Feb 18, 2015

RhoDeo 1507 Aetix


Ambitious Lovers were a musical group composed of guitarist/singer Arto Lindsay and keyboardist Peter Scherer, active from the mid-1980s to the early '90s. Their music incorporated elements from No Wave, Synthpop, Bossa Nova, Post-punk, Soul Music, P-Funk and Art rock. Despite strong reviews from critics for their three albums, Ambitious Lovers found little success with mainstream audiences. Time to make your own mind up .....N'Joy

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Although Lindsay was born in the United States, he spent many years in Brazil with his missionary parents and came of age during the influential Tropicália movement of Brazilian culture, which included musicians Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa, Os Mutantes and Gilberto Gil, as well as the visual artists Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Clark and Antonio Dias. This time of cultural experimentation and artistic cross-pollination made an enduring impact on the young Lindsay.

In New York, Lindsay began his artistic ambitions as a writer, but quickly became interested in the art and music scenes that were evolving out of the New York punk rock scene at the time. In the late 1970s, he co-formed the seminal no wave group DNA with Ikue Mori and Robin Crutchfield, although Tim Wright of Pere Ubu fame would soon replace Crutchfield. In 1978, DNA was featured on the four-band sampler No New York (produced by Brian Eno) which brought an early taste of international notoriety to the group, and which quickly became the essential document of No Wave. The famous rock critic Lester Bangs once described the group's ritualistic vocals, and deliberately primitive, speaker-shredding guitar as “horrible noise.”

In the early 1980s, Lindsay, and his particular style of guitar work and singing featured prominently in the early recordings of The Lounge Lizards and The Golden Palominos. These groups continued to break down distinctions between rock music, pop music, improvisation and avant-garde experimentalism. It was during this time that Lindsay established a collaborative friendship with John Zorn, playing in a number of his ensembles including Locus Solus.

After leaving the Lounge Lizards, Lindsay formed the Ambitious Lovers with keyboardist Peter Scherer. This music was decidedly more pop influenced and featured more prominent attention to Brazilian music, like samba and bossa nova. In an interview with BOMB magazine, Lindsay explained, "Listen to the Ambitious Lovers, the whole idea was Al Green and samba. That against this; this against that; not a blend, a juxtaposition, loud/soft. There's no particular point in putting these things together. The point is what comes out in the end."  Although their three albums, Greed, Envy, and Lust were Lindsay's first forays with a major record label, these albums genre-bending pop never caught on in the mainstream. The Ambitious Lovers disbanded in 1991, although Lindsay continued a strong working relationship with Scherer, and continued to record with him.

Most of their albums featured appearances from many prominent New York-based musicians, including guitarists Marc Ribot, Vernon Reid and Bill Frisell; Brazilian music legend Caetano Veloso; percussionists Nana Vasconcelos and Joey Baron; bassist Melvin Gibbs; and Nile Rodgers. Their legacy helped promote the modernization and globalization of world music under a singular brand and helped forward careers of many performers, who have since recorded for record labels like Nonesuch Records and Luaka Bop. Their song "It Only Has to Happen Once" was featured in the 1990 film Wild Orchid.

In the early 1990s. Lindsay began to rarefy his singing voice and launched a solo career which was significantly more oriented toward his Brazilian roots, singing in Portuguese more frequently, throwing in occasional covers of bossa nova classics like [Tom JObim]'s "Este Seu Olhar", and updating his sound from 1980s new wave to more current types of electronica. Lindsay worked extensively with bassist Melvin Gibbs, guitarist Vinicius Cantuária, and producer Andres Levin to help create his sound.  Throughout the late 1980s and through the 1990s, Lindsay also composed a number of soundtracks, dance commissions and continued in a No Wave- related styles most notably with the Arto Lindsay Trio, with Gibbs and Dougie Bowne, who released Aggregates 1-26 on the Knitting Factory label in 1995. He performed on the track "Counting the Roses," featured in the video game D2.

Over the years, Lindsay has lent his musical talents to – and collaborated with – such artists asCaetano Veloso,Marisa Monte, David Byrne, Laurie Anderson, Alain Bashung, Marc Ribot, Gal Costa Cibo Matto, Bill Frisell, Animal Collective, Ryuichi Sakamoto, IlIe AiyIe Krisma, and Kip Hanrahan, to name but a few. In 1998, he collaborated with Arnaldo Antunes and Davi Moraes on the track "Sem Você" for the AIDS benefit compilation album Onda Sonora: Red Hot + Lisbon produced by the Red Hot Organization. In 2004, he co-produced and played with Seb el Zin on the Anarchist Republic of Bzzz album, also featuring Marc Ribot, Mike Ladd and Sensational.

From Lindsay's early days in New York amidst the burgeoning art and music scene of the East Village, he was able to befriend and collaborate with a number of visual artists who have gone on to important careers in art. With Diego Cortez (born James Curtis) — who would become the art director for all his solo endeavors starting in the mid-1990s — Lindsay became immersed in an art community that included Jean-Michel Basquiat and Vito Aconci. Since then, Lindsay has included the work of Nan Goldin, Kara Walker, Matthew Barney, Philip Taaffe and Frédéric Bruly Bouabré on his albums.

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One of the great bands of the short-lived New York City-based "no wave" avant-garde punk scene of the late '70s, DNA had what barely amounts to a recording career, yet still managed to produce some crucial music. Originally comprised of guitarist Arto Lindsay, keyboardist Robin Crutchfield, and drummer Ikue Mori, DNA's music was sparse, loud, and noisy -- washes of keyboards punctuated by Lindsay's atonal, free-form guitar explosions. DNA made their recording debut in 1978 on a sampler of no wave bands produced by Brian Eno (No New York), and, along with being one of the more interesting bands on the record, also exhibited the most promise. By the time they released their first record, Crutchfield had formed a new band, the far less interesting Dark Day, and DNA had replaced him with bassist Tim Wright, an original member of the seminal Cleveland band Pere Ubu. Now a power trio, and with Lindsay's guitar the manic focal point of their challenging music, DNA seemed poised to become one of the most exciting bands in American avant-garde rock. Instead, they became increasingly enigmatic, rarely played outside of New York, and never recorded again. After breaking up in 1982, Lindsay formed the exciting Ambitious Lovers.

DNA - On DNA  (flac 356mb)

01 You & You 2:07
02 Little Ants 2:06
03 Egomaniac's Kiss 2:11
04 Lionel 2:08
05 Not Moving 2:39
06 Size 2:15
07 New Fast 1:14
08 5:30 1:04
09 Blonde Red Head 1:52
10 32123 0:54
11 New New 2:49
12 Lying On The Sofa Of Life 1:52
13 Grapefruit 5:00
14 Taking Kid To School 1:31
15 Young Teenagers Talk Sex 1:05
16 Delivering The Good 2:09
17 Police Chase 1:38
18 Cop Buys A Donut 1:09
19 Detached (Early Version) 1:45
20 Low 1:56
21 Nearing 2:14
22 5:30 (Early Version) 1:54
23 Surrender 3:48
24 Newest Fastest 1:14
25 Detached 1:20
26 Brand New 2:13
27 Horse 2:47
28 Forgery 0:59
29 Action 1:04
30 Marshall 1:52
31 A New Low 1:43
32 Calling To Phone 2:15

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Despite its smooth rhythms and concessions to pop, Envy more or less picks up where DNA left off. Arto's guitar wanders in and out of noiseland, producing some ear-shattering effects, but mostly this begins his musical odyssey with the sounds of his youth -- that is, Brazilian music. In fact, Lindsay occasionally sings in Portuguese. Which begs another point: Lindsay is not the greatest singer in the world, but the twists and turns that make this album uniquely wonderful help smooth over any problems one may have with his vocals. A startling and very successful debut.

Ambitious Lovers - Envy  (flac 173mb)

01 Cross Your Legs 5:05
02 Trouble Maker 2:25
03 Pagode Americano 2:12
04 Nothings Monstered 1:00
05 Crowning Roar 1:00
06 Too Many Mansions 3:52
07 Let's Be Adult 4:18
08 Venus Lost Her Shirt 1:55
09 My Competition 0:45
10 Badú 1:06
11 Dora 2:55
12 Beberibe1:00
13 Locus Coruleus 5:06

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Despite guitarist vocalist Arto Lindsay and keyboardist Pete Scherer's reputation for dissonant noise rock that pushes the limits of listenability, this second in a proposed series of seven albums (the idea was to do an album for each of the seven deadly sins), is, at times, rather catchy and almost mainstream. For example, the herky-jerky verses of both "Copy Me" and "Privacy" give way to two very hummable, radio friendly choruses, and the funk basslines and Brazilian tempos that underlay most of the songs on Greed almost make you want to get up and do a jig.

Ambitious Lovers - Greed  (flac 239mb)

01 Copy Me 3:44
02 Privacy 3:44
03 Caso 2:41
04 King 4:35
05 Omotesando 1:35
06 Too Far 3:01
07 Love Overlap 4:39
08 Admit It 3:44
09 Steel Wool 1:01
10 Para Não Contrariar Voce 2:37
11 Quasi You 4:24
12 It Only Has To Happen Once 3:40
13 Dot Stuff 0:58

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Try to imagine pseudo-jazz warbler Michael Franks fronting a band consisting of Steely Dan's Donald Fagen on Fender Rhodes and assorted keyboards, Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore on guitar, and jazz-funk bassist supreme Melvin Gibbs, and you'll have some idea what this record sounds like. Lust consists primarily of keyboardist Peter Scherer and guitarist/Franksophile Arto Lindsay -- Fagen and Moore don't participate, but Gibbs and the skronky guitarist Marc Ribot do, to good effect. The music they make is smart, funky, and danceable, in a late-'80s kinda way. The noisy, non-tonal guitar work made famous by Lindsay and Ribot is frequently placed so far back in the mix as to be almost completely absent, which is too bad, since it adds an edge that puts this music over the top. When it does come to the fore (as on the world pop-ish "Ponta de Lanca Africano Umbabarauma" and the George Clinton-esque "Monster") and Gibbs' energetic, bouncing funkiness is allowed free rein, an otherwise better-than-ordinary album becomes something special.

Ambitious Lovers - Lust  (flac 306mb)

01 Lust 4:56
02 It's Gonna Rain 4:44
03 Tuck It In 4:30
04 Ponta Da Lança Africano (Umbabarauma) 4:57
05 Monster 4:39
06 Villain 4:54
07 Half Out Of It 4:56
08 Slippery 3:42
09 Make It Easy 3:50
10 More Light 5:25
11 É Preciso Perdoar 2:30

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bobbysu said...

thank you so much

Anonymous said...

In a real New York art-rock mood.

Could you please re-up the Art Lindsay albums?

By the way, have you ever explored Arthur Russell's work? I know he's become very 'in vogue' in the last decade, but he's still a fascinating composer.

Thank you

Anonymous said...

This blog is unbelievable, so many gems.
Could you re-up these four, please. That would be highly appreciated, thanks.

carlo243 said...

Could you re-up these four, please.

Noises From Apt 2A said...

Thanks for the lovely MYC noise!