B1 Spanish Massacre 12:32 B2 March To The Witches Castle 7:40

The double album Flat Fixed (Imp, 1998) is much more complex, thanks to an extended line-up (turntable, ukulele, flute...) and to lengthier and noisier jams (Wolf Brother Blues, and especially Crazymaker). Contributors included female guitarist Honey Owens.
Tracks: A1 Turtles A2 Bewitched B1 Ferraris B2 Honey C1 Dot Riot C2 Wolf Brothers Blues D Crazymaker

Greenwood then relocated to Portland (Oregon).

The jazz-fusion style of these early albums was abandoned on Fig. 5 (Road Cone, 1999), that virtually marked a rebirth of the concept. This time around the founding duo and their impromptu collaborators piled up elements of acid-rock, free-jazz, folk, blues, noise-rock, soul, post-rock, country music, electronica, gospel, using a larger arsenal of instruments. The stew yields the surreal and dissonant chamber music of Analogue Skillet, the ghostly country music of Native Einstein, the funereal raga of Your Cells are in Motion, the otherwordly folk of Beautiful September and the superhuman, 24-minute jam Michigan Avenue Social Club.
Tracks: 1 Analogue Skillet 4:06 2 Native Einstein 6:33 3 Your Cells Are In Motion 9:09 4 Go Down, Old Hannah 6:53 5 Amazing Grace 10:35 6 Beautiful September (We Are Going There) 10:13 7 Chiapas! I MUST GO THERE! 0:16 8 Michigan Avenue Social Club 24:33 9 Madame Curie 1:31

Wow , that lost Owens, contained two lengthy (20 minute each) jams and was probably their most jazz-oriented recording. Wow 24:19 Love Horn 17:06

The jazz elements all but disappear on the double-disc Magick Fire Music (Ecstatic Peace, 2000), an epic journey from noise collage to ambient melancholia a` la Godspeed You Black Emperor (The Cage, Jugband 2000, Second Ave).
Tracks: 1-01 Extension 15:49 1-02 Bonesaw 8:38 1-03 The Cage 11:40 1-04 2nd Ave, 2AM (For David Wojnarowicz) 13:38 1-05 Jugaband 2000 5:55 1-06 Quaker 13:05 1-07 Lost Stone 7:57 2-01 Black Squirrels 8:54

Wow - Magick Fire Music (All Tomorrow's Parties, 2003) combines the two albums.

Liberation (Road Cone, 2001 - ATP, 2005) focused on the ensemble's most original technique: the subdued symphonism of Ray-O-Graph and Peace On Earth. Despite the extreme fragmentation of sound, from the ruins of harmony something like the rustic ballad Something on Your Mind could still be molded.
Tracks: 1 Peace On Earth 10:04 2 Ray-O-Graph 13:57 3 Northern Line 3:40 4 In Between 19:01 5 Something On Your Mind 3:39 Written-By - Dino Valenti 6 Tea Party 2:33 7 The Pigeon 10:34 8 Pray 9:29

U Sound Volume 2 (Usoundarchive, 2002) collects two live performances.

Despite the wealth of instrumentation (guitars, violins, cellos, sax, reeds, vibes, percussion), and an increased reliance on Sonic Youth-ian guitar minimalism, Change (Textile, 2003) is not significantly different than its predecessors. It is, in fact, more acoustic. The majestic blues of Everyday and the jazz refraction of Feast of the Mau-Mau increase the degree of organic structure within their scientific paradigm.

Our Nakedness Was Our Picket Sign (Cast Exotic, 2003) is a live album.

Jackie-o Motherfucker's female guitarist Honey Owens is also active in Nudge, a Portland-based trio formed with two members of Fontanelle, percussionist Paul Dickow and keyboardist Brian Foote (the project's founder). They released Trick Doubt (Outward, 2002) and Elaborate Devices for Filtering Crisis (Tigerbeat, 2003), their first experiments in sculpting glacial and fragile post-rock structures that share the feeling of being permanently on the verge of disintegrating.

Nudge's vivisection of sound was continued on Cached (Kranky, 2005), their most mature statement yet. Classic Mode straddles the border between lounge soul and acid freak-out, with its blend of spaced-out guitar distortions, sparse percussion and wavering keyboards; and it segues into the cosmic/ambient electronica of Standing on Hot Sidewalk. Juxtaposing the disembodied dub-funk-jazz jam Contact and the pounding punk-industrial polyrhythms of My New Youth, Nudge keeps disorienting while "re-orienting" the listener. Tribal drums and snippets of harmonica form the basis of Remove Ya, while the components of the ethereal Parade are even difficult to enumerate, let alone explain. Blon reveals a bit of the process at work in the other tracks: the instruments and the rhythm are digitally diluted until all is left is a shapeless, watery surface of tones that fades away in the void. No Come Back extends beyong that aesthetics: it works not with a linear story that must be disassembled into unrecognizable components, but with the components themselves, used to create a chaotic assembly of sounds (in this case producing a nightmarish effect). Foote and his cohorts are somehow the musical equivalent of "pointillistic" painting; fucsing on the pixels rather than on the overall picture in order to produce a different view of the form being painted.

Owens also played guitar in Tra La La with keyboardist Brian Foote. Owens then hooked up with Yume Bitsu's Adam Forkner and the duo started recordings as World.

Honey Owens' solo albums Blood Is Clean (2007) and Naked Acid (Kranky, 2008), credited to Valet, are more experimental than anything she had recorded with other musicians, especially the second one, an intimate psychedelic nightmare in the vein of David Crosby or Bruce Palmer. The prayer sung by a male and a female voice in We Went There has to cope with shamanic bells and rattles as well as screaming guitars before disappearing in a cosmic cloud of drones. Drum Movie, the longest piece at almost eight minutes, is a sort of collage that lines up a choral "om", a violent storm, a duet of pagan tom-tom and droning keyboards, and finally a ghostly whisper in an ethereal space of sparse free guitar tones. Just a few seconds shorter, Fuck It starts out as an anguished blues jam and then unleashes a soaring Indian-tinged guitar solo over pounding drums. The far more aggressive Streets is shock therapy via looped industrial noise and spastic dance beat. A song like Kehaar that boasts a real melody and a real guitar riff (not to mention drums) is the exception to the rule (and it's devastated by distortions before too long). So is Fire, taken from the eponymous single, a somnolent ballad that could have been a hit in 1967 in San Francisco.

After a 2005 split with
My Cat Is An Alien, Jackie-O-Motherfucker (that featured Owens again on bass) surprised everybody with a folk album, Flags Of The Sacred Harp (All Tomorrow's Parties, 2005), including four traditionals.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Antonio Buono)

Jackie-O Motherfucker è il progetto del polistrumentista Tom Greenwood di base a New York (ex Railroad Jerk). Alchemy (Imp, 1995) e Cross Pollinate (Imp, 1996) ostentano già un’ispirazione schizofrenica che mescola chitarre psichedeliche, country e un’improvvisazione free-jazz, come se Jimi Hendrix suonasse Hank Williams spalleggiato dagli Swell Maps.

Il doppio album Flat Fixed (Imp, 1998) è molto più complesso, grazie all’estensione della line-up (giradischi, ukulele, flauto…) e a jam più estese e rumorose (Wolf Brother Blues, e soprattutto Crazymaker).

Greenwodd si trasferisce poi a Portland (Oregon).

Lo stile jazz-fusion dei primi album viene abbandonato su Fig. 5 (Road Cone, 1999), che segna virtualmente una rinascita del progetto. Il duo e i loro collaboratori improvvisati caricano la musica di elementi di acid-rock, free-jazz, folk, blues, noise-rock, soul, post-rock, country music, electronica, gospel, e con un arsenale più ampio di strumenti. Il vivaio frutta la dissonante e surreale musica da camera Analogue Skillet, il country spettrale Native Einstein, il raga funereo di Your Cells are in Motion, il folk di Beautiful September, e la sovraumana jam di 24 minuti Michigan Avenue Social Club.

Wow (Fisheye, 2000) contiene due lunghe (20 minuti ciascuna) jam ed è probabilmente il loro disco più jazz-oriented.

Gli elementi jazz scompaiono quasi del tutto su Magick Fire Music (Ecstatic Peace, 2000), un viaggio epico che va dal college di rumori alla melanconia ambient à la Godspeed You Black Emperor (The Cage, Jugband 2000, Second Ave).

Wow - Magick Fire Music (All Tomorrow's Parties, 2003) mette insieme i due dischi.

Liberation (Road Cone, 2001 - ATP, 2005) si focalizza sulle tecniche più originali dell’ensamble: il docile sinfonismo di Ray-O-Graph e Peace On Earth. Nonostante l’eccessiva frammentazione del suono, dalle rovine dell’armonia qualcosa tipo la ballata rustica Something on Your Mind si può erigere.

U Sound Volume 2 (Usoundarchive, 2002) raccoglie due esibizioni dal vivo.

A dispetto della dovizia strumentale (chitarre, violini, violoncelli, sax e altri strumenti a fiato, vibrafono, percussioni) e l’incrementato supporto del minimalismo chitarristico in stile Sonic Youth, Change (Textile, 2003) non è molto diverso dai suoi predecessori. È, in realtà, solo più acustico. Il blues maestoso di Everyday e la rifrazione jazz Feast of the Mau-Mau accresce il grado di struttura organica all’interno del loro paradigma scientifico.

Our Nakedness Was Our Picket Sign (Cast Exotic, 2003) è un altro live album.

La chitarrista dei Jackie-o Motherfucker Honey Owens è anche attiva nei Nudge, un trio di base a Portland, formato assieme a due membri dei Fontanelle, il percussionista Paul Dickow e il tastierista Brian Foote (fondatore del progetto). Insieme pubblicano Trick Doubt (Outward, 2002) e Elaborate Devices for Filtering Crisis (Tigerbeat, 2003), i loro primi esperimenti nello scolpire fragili e glaciali strutture post-rock che dividono la stessa sensazione di essere perennemente sull’orlo della disintegrazione.

La vivisezione del suono operata dai Nudge prosegue sul più maturo Cached (Kranky, 2005). Classic Mode sta al confine tra lounge soul e freak-out acido, con la sua mistura di spaziali distorsioni chitarristiche, percussioni sparse e tastiere fluttuanti; e che culmina nell’elettronica ambient/cosmica Standing on Hot Sidewalk. Accostando l’incorporea jam dub-funk-jazz Contact ai martellanti poliritmi punk-industriali di My New Youth, i Nudge non fanno altro che disorientare "ri-orientando" l’ascoltatore. La batteria tribale e i frammenti di armonica formano la base di Remove Ya, mentre le componenti dell’eterea Parade, sono persino difficili da enumerare. Blon svela una parte del lavoro compiuto nelle altre tracce: gli strumenti e il ritmo vengono diluiti finché non resta altro che una superficie liquida, informe di note che affievoliscono nel vuoto. No Come Back va oltre quell’estetica: va avanti non come una storia lineare che deve essere smontata in tante parti irriconoscibili, ma con le parti stesse, usate per creare un montaggio caotico di suoni (in questo caso riproducendo un effetto da incubo). Foote e gregari sono l’equivalente musicale dei pittori "puntinististi": puntando sugli elementi base piuttosto che sulla figura complessiva riproducono una prospettiva diversa della forma che viene disegnata.

Owens suona la chitarra anche nei Tra La La col tastierista Brian Foote.

Dopo uno split coi My Cat Is An Alien, i Jackie-O-Motherfucker sorprendono tutti con un album folk, Flags Of The Sacred Harp (All Tomorrow's Parties, 2005), che include quattro traditional.

Jackie-O Motherfuckers' guitarist Nick Bindeman launched the project Tunnels of droning psychedelia with a number of releases: Tunnels (Yarn Lazer, 2007), Cluster Of Rainbows For The Angel Who Announces The End Of Time (JK Tapes, 2007), Radiant Bodies Of Scorched Light (Cut Hands, 2007) also experimented with manipulated vocals. However, Astral Collage (Abandon Ship, 2008) moved beyond the drone. Other Tunnels recordings include Vexations (2007), On A Body Of Nothing But Radiance (2008) and What Happens To Us Is Pure (2008).

The sound of Nudge's fourth album As Good As Gone (Kranky, 2009) is more fragile, more subdued and more profound.

America Mystica (Very Friendly, 2007) documents four live extended jams and Freaker Pipe (Unity Sound Archive, 2007) documents three.

The short Valley of Fire (Textile, 2007) contains another colossal jam, We Are Channel Zero. Freedom Land (Very Friendly, 2008) was mediocre at best. The Cryin' Sea (Awesome Vistas, 2008) contains the lengthy live jam The Cryin' Sea.

Two former Jackie-O-Motherfucker formed the Evolutionary Jass Band that recorded Change Of Scene (Community Library, 2006) to toy with traditional jazz.

Meanwhile, Jackie-O-Motherfucker was undergoing a middle-age existential crisis. Blood of Life (2008) documents a live performance. Ballads Of The Revolution (Fire, 2009) contains two covers and four originals, with the originals returning to the format of the murky acid-rock jam (Skylight and The Cryin Sea) except for A Mania that was one of their most regular songs. Earth Sound System (2011) seemed torn between the folksy ego of Flags Of The Sacred Harp and the acid alter-ego of Ballads Of The Revolution, with the latter well represented by Raga Joining and Raga Separating. The band's involution was beginning to evoke a similar transformation that occurred 40 years earlier to one of the greatest bands of all time: the Grateful Dead.

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