Sixteen Things We Know About Damon is a short film by Andrew Gura: a voice and music driven story that uses animated archival stills, stock footage and typography, lo-fi textures, left-field sound design to tell the nearly impossible backstory behind Damon’s Song of a Gypsy – one that encapsulates the last bloom of the flower power movement before it decayed into the haze of the ‘70s underground. It traces the arch of a pop hopeful descending into chaos, becoming the tortured soul who would create an LP to file alongside works by other lost greats of the late ‘60s, from Shuggie Otis to Rodriguez.
Filmmaker and video director Gura (Madvillain, Nas, Saul Williams) first collaborated with Now-Again’s Egon in 2002, for a short film he produced about the search for the Omaha funk ensemble L.A. Carnival. Ten years after that film, Gura and Egon traveled to Fresno, California, to discover more about Stephen David Heitkotter and his legendary psychedelic rock album. It was over the course of working on a Heitkotter short that the two turned their attention to Damon and his landmark Song of a Gypsy album. Although no archival footage of Damon’s sessions exist, Gura created a short film that captures the milieu into which this masterpiece was born, and Egon tells Damon’s story in a series of vignettes that opens the door to investigate more about this lost masterpiece.
Song of a Gypsy is out now as an LP w/download card, hardbound 2 CD casebook with bonus tracks and digitally. You can purchase it via our webstore at Rappcats or on iTunes.
Linked below: Egon’s newest Funk Archaeology post at Red Bull Music Academy’s website, this time offering a peek into the process behind the forthcoming Richard Marks anthology on Now-Again. Read about the records that this soul and funk great left behind after he passed away, and immerse yourself in the process that we live every day, trying to give unsung heroes their due props while they’re still with us.
The download this time around: a second cut from the rare Moon Song publishing demo LP referenced in the piece, an unheard soul ballad by an unknown group that we’ll almost certainly never find.
The New Series: Richard Marks’ Records – Egon’s Funk Archaeology at Red Bull Music Academy.
The Old Series: Egon’s Funk Archaeology at NPR.
Download: Unknown Artist: “Any Part I’ll Play”
Above, stream Egon’s set from a recent stop at Gilles Peterson’s legendary Brownswood studios in London. Contains a series of previews of albums to come on Now-Again, from Karl Hector & The Malcoun’s Unstraight Ahead to the Ngozi Family Band’s Day of Judgement, forthcoming titles on Madlib and Dilla’s labels, never before heard Zimbabwean rock and funk tracks and a special, special treat: the lost JB’s recording of Bootsy Collins and the boys covering Jimi Hendrix. Fantastic!
Neoton – Gyere Álom (Pepita)
Karl Hector & The Malcouns – Kaifa Part 1 (Now-Again)
The J.B.’s – The Power Of Soul (King Record test press)
Eye Q – I Am Selfish (Now-Again)
Ngozi Family Band – Sunka Mulamu (Now-Again)
Stars of Liberty – Power To The People (Afro Soul)
Madlib – Selections from Rock Konducta Vol. 2 (Madlib Invazion)
J Dilla – Give ‘Em What They Want (Pay Jay)
Stephen David Heitkotter — Untitled (Now Again)
Fabiano do Nascimento & Airto Moreira – Minha Cirandar (Now-Again)
Out today – restored/remastered transfer of this legendary Californian bedroom psychedelic album – with never-before-heard demos. Extensive booklet contains dozens of unpublished photos and images and a thorough investigation into this exceedingly rare artifact. Limited edition deluxe 2LP and hardbound casebook CD!
In a previous post, we told you about the bizarre LP known as Heitkotter – recorded in around 1971 and pressed in a run of less than twenty five copies. The culmination of Stephen David Heitkotter’s artistic career. Ross Dwelle, Stephen’s childhood friend and the drummer on the record, describes the bedroom sessions that lead to this album in a handsome Craftsman home in Old Fresno as a young rock trio “trying to play five songs written by a man losing his mind… probably stoned the whole time.”
Heitkotter, this time issued as Black Orckid, as we assume Stephen would have wanted it – is too complicated to be written off as a symptom of a greater ill, or lionized by a few (and dismissed by the majority) as “outsider” art. It’s a rare and vital look at 60s and 70s American rock through the sad story – and incredible music – of an untethered soul. And as we hope to show in enlightening more of Stephen’s backstory, it can also be considered sweet, kind and optimistic. The Heitkotter tale is cautionary, but Stephen’s music is as close to the sublime as American rock has ever ventured.
Heitkotter is now available via our webstore at rappcats.com, and digitally to our subscribers at Now-Again Deluxe and via iTunes. Download a free mp3 below.
Buy: Heitkotter at rappcats.com
Download: “Cadillac Woman”
Out now – Third and final limited edition vinyl EP by the world-psych-funk ensemble; original artwork by Kevin Lyons, screenprinted by Anti Designs. Download a free MP3 now and buy the vinyl or digital at our new store at Rappcats!
For all intents and purposes, Karl Hector might as well be another nom-de-plume of Jay Whitefield (producer and guitarist for the Poets of Rhythm and the Whitefield Brothers) who, along with Thomas Myland and Zdenko Curlija, founded Karl Hector and The Malcouns in the early 2000s. Alongside Bo Baral, other members of the Poets of Rhythm and crack Munich-based session musicians, Whitefield, Myland and Curlija crafted nearly twenty tracks for their debut, Sahara Swing, an album that swung with influences from across the African diaspora.
The trio has since released two vinyl-only EPs – Tamanrasset was the first; Ngunga Yeti Fofa was the second. Coomassi will be the last, and is the opening volley of their Unstraight Ahead album, which will see release in Summer 2014. These seven songs demonstrate The Malcouns’ deft handling of musics from Eastern and Northern Africa alongside Western psychedelia, jazz and funk, as evidenced by “Irtijal,” which you can download below – something that wouldn’t sound out of place in Morocco or Turkey, Ethiopia or Azerbaijan.
Coomassi is available to our subscribers at Now-Again Deluxe, can be purchased directly at our webstore at Rappcats and is on iTunes.
Buy: Coomassi at Rappcats