I used to regularly do Heavy Rotation lists on the Faith Strange website and its sister WordPress blog but haven’t done one in quite some time and as the Faith Strange site is now being redesigned and will be up and running anew in June, I feel my listening picks are much better at home on the Out Of Work Communist pages from now on. So, here’s the first.



1) Ingrid Chavez – A Flutter And Some Words (Ten Windows Records 2010)


I must admit that when I first bought this, (actually I grabbed the last one available direct – sorry, folks. But as of this writing, there looks like there might be a few left on Bandcamp), I didn’t give it my full attention when I played it and it unfortunately got lost on the pile of cds. After listening to this again, non-stop for the last 2 months, I can say this album gets my highest recommendation. Beautiful, lovely harmonies, and arrangements by Ingrid are all top notch. Music co-wriiten with Lorenzo Scopelliti a.k.a. Saffron Wood and Richard Werbowenko. Mastered by Emily Lazar & Joe LaPorta at The Lodge so you KNOW it’s great. Available on Ingrid’s Bandcamp page. A must have for David Sylvian fans.

2) Andrew Chalk, Daisuke Suzuki – The Days After (Three Poplars 2003, Faraway Press 2007)


Originally released in 2003 and consisting of two long form tracks, Kasuri and Flaxen, this outing reunited the two ex-Ora members for a new exploration into sublime drone. Exceptional as always is the work of either two artists, The Days After proves years after being released as still a wonderful recording totally suited to quiet Summertime moments and having the power to completely and absolutely transport one to a state of relaxation and dreaming. Unfortunately out of print but may be found secondhand on Discogs.

3) no-man – All The Blue Changes (An Anthology 1988 – 2003) (Hidden Art 2006)


I’m usually not one for buying compilations, especially from artists I consider my favorites and have every release of, but I do make exceptions now and again, usually to satisfy the completist in me. In this case, All The Blue Changes does contain some previously unissued songs that are a must to have and adding them to this anthology completes its aural flow nicely. Having been a no-man fan from their inception on One Little Indian (1987), I’ve stayed with their discography all through these years but honestly can’t say the same for Porcupine Tree’s output, having also been a fan since their first album (1982). Porcupine Tree changed direction into a harder edged outfit right after In Absentia and consequently pretty much lost me with it, sorry to say.

All The Blue Changes is a great place to start if you do not know no-man at all or have heard very little from them, and honestly, they never really hit over here in the U.S.A. the way they really should have so maybe this release will win some new fans. I remember seeing Porcupine Tree at The Bottom Line around ’92 or ’93 and struck up a few conversations with people that came to see PT and was incredibly surprised to find they had absolutely no idea of who no-man was and here was one half of the band (Steven Wilson) in a band they had paid to come to see. I’ll never understand how certain bands actually get popular while some just are destined for obscurity. I personally love the inclusion of some of the early material here, with that being my favorite period of the band, right around ‘((Speak))’ and ‘Housewives Hooked On Heroin’ and ‘Wild Opera’. Wonderful artwork by Carl Glover.

Looking forward very much to the release of Tim Bowness‘s new one ‘Stupid Things That Mean The World’, which from the early clips, sounds like a winner as usual.

4) Jimmy Giuffre 3 – 1961 (ECM 1992)


Comprised of the out of print albums ‘Fusion’ and ‘Thesis’ originally recorded in ’61 by Creed Taylor on the Verve label and later reissued on this ECM set, this double album finds Jimmy Giuffre (clarinet), Paul Bley (piano) and Steve Swallow (double-bass) engaging Giuffre’s unique concept of a drummerless trio and honestly, into nothing at all similar to anything happening in jazz at the time. With the added bonus of some previously unissued tracks, this set is worth finding on its historical importance alone. It’s been said that these recordings were the impetus behind Manfred Eicher’s idea to start ECM records years later in 1969. That should tell you something about these recordings right there.

5) Cluster – LIVE USA 1996 (Purple Pyramid 1997)


I understand there is a vinyl reissue of this out now on Bureau B but it’s not complete since it’s the reissue of the single disc version. This double cd version is the one to get. One of the high points for me for Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius which is a hard thing to say since everything they’ve ever done was astonishing. This version has 13 tracks all live from their 1996 US tour, one that I unfortunately missed, but can cherish with this document of it. Superbly recorded and mixed for a live recording, every nuance is captured.

6) Various – The Best Of 2 Tone (Two Tone Records 1993)


Speaking of compilations of favorites, this one really brought me back to the great old club days of NY in the 80’s. Given to me by a dear friend to listen to while recuperating from an illness, this comp is filled with dance hall day memories of a much happier time when the world was a much different place and you found yourself dancing the night away. My favorite is the  (controversial at the time) Rhoda and Special AKA track ‘The Boiler’ which is killer and of course ‘On My Radio’ by The Selecter which anytime I heard that song in a club got me onto the dancefloor immediately if not sooner, for the rest of the night. Also features tracks by The Beat, Madness, Elvis Costello & The Attractions, The Body Snatchers. A treasure collection.