Pickled Egg home

Bablicon

When The Melody Maker (RIP, and good riddance) describes your debut album as "certainly the the worst record ever made", you know you must be doing something right. This is precisely what the now defunct music paper said of Bablicon's 'In a Different City' album, and believe me, they are doing very much right. It's not difficult to imagine why the present breed of inkie journos might find this difficult music – it certainly isn’t for the narrow-minded! Their free, jazzy approach owes more to Robert Wyatt or Sun Ra than anything from the Rock world. But the Bablicon sound encompasses much more: there are elements of prog, echoes of Stravinsky, of krautrock and Beefheart. This might all sound like a recipe for chaos, but Bablicon manage to seamlessly blend all these elements together, often mixing several styles within the same song, and the end result, as Douglas Wolk wrote in CMJ, "comes out composed like a flower arrangement".

Bablicon were a Chicago-based trio of multi-instrumentalists with adopted Magic Band-style pseudonyms. Blue Hawaii (real name Griffin Rodriguez) played electric bass, melodica, electronics, upright bass, voice, piano, electric piano, oisac keyboards and tape effects. Rodriguez has performed with a diverse selection of musicians, including Stereolab, The Olivia Tremor Control, Jeff Parker and Mars Williams. He is also a member of Icy Demons, another experimental Chicago/Philly outfit, and was a member of Need New Body. The Diminisher (born David McDonnell) played electric piano, clarinet, alto, soprano and C melody saxophones, oboe, small baby horns, theremin twins, friendly bird tinkles, electric ghetto duck, electronics, tape manipulation, piano, woodwinds, alien organ transmitter and voice. He graduated from DePaul University with a B.A. in composition and frequently has his works performed in Chicago. He too has collaborated with musicians from many backgrounds, also including Need New Body, The Olivia Tremor Control, Japanese pop star Kahimi Karie and jazz legend Ken Nordine, and also now plays with the Icy Demons. Marta Tennae (aka Jeremy Barnes) played drums, accordion, electronics, piano, little drum, organ, voice and electric consultant. Barnes is a self-taught musician, who has played in more bands than would normally be considered healthy, including Neutral Milk Hotel, the Gerbils and Guignol, as well as live stints with - amongst others - Pop-Off Tuesday and Broadcast. Jeremy is now performing and recording with his new band, 'A Hawk and a Hacksaw'.

Bablicon released three seminal albums (all available on Pickled Egg Records) between 1999 and 2001, and continue to be a huge influence on musicians the world over. Rumour has it that new Bablicon material may soon see the light of day. Watch this space!

Discography

'A Flat Inside a Fog / The Cat that was a Dog' CD
(Pickled Egg Records Egg 31CD)

"Bablicon have somewhat reined in their fractious urges on this latest opus, forging a sound that hints at Van Dyke Parks classicism one minute, Middle Eastern flavoured jazz the next, with Michael Nyman-style contemporary composition in the spaces between. Sprawling, audacious, but always intriguing, 'A Flat Inside a Fog' is the sort of singular meisterwerk that fashion may condemn to cultish obscurity, but upon which posterity is destined to smile benignly." [David Sheppard, Mojo]

'Saumur/Paris/Tea Towels' (MP3)
'Travelling' (MP3)
'Pigeon of Doom' (MP3)

Listen to A Flat inside a Fog on Last.fm


UK: £10.00


EU: €15.00


US: $18.00

'A Flat Inside a Fog / The Cat that was a Dog' double LP
(Pickled Egg Records Egg 31LP)

"On their previous albums the technique was to improvise within song sketches. Here the compositions were well worked out ahead of time, and the results are the most musical moment yet by these genre-defying fellows. There's a jazz basis, and a lot of quite listenable anarchy going on throughout the 16 tracks spilled out before us. More of a "classical" sound (there are moments that could have come from a Rachels album) and much of this would make ideal soundtrack material. Mutating from style to style within the same piece, but somehow encorporating the shifts with a seamless dexterity that always comes back to something akin to jazz; they can be concise and precise or splatter all over the room. There are elements of prog, Archie Shepp, Frank Zappa's most "gremlin-jazz" moments, a little Moondog, a taste of Igor Stravinky, Soft Machine, Krautrock, Toru Takemitsu, Eric Dolphy, and the instrumentally Magic Banded side of Don Van Vleit all mixed in with found sounds, chaos and grace" [George Parson, Dream Magazine]

'Saumur/Paris/Tea Towels' (MP3)
'Travelling' (MP3)
'Pigeon of Doom' (MP3)

Listen to A Flat inside a Fog on Last.fm


UK: £11.00


EU: €19.00


US: $26.00

'The Orange Tapered Moon' CD
(Pickled Egg Records Egg 20CD)

Second full-length outing from the Chicago-based trio.

"They're primarily an instrumental outfit that thrives on energetic improvisation - even the Beefheart resemblance, which evokes an image of wide-ranging experimentation, is probably too limiting, as Bablicon dabble in thoroughly modern ambient music and noise textures as well, working their way through a huge library of musical toys with both joy and skill" [Mark Richard-San, Pitchfork Media]

'Silicon)(Bucktown' (MP3)
'An Orange Pumpkin Glowing Moon Ensemble' (MP3)

Listen to The Orange Tapered Moon on Last.fm


UK: £10.00


EU: €15.00


US: $18.00

'The Orange Tapered Moon' LP
(Pickled Egg Records Egg 20LP)

Second full-length outing from the Chicago-based trio.

"This mini-LP should be enough to convince anyone that Bablicon are more than a Soft Machine clone--eight tracks that run the gamut between free jazz freakout and electronic goofyness, The Orange Tapered Moon is a masterpiece of imagination and creativity. Not to say the Soft Machine influence is gone, but Stockhausen, Cecil Taylor, and a bunch of other influences are now distilled with Bablicon's original voice. Over the next 6 tracks Bablicon prove to be one of the most imaginative bands in music today, doing all kinds of crazy things with saxophones and samplers. The record never gets tiring or self-indulgent--this should appeal to fans of both adventurous and highly structured music. Perhaps Bablicon are the perfect mix of electronics and live instrumentation, improvisation and composition, humour and seriousness" [John Fail, Fakejazz]

'Silicon)(Bucktown' (MP3)
'An Orange Pumpkin Glowing Moon Ensemble' (MP3)

Listen to The Orange Tapered Moon on Last.fm


UK: £9.00


EU: €15.50


US: $21.00

'In a Different City' CD
(Pickled Egg Records Egg 13CD)

Awesome debut album, given instant credibility by the Melody Maker review... "Certainly the worst record ever made". Well, it was never intended for the narrow-minded...

"Bablicon are a besuited Chicago trio who decontruct jazz with a grooviness and inate musicality which beggar's belief" [Joe Cushley, Mojo"]

"A wonderfully deranged slab of free flowing carnival space-jazz. Sporadic vocals, samples, and marching bands waft in and out of the mix, creating a scattershot feel that somehow works like a charm" [Splendidezine]

"When they pick up speed with their deliriously satisfying webs of bass/sax hypnotics, they start to approximate the metallic backbone that Beefheart never had" [David Keenan, The Wire]

'At The Birthday Party' (MP3)
'2 Birds (1 Wing)' (MP3)

Listen to In a Different City on Last.fm


UK: £10.00


EU: €15.00


US: $18.00

'In a Different City' LP
(Pickled Egg Records Egg 13LP)

"It's so refreshing to hear a record you can't figure out in about 30 seconds. When the opener "The Green Line" came blaring out of my stereo, it seemed I was in for a noisefest and would need to head to the cupboard for styrofoam earplugs. While the track grabs your attention, the Chicago-based Bablicon rapidly venture in a multitude of promising directions. There's the inexplicable blend of Eastern-sounding, sitar-miming drone with a bit of new wave, techno, march band, and jazz on the brilliant "Chunks of Syrup Amidst Plain Yoghurt." "Francis Locrius" is defiantly jazzy, while "*;!:-" bows deeply to classical music of the modern sort, particularly Toru Takemitsu. In A Different City isn't just music for your brain, it'll have you groovin' to the most unexpected sounds" [Sarah Zupko, Pop Matters]

'At The Birthday Party' (MP3)
'2 Birds (1 Wing)' (MP3)

Listen to In a Different City on Last.fm


UK: £9.00


EU: €15.50


US: $18.00

'Chunks of Syrup Amidst Plain Yoghurt' 7"
(Pickled Egg Records Egg 12)

"Sounds like a beat-up merry-go-round about to wobble off its axis and roll down the hill with kids screaming in delight as they’re flung off into the night" [Magnet]

"An unexpected and delightful mix of musical textures and music hall loonery" [Gayle Brogan, Boa/Melody Bar]

"Like Ravi Shankar Riding the magic Roundabout on LSD" [Jimmy Possession, Robots & Electronic Brains]

"A cacophonous, but worthy mess" [Record Collector]

'Chunks of Syrup Amidst Plain Yoghurt' (MP3)

UK: £3.00


EU: €5.00


US: $7.00

Icy Demons 'Fight Back' CD
(Cloud Recordings)

Icy Demons is a new band featuring bass player/producer Griffin Rodriquez (Bablicon, Need New Body), drummer Chris Powell (Need New Body), and Chicago instrumentalists Dave McDonnell (Bablicon), Dave Moyland & Matt Schneider. An epic journey into the nether regions of pop music, hallucinatory chamber jazz, and mid-70s German-style electronics, the rich / warm sound of the upright bass is perfectly captured within the exquisite orchestrations featuring layered woodwinds, occasional vocals, and complex percussion patterns. Pickled Egg have a limited number of these CDs for sale. The artwork includes a full-colour fold out poster.

"Fight Back is one of the most astounding and creative discs of 2004, defying predictable structures, sounding effortlessly formless while meticulously constructing its own internal language. The mood is transcendentally psychedelic. The rhythms set the vibe, off-kilter and varying throughout. The music is intrinsically rhythmic - swinging, even - though it never merely grooves. There is always a sense of movement, of progression, of being led logically from one idea to the next, guiding the listener through some very mysterious sonic forest of wondrous exotica" [Jesse Jarnow, Signal to Noise]

Temporarily out of stock.

'Icy Demons' (MP3)
'Bitter Moon' (MP3)

Reviews

Pitchfork Media 'A Flat Inside a Fog'
Fakejazz 'Orange Tapered Moon'
Fakejazz 'A Flat inside a Fog'

Links

Perfect Sound Forever Interview
Terrastock Family Tree
A Hawk and a Hacksaw
Icy Demons
Need New Body



Adverts

Make Pickled Egg some extra cash by following the Egg credit card link

If you are interested in finding the best music lessons in your area, where are you going to look?  The internet of course!  No matter if you are interested in guitar education lessons or you want to take piano lessons, you can find all of your music resources on the internet!