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We are very excited to have Ed Askew in studio for a live session this week

During the late ‘60s Askew recorded the psychedelic folk masterpiece “Ask the Unicorn” – his only album which has been released commercially until recent reissues – with only his ten stringed tiple accompanying himself. Little happened when it was released in 1968 by ultra-noncommercial ESP-Disk, the label which was best known for its free jazz releases and which is considered to be one of the most legendary independent labels of the ‘60s. Receiving barely any attention at all the record soon descended into obscurity even among the best informed enthusiasts of the in-crowd.

This in itself is not a unique story. It happens all the time. What makes this story worthwhile telling however is the fact that during all those years after its release its fire was kept alive solely by its unmatched and overwhelming urgency. His music proved so powerful that even time could not take it down. Slowly but surely more and more people started discovering the album. Word got around very gradually. It stole the hearts of listeners one by one. Something within this record made people fall for it like nothing before.

These are the kind of stories that should be told. Songwriters who are largely unknown to the public but have managed to find their place in the history of music, changing its landscape indefinitely and inspiring other artists for many decades without ever getting the deserved recognition. This small series of posts is dedicated to my favourite songwriters who were undeservedly forgotten.

Ed Askew grew up in Stanford, Connecticut after which he moved to nearby New Haven to attend Yale University in the early 60s. After having earned his art degree as a painter he briefly taught art at a high school in New York. It was then when he sent a demo tape to Bernard Stollman of ESP-Disk who quickly invited him to record his first record which would become known as “Ask the Unicorn”. The album received practically no promotion from the label – which was already plagued by financial difficulties – and quickly disappeared from circulation. The second album which Ed Askew recorded for ESP-Disk was never released – due to the eventual bankruptcy of ESP-Disk in 1974 – until the limited vinyl-only release on De Stijl in 2003.

When you talk about independent record labels you automatically talk about ESP-Disk. A New York-based record label, founded in 1966 by Bernard Stollman who was known for his almost spartanesque production methods and a strict no-retakes policy. With the motto: “The artists alone decide what you will hear on their ESP-Disk”; the label opened the door to a wide range of wildly creative sounds including Albert Ayler’s “Spiritual Unity” and is considered to be the most important exponent of free jazz. It is probably no coincidence that it took such a label to discover Ed Askew’s talents. And with our current discussion about independent music and its role in our musical landscape there could be no better example than Ed Askew’s “Ask the Unicorn”.

“Ask the Unicorn” contains a certain urgency. Like the recording of it was an act of desperation. The moment he starts singing and you hear his uniquely strained voice you immediately feel that he is frantically trying to tell you something extremely important. Part of this comes from a less romantic and more practical situation. The instrument which he is using, the ten stringed tiple, is notoriously difficult to master and takes so much pressure to keep it under control that you can actually hear his continuing struggles in his singing. The tiple – which he describes as an instrument shaped like a baritone ukulele – offers stunning arrangements to his harrowing psychedelic folk songs and challenges conventional structure.

“Little Eyes” was recorded immediately following the poorly selling debut. The record shares a similarity with “Ask the Unicorn” when it comes to his strained vocals and his use of the tiple but it also shows his newfound interest in the piano. And again all the songs were recorded in one continuous take.

Lyrically, Ed Askew manages to create emotionally engaging images with tripped out, dreamlike lyrics which effortlessly seem to flow from him. Often abstract and abruptly shifting, his lyrics possess a certain timelessness. He addresses still difficult topics in a way that was well ahead of its time, managing to strip down his songs to the pure and beautiful essence with poetic elegance.

After more than 35 years Ed Askew’s music is more relevant than ever, still able to mesmerize its audience. As David Shirley once truthfully wrote: “This is music that will endure.”


Cobra and Vulture - Seer ep- Station Agent of Change (Self Released)
Reverend Charlie Jackson - You gotta move live recordings vol 1 - 50 miles of elbow room
Village of Spaces - Alchemy and Trust - Montana Telephone (corleone)

Wooden Wand - Death Seat - the Mountain

Art Lessing - Lectures - Goodbye Louabie - (electric eggplant)

Ted Lucas - Ted Lucas - Plain and Sane and Simple Melody (Yoga)

Rachel Mason and Litte Band Of Sailors - Live in studio - the Everglades, For Saddam

Rachel Mason Interview

Rachel Mason - Code Flight - Nat Turner (Self Released)

Ed Askew with Tyler Evans and Jay Pluck live in Studio

- Rodaio Rose
- Settle(?)
- Blue Eyed Baby

Interview with Ed Askew

Ed Askew with Tyler Evans and Jay Pluck live in Studio
- Moon In the Mind
- Little Eyes
- The garden

Ed Askew - Ask the Unicorn - Ask the Usicorn (ESP)
Abner Jay - Underground Atlanta - Woke up this Morning (Mississippi Records)
Abner Jay - Underground Atlanta - My Mule (Mississippi Records)


NEW SLIP October 17, 2011

Teenburger - Burgertime-So Hungover(sean connery)(Droppin' Science)
Evidence - Cats and Dogs-TheLiner Notes (Rhymesayers)
Strong Arm Steady - In Search of Stony Jackson - Get Started(Stones Throw)
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - Bulletproof Brass - Black Boy (self released)
SWCK - Unicorn Chasers - A Plane in the Clouds (Atavistic)
Tasseomancy - Ulalume - Heavy Sleep (Out of this spark)
Village of Spaces - Alchemy of Trust - Mountainside(Corleone)

KAKUTOPIA 7" series

We recently received Five Split 7" releases on The Kakutopia imprint.
which was established in 1998 by aa collective of musicians involved
with the total-improv pop/rock outfit Radioactive Sparrow. The label
is run by Gwilly Edmondez out of Newcastle

Wormhole - pink saliva/wormhole - Untitled (Rumple) (Kakutopia)
Socco Chico ft. daddy Killa -Socco Chico/Nat Roe Split - Oesko Killa(Kakutopia)
Pink Saliva -pink saliva/wormhole - Smolder (Kakutopia)
Nat Roe - Socco Chico/Nat Roe Split - Will You Do What I Ask You (Kakutopia)
Will Schrimshaw - Will Schrimshaw/Sound of Aircraft Attacking Britain Split - Sediment (Kakutopia)
GD - GD/THF Drenching Split - O_o (Kakutopia)
Sound of Aircraft Attacking Britain - Will Schrimshaw/Sound of Aircraft Attacking Britain Split - Ghost Battalion (Kakutopia)
THF Drenching - GD/THF Drenching Split - the 10 blows (Kakutopia)

Yamantaka Sonic Titan - s/t - A Star Over Pure Land (Psychic Handshake)
Psychic Pollution - PPamb00/PPamb01- song 0110 (Eat Glass)

Here's the thing - KDVS is a radio Station that operates at 90.3FM in
Sacramento, CA for the past 40 years! they are like CKUT's big sister,
running a free-form campus based community station at UC Davis.
But here's the punch... they run a fracken Record Label!!!
- i'm floored and very j
To their knowledge they are unique in their kind
- a University Funded non-profit Record Label that came to light
in 2006. On top of running the label that records, produces and
packages some sweet sweet sounds, they have this great
Cassette of the Month, consider it a generous helping
of Local and outsider music delivered to you on a monthly basis.
Two artists featured on todays new shit came to us through
KVDS this week - Daniel Trudeau's Pregnant
and a double LP by Art Lessing (Dan Quilling) .

Pregnant - Ike Wimin - Someones Going to Love You - KDVS Recordings
Tim Hecker -Dropped Pianos - Sketch 7(Kranky)
Art Lessing - Lectures - Weirdest Places (An Electric Eggplant Recording)
i am still trying to wrap my head around this double LP
release - a compilation of works written and produced over
a span of 10 years

Here is a bit about Quillen as taken from KDVS's site:
A decade’s worth of selections from the career of hometaper/visual artist
Dan Quillen. Based out of Sacramento, this release qualifies some 24
releases Quillen’s performed on in the past decade, and a symbiotic
relationship having formed between him and local freeform college
radio station KDVS. Certainly the world wasn’t getting access to
Art Lessing’s dozen or so full-lengths and collaborations, and the
case could be made that he was making all of this music specifically
for airplay on the radio, with an ulterior motive of casting any listeners
within his grasp within a very specific moodspace of his own creation.
The project shifts between lo-fi basement riff rockin’ and more placid
escapes, headtrips blaring back from the history of weird/out there
music being reflected onto pockets of Northern California in some
sort of perpetual motion device of media influence and … my god
this guy is a super villain (and he draws like Vaughn Bode but with a
much thinner point). Get lost in the psychedelic marshes of one sinister
man’s mind. It’s a pretty mellow trip, orange sunshine all around.
500 copies, comes with a hand-stitched lyric booklet and sketchpad,
containing loads of Quillen’s alternateuniverse scribbles. --- Doug Mosurock

Feral Children - feral children - Brand New Wave (self released)
Heading out on a US tour kicking shit off in Brooklyn at
Death By Audio on the 20th of October 2011 -
The new Album - a double LP on Love Pump United
is crucial listening -Tour Dates HERE
AIDS Wolf - Ma Vie Banale Avant-Garde -Volunteer Decoys (Lovepump United)


NEW SCRAPS October 10 2011

W.W. Lowman -Kumquat may - Cuts Like a Knife(Atavistic)
Village of Spaces - Alchemy and Trust - Ovum's Influence (Corleone)
Seriously - this release by Village of spaces is my favourite folk-
leaning album this year, it's got this internal warmth that just makes
me feel really good and sometimes melancholic-ly-fuzzy.
Village of Spaces:
(aka uke of spaces and corners, uke of spatial corners, uke of
space corners county ...)
Is Dan Beckman-Moon and Amy Moon O.S. are joined by Friends
(Michael Hurley plays Fiddle on Montana Telephone) They run
RoGeHe a really great venue for live music out of their Barn in Belfast,
SWCK - Unicorn Chasers-Unicorn Chasers: The Stalk (Atavistic)
- Unicorn Chasers::The Chase
- Unicorn Chasers:The Kill
- Unicorn Chasers:the funeral and celebration
Village of Spaces - Alchemy and Trust - Mountainside(Corleone)
Alvarius B - Baroque Primitiva - Mussolini's Exit (Abduction)
Olenka and the Autumn Lovers-s/t-Ballad of lonely Bear(Self Released)
Olenka and the Autumn Lovers - And Now We Sing - No Coins (Oh!)
Sandro Perri - Impossible Spaces -Love & Light (Constellation)
F&M - Wish You Were Here - Music By the Sea (Shameless)
Case Studies - The World is just a Shape to fill the night
Tasseomancy - ulalume - Morning Chest (Out of this Spark)
Dalot - Minute Static - Breathe your soul in and Say Goodbye(To Him) N5MD
A Winged Victory For the Sullen - s/t- Requiem For the Staticking Pt.1 (Kranky)
- Requiem For the Staticking Pt.(Kranky)
Dustin O' Halloran (Pianist/composer)and Adam Wiltzie (Stars
of the Lid) have teamed up and the resultant is an ebb and flow swell
and fall orchestration of tones coaxed from piano, electric guitar, cello,
string quartet, french horn... it's stars of the lid meets the
expansive piano styles of O'Halloran whose most release
LUMIERE on Fat cat had a firm hold on me during the late spring

Lawrence English - Peregrine - Oct 1: The Hunting Life (Experimedia)
- November 16: Dead Oak
- December 24: Frost's Bitter Grip

I did a brief overview of the festival where the following 2 artists
are playing:
Le Revelateur - Fictions - Bleu Nuit (Gneiss Things)
Hélène Prévost - Ladies Club vol.2 - Ladies and Gentlemen (Le son 666)



James Ferraro - Condo Pets EP [all]
John Maus - And the Rain - We Must Become The Pitiless Censors of Ourselves
Rangers - Conversations On The Jet Stream - Pan Am Stories
Prime Cuts - Lonely in College - Hammond Ri
Raymond Scott - Portofino #1 - Manhattan Research
Fanuelle - I've Been Killing - Fanuelle
Fanuelle - You can fall in love - Fanuelle
Dolphins Into The Future - The Voice Of The Silence - Wire Preview
Dolphins Into The Future - Ho'okena Halawai
Femminielli - Fantasias - Carte Blanche Aux Desires
Moon Face - Return To The Violence Of The Sea - Organ Music, And Not Vibraphone Like I'd Hoped
The Cambodian Space Project - Love Like Honey - 2011: A Space Odyssey
Michael Farsky - Dancing With The Girl I love, Welcome, Fell Off Skateboard, Bommerang - Hair Alive
Joe Mariglio - Live At The Loft