Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Deerhoof off-shoot Cryptacize and the avant 'jack of all trades' Zach Wallace.
Listed: Cryptacize + Zach Wallace
Cryptacize began across the street from the C&H Sugar Factory in Crockett, CA, where Nedelle and Chris lived in a tilted apartment. One morning while brushing their teeth, toothpaste running sideways out of their mouths, Nedelle pronounced the word 'Cryptacize' and the house appeared to incline in the opposite direction. Soon after this strange incident, they discovered something even stranger on YouTube- a percussionist named Michael Carreira. Having only seen his video, which was a close-up of his hands, they sought him out and miraculously convinced him to join their uncanny crusade. When Michael isn't touring or recording with Cryptacize he teaches music at several public schools in Oakland, CA. Cryptacize will be on tour in June.
Top Ten Songs for Singing with Children
1. "Take this Hammer" (traditional)
This prison work song was made famous by Leadbelly and probably learned by him while he was incarcerated in Texas for killing a relative. It sparks a lot of great conversation with the kids and is so easy on the ears that even after singing it thousands of times, I'm still not sick of it.
2. Elizabeth Cotten - "Freight Train"
One of the best songs I've ever heard. Cotten throws in the simplest little spice right at the perfect moment. As the lyrics go "please don't tell" you play an E chord when you might expect a C chord and it just makes the song hit you in guts. Kids feel those moments stronger than we do.
3. George Davis and/or Merle Travis - "Sixteen Tons"
This is a weird one. It definitely has this stupid O Brother, Where Art Thou feeling - kind of cheesy take on something astounding. But it's catchy as hell and talks about the misery and injustice of coal mining.
4. "Walk that Lonesome Valley" (traditional)
This is one of those songs that is just plain easy to sing. You can't screw it up. It sounds good no matter what you do to it.
5. Bob Marley "Three Little Birds"
Kids recognize this one from some animated movie, so it's easy to get them into it. But when they sing that one amazing chord change during "sit by my doorstep" they actually feel it vibrate inside. They love that feeling and can't stop singing the song just to revisit that moment.
6. Kraftwerk - "The Robots"
I showed some students the video for this one and they couldn't get it out of their heads. They basically forced me to come up with some kind of way for us to sing it. This is definitely a song where I can't figure out why kids love it so much.
7. "Frog Went A-Courting" (traditional)
There is a nice up-tempo version of this song by a great old-time/punk band from Connecticut called The Can Kickers that convinced me that this one is more than just a stupid little Scottish folk song.
8. Bob Dylan - "Mr. Tambourine Man"
Kids love confusing lyrics. And they love imitating the changing styles and voices Dylan used with this one over the years.
9. Sister Rosetta Tharpe - "Down by the Riverside"
There aren't too many full-on spirituals that I feel comfortable singing in front of people. This is one of them. It's flexible enough to be sung in so many different styles that we can extract the joy from it without getting lost in any overblown ideas kids might have about what gospel music sounds like.
10. Woodie Guthrie - "So Long"
This one is a quick little story about a dust storm during the Dust Bowl. Somehow the way the verses swing as they tell the story gives the subtle feeling of panic during a disaster. At the same time you hear a bit of that pub-song feel that can make light of everything.
Zach Wallace travels the world playing music and working as a field biologist. He performs solo, as SUN CIRCLE with Greg Davis, as Memorize the Sky with Matt Bauder and Aaron Siegel, as Psalm Alarm with Ben Hall and Hans Buetow, and has played with people ranging from Tony Conrad to Anthony Braxton, as well as rock bands His Name is Alive, Low, Saturday Looks Good to Me and Flashpapr.
1. Faust With Tony Conrad – Outside the Dream Syndicate
This is my favorite music. I got the chance to play on a three-hour version of one of these pieces with Tony at the Kitchen a few years back. It was the deepest trance experience I've ever had, musical or otherwise. Why are songs so short? Lives are long. Geologic time is even longer. A piece of music that lasts three hours is still a radical condensation of eternity.
2. Albert Ayler - Spirits Rejoice
This music blew my mind and turned me weird forever in high school. It sounds like a marching band of ghosts playing revolutionary anthems. I don't play jazz much any more, but the ecstasy of this stuff is always with me.
3. Arthur Russell - World of Echo
I'm sure this record has been listed a hundred times in this feature, with the reissue and all, but I love it just the same. My buddy Wade gave me an LP copy once when I visited home from college. From the first listen it was probably my second favorite ever. The music is so intimate - so sad and so sexual. And the sound world is truly singular. I can't wait to see this new movie that someone made about him.
4. Robert Ashley - Private Parts
I haven't been able to make it work for me yet, but I am drawn to talking in music. And I could listen to Robert Ashley's voice say anything. The stream of consciousness text, Blue Gene Tyranny's organ playing and the mellow tablas are such a dreamy combination. “There was something like the feeling of the idea of silk scarves in the air …”
5. Afro-American Folk Music from Tate and Panola Counties, Mississippi
Extraordinary document of rural folk music from the 40’s and 60’s. Includes instruments like the diddley bow and fretless banjo. The fife and drum tracks on this collection are some of the most infectious jams I know. Regional vernacular microtonal music.
6. Harry Pussy – What was Music?
Another one that blew my mind in high school. Always reminds me that it is not easy to be good at freaking the fuck out.
7. Yoshi Wada - Off the Wall
Bagpipe minimalism with bashing drums. Another drum and drone favorite. I heard that this also just got reissued, or is about to. Bagpipes, didgeridoo, tambura - traditional instruments can be so psychedelic and perfect in their original contexts that it takes a really special moment to make something new and valuable out of them. As far as bagpipes are concerned, this does that for me.
8. Pandit Shivkumar Sharma - Rag Rageshri
I'm just beginning to scratch the surface of Indian classical music, but my friend Greg has got me listening to a lot of it over the last few years. Somehow I thought I knew what it was all about. I thought that I was getting my dose of it through all of its western derivatives – mostly 60's minimalist composers and psych rock - you know. But the more that I listen, I realize that’s like thinking you're getting a serving of vegetables from ketchup. Shivkumar Sharma is a favorite.
9. Neil Young - Live at the Bottom Line 1974
My favorite Neil bootleg. It's a sweet solo show where he does the songs from On the Beach and tells some great stoned stories. Ambulance Blues.
10. Eric Chenaux - Dull Lights
Eric is one of my favorite people and I've been waiting a long time for him to make this record. For years he's been up in Toronto, quietly and heroically boiling down a really vast set of influences. British Isles folk music is big, but also fried jazz ballads, high lonesome America, contemporary composition, noise and improv. What I love so much about Eric's music is that it's never a collage - it's a true hybrid. It is sweet and tender without being precious. It is nostalgic music with a conscience.
11. Counterspin - FAIR.org
Janine Jackson takes apart the media for a half hour every week. Really valuable and insightful radio journalism. It's not music, but you should podcast this thing.
By Dusted Magazine