Saturday, March 31, 2007

Agata Morio - Norimono Zukan, 1979, Vanity, Japan



This is the fifth release from the Japanese Vanity label. It's one of the few from the label that's been reissued on CD (the only other being the Aunt Sally) but I can't find a place that even has this reissue available, including Morio's own website, so I feel it's fair game to upload.

Agata Morio, as I understand it, is fairly well known in Japan as being a Japanese folk artist with a sometimes experimental edge. I've heard nothing of his other work, but from what people tell me this is pretty distinct from the rest of his albums, and it's easy to see why: there are very few, if any, folk leanings on this album at all. In fact, it has more in common with synth pop, new wave, minimal electronics and the like than it does with Japanese folk-rock. That being said, it's pretty pop-based, and is probably the most accessible Vanity release after the Aunt Sally one, but it still has its experimental moments, verging into ambient and musique concret every now and then, and there are some non-electronic tracks as well. At any rate, it's another vital piece to the Vanity puzzle, and it's also very enjoyable. The booklet that comes with it is all in Japanese, so I can't reveal any of the information inside of it, including track titles...However on the back cover are a few English credits, including, notably, mentions to SAB and Phew (also from Vanity). They are:

"Norimono Zukan" Agata Morio

Agata Morio - vocal, compose, piano
Sab - synthesizer, strings, vocorder, clabinet, lead guitar, bass guitar, guitar synthesizer, bass synthesizer, rhythm box, echo, flanger, electronics & arrangement
Fujimoto Yukio - electronics, special synthesizer programming, effect synthesizer

Special Thanks to:

Phew + Idiot Girls - chorus
Mukai Chie - ko-kyu
Yasuda Takashi - drums
Taiqui - Synthesized drums
Punk Boys: Jun Shinoda & Kitada - side guitar

Roland Corporation - Osaka

Recorded at Studio Sounds Creation on November 1979
Engineered by Oku
Produced by Agi Yuzuru


Despite its pop leanings I feel this album should appeal to people interested in the other Vanity records anyway. The best comparison of it's sound I can think of would be an Aunt Sally with synthesizers mixed with BGM or RNAO, but that's just a generalization of course. The last track in particular sounds like it could have fit well into the SAB LP or the second side of Normal Brain if you allow for a bit of leeway.

Also: This is the wikipedia write-up on Morio, and this is his website for those interested.

Get it here

Costin Miereanu - Luna Cinese, 1975, Cramps

Another release on the Cramps label (the list is rife with them) from 1975. "An account of musical science fiction," as one writer called it, the two sidelong pieces anticipate the style of layered sound collage that would be so prevalent in experimental/industrial music 5-10 years later. The subtle electronics, acoustic instrumentation and voices blend effortlessly, with a gentle, flowing quality not usually found in similar works by contemporaries like Bayle or Parmegiani.
http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2005/09/adventures_in_t_1.html

Short Wikipedia bio

Another great album from Cramps. Can't seem to find a cover, any help?

Download

The Crazy People - Bedlam, 1968, Canada


The Crazy People and the album Bedlam is one of those mysterious projects released in the late 60's that has caused many collectors and music experts to speculate and create stories as to who the band really was and why the album was recorded. What is known about the band is very little but in fact they were most likely made up of Canadians. It is known that the album was recorded in Burnaby, British Columbia in 1968 and it was originally released on the small independent Condor label. The main theory that is upheld by many musicologists is that the album is the project was the brainchild of the eccentric Johnny Kitchen, an expatriated American, who was known to be in BC around the time the album was recorded, and a group of studio musicians from the Burnaby area.
On the original album all of the performers were uncredited but some of the song writing credits were given to Kitchen who was a very prolific songwriter at the time writing songs for The Crazy People as well as other bands that recorded on the Condor label . There is a confirmed connection to another American performer, Wild Man Fischer, the always strange acid casualty and L.A. based performer who recorded with Frank Zappa and released one of the weirdest albums of 1968. With many theories and conjectures, the Bedlam album remains a mystery to this day despite its current re-release on the Gear Fab label.

Musically Bedlam is a hodge-podge of weirdness and psychedelic soundcollages, comedy and political satire in the same vein as such acts as the early Mothers of Invention, the Firesign Theatre or the Fugs mixed with disjointed melodies and 60's exploito sounds. The songs may start off in a groove then all of a sudden this weird voice will jump in with mad rambling , sound effects and a political statement. While half of the album is pretty inaccessible , some of the music does shine through the weirdness and one realizes there is a talent behind this project.

Bedlam is a strange trip that would be more at home in the streets of Los Angeles or Greenwich Village than in the conservative western city of Burnaby, BC. One of the strangest albums ever to come out of Canada that still remains a mystery to this day.


This is great stuff; if you like White Noise, Red Crayola or other late 60's freaked-out weirdness with a humorous edge then you should enjoy.


Download

Dashiell Hedayat with Gong - Obsolete, 1971, France


Aahhhh! Here's another Gong album no one seems to know about, as this is basically Gong plus poet/musician Dashiell Hedayat (otherwise known as Melmoth). Evidently the lyrical content (especially on the suite "Eh, Mushroom will you mush my room?") is drug related, it, and the back cover of the CD urges the listener to listen to the album "as stoned as impossible." Regardless, if you are an early Allen-period Gong fan, you are sure to love this one as it is CLASSIC 1971 Gong replete with Malherbe sax solos and killer gliss guitar. Hedayat proves to be a good guitarist (the album was too early for Hillage) and keyboard player, and the long 20 minute track here is an incredible space flight. This album was exteremely groundbreaking as parts of it resemble the Kosmische music label such as Sergius Golowin's "Lord Krishna Von Goloka" yet it was years before. The best comparison would be to Timothy Leary and Ash Ra Tempel's "Seven Up" with its delerious lyrics (the opener sounds very similar to the "Downtown" part of "Seven Up") as it is an incredible parallel to the album. What a great reissue; sounds good, and well worth the wait. - Mike Mclatchey

This guy was on the Musical Insurrection in France comp I posted a while ago. At any rate it's a great gem of French prog.

Download here

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

V/A - An Anthology of Noise and Electronic Music Vol. 1, Sub Rosa, 2002 (1921-2001)


This is the first in a series of volumes released by Sub Rosa in an attempt to map out the history of electronic music in the 20th century, much like the OHM+ box set but this one came out a little earlier, I believe. This is the only volume that has not been reissued, and so copies are scarce and go for hundreds of dollars already. It's got some good stuff on it and even if you're already really familiar with the history of early electronic/noise music it's still very valuable, as it has many unreleased pieces that aren't found anywhere else. The actual CD comes with an extensive booklet detailing each piece and so if you ever find this for a decent price it's a good idea to snag it while you can. Includes unreleased tracks by Luigi Russolo, the Dream Syndicate, Einsturzende Neubauten, Sonic Youth, John Cage, Ryoji Ikeda and others. I personally find the comp invaluable for the Walter Ruttman track alone: it's an unreleased track, originally compiled in 1930 of, by his definition, a "silent film", which was originally played in a theatre in which the audience watched a blank movie screen the entire time; it predates many later works by Cage, Schaeffer and others. Here's the full Tracklisting:

Disc 1
Luigi Russolo and Antonio Russolo - Corale (1921) (1:57)
Walter Ruttman - Wochende (1930) (11:17)
Pierre Schaeffer - Cinq Etudes de Bruits: Etude Violette (1948) (3:18)
Henri Pousseur - Scambi (1957) (6:27)
Gordon Mumma - The Dresden Interleaf 13 February 1945 (1965) (12:43)
Angus MacLise, Tony Conrad and John Cale - Trance #2 (1965) (5:07)
Philip Jeck, Otomo Yoshihide and Martin Tétreault - Untitled #1 (2000) (6:06)
Survival Research Laboratories - October 24, 1992 Graz, Austria (1992) (6:11)
Einsturzende Neubauten - Ragout: Küchen Rezpt von Einsturzende Neubauten (1998) (4:08)
Konrad Boehmer - Aspekt (1966) (15:13)

Disc 2
Nam June Paik - Hommage à John Cage (158-59) (4:13)
John Cage - Rozart Mix (1965) (7:18)
Sonic Youth - Audience (1983) (6:00)
Edgard Varèse - Poeme Electronique (1957-58) (8:00)
Iannis Xenakis - Concret PH (1958) (4:40)
Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky (That Subliminal Kid) - FTP>Bundle / Conduit 23 (2001) (8:07)
Pauline Oliveros - A Little Noise in the System (Moog System) (1966) (30: 16)
Ryoji Ikeda - One Minute (1997) (1:00)

Download here and here

Whitehouse - Right to Kill (Dedicated To Denis Andrew Nilsen), 1983, Come


This is one of only two Whitehouse records that have never been released (supposedly because the original tapes were lost and Bennett didn't want to release them in the quality they would be in if they were directly ripped from vinyl). This one was only released in 200 copies, so luckily someone did rip it from vinyl, so it's available nonetheless. Psychopathia Sexualis was the other LP that has not been reissued (for the same reason). Apparently this is the rarest/most sought after Whitehouse LP.

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Martin Davorin-Jagodic - Tempo Furioso, Cramps, 1975


Davorin-Jagodic was a Yugoslavic/Croatian composer. I know nothing about this LP and can't seem to find much info either, just little references to his work here and there. But it's a great NWW List/Cramps LP featuring some creepy, sometimes droning, electronic musique concret and is one of my favorites from Cramps. Should make fans of musique concret (especially the early stuff) very happy. Neat stuff.

This is his only record. It consists of two side-long pieces and is ripped as such.

Download here

Monday, March 26, 2007

Aunt Sally - Live 1978-79


This is the same proto-no wave band from the Japanese Vanity label. This isn't as good as their studio album, and the sound quality isn't the best, but it's a nice item to have for those into the whole Vanity/Voice records thing, or those interested in no wave and the like. Includes covers of My Generation, Blitzkrieg Bop, and a few others.

Aunt Sally
Phew: vocals
Bikke: guitar
Mayu: keyboards
Kataoka: bass (1-9)
Yoshio Nakaoka: bass (10-18)
Takashi Maruyama: drums (1-15)
Yoshiyuki Kodera: drums (16-18)

Recorded live at:
Bahama in Shinsaibashi, Osaka on November 5, 1978 (1-5)
Bahama in Shinsaibashi, Osaka on December 28, 1978 (6-9)
Bahama in Shinsaibashi, Osaka on March 18, 1979 (10-11)
Seibu Kodo, Kyoto University in Kyoto on April 30, 1979 (12-15)
Yamaha in Motomachi, Kobe on September 30, 1979 (16-18)

Mastered by Tetsuya Kotani at Omega Sound
Produced by Keiichi Ushido
Photography: Yuichi Jibiki, Jin Sato, Takashi Suzuki, and others
Art direction and design: Takashi Miyagawa
Includes liner notes in Japanese by Shunichi Otaka, and a conversation in Japanese between Phew and Bikke

Released March 2001

http://www.japanimprov.com/indies/pvine/auntsallylive.html

Download

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Erkki Kurenniemi - Aanityksia: Recordings 1963-1973 , Love, 2002


Erkki Kurenniemi (born 1941) is one of the most important characters in the history of Finnish electronic music. His mother was Marjatta Kurenniemi, the famous author of children's books. Erkki Kurenniemi founded an electronic music studio for the Department of Musicology at the University of Helsinki in the early 1960s. Alongside working on media art, happenings and short films of his own, Kurenniemi built several electronic instruments for himself and also for other people, such as M.A. Numminen, for whom he created first a "singing machine" with which Numminen participated in a singing contest in 1964, and in the late 1960s Sähkökvartetti ("The Electric Quartet"), which is heard on M.A. Numminen's track 'Kaukana väijyy ystäviä' (1968). An excerpt of Kurenniemi's own composition 'Dance of the Anthropoids' (1968) was heard on Finnish progressive rock band Wigwam's 1970 album Tombstone Valentine.

The most ambitious of Erkki Kurenniemi's projects was the series of digital synthesizers, called DIMI, in the early 1970s. For example, Kurenniemi's video synthesizer DIMI-O (1970-1971) converted any movements recorded by the video camera into real-time sounds and music. DIMI-S (also known as the "Sexophone") was able to generate sound and light by contact with the skin, reacting to the emotional state of the performers. Kurenniemi created the first commercially manufactured and marketed microcomputer already in 1973, which was two years before the American MITS Altair 8800. Nowadays many of the Kurenniemi-created instruments are in the possession of Swedish collector Ralph Lundsten, the owner of Andromeda electronic studio.

Alongside his musical career Erkki Kurenniemi has worked as an automation designer at the service of industry and also as a consult for the Science Centre Heureka in Vantaa, Finland. He has written several articles on such subjects as artificial intelligence and robotics.

In 2002 Finnish film director Mika Taanila made a documentary film on Erkki Kurenniemi, called The Future Is Not What It Used To Be.


---

One of the undeniable pioneers of Finnish electronic music is Erkki Kurenniemi (b. 1941), who founded The University of Helsinki Electronic Music Studio in the early 1960's. Kurenniemi built his own series of synthesizers, named as DIMI, which are nowadays mostly possessed by Swedish collector and electronic musician Ralph Lundsten, and published some of his experimental compositions like 'Dance of the Antropoids'. Alongside such Finnish pioneers as Eino Ruutsalo (for whose short films Kurenniemi composed music), Kurenniemi also did some early work on the field of Finnish media art and contributed to Finnish video art and happenings. Kurenniemi created the first commercially manufactured and marketed microcomputer already in 1973 -- two years before the American MITS Altair. These days Kurenniemi works as an independent researcher, specialising in such subjects as artificial intelligence.

One of the best and most experimental Finnish artists of the 60's and early 70's; up there with Airaksinen and the Sperm:

Download

J.K. & Co. - Suddenly One Summer, Can, 1968


In 1968, 15 year old guitarist/singer Jay Kaye trekked from Las Vegas to Vancouver, British Columbia. There, with a topnotch team of session musicians, he recorded Suddenly One Summer, a dark masterpiece of orchestral psychedelia intended to musically represent the life and death of a man.

The history of J.K. & Co. was little known, the details etched in admirably by Sundazed's CD reissue of their only album. The group was led by Jay Kaye, who was only 15 when he assembled J.K. & Co. in early 1968. With assistance from arranger Robert Buckley (also still in his teens), producer Robin Spurgin, and session musicians, he recorded a little-known album, Suddenly One Summer, for White Whale in Vancouver (to where he had briefly relocated from Las Vegas). His florid, melodic songwriting betrayed obvious debts to Donovan and George Harrison; his low-key vocals also recall George's late Beatle efforts. The sappier excesses of his lyrics haven't dated well, but his soothing arrangements (with low-key organs and saxes), beguiling melodies, and good-hearted, meditative ambience make him one of the worthier obscurities of the late '60s.
As a band, J.K. & Co. didn't really exist until after the album was completed, and Kaye formed a group to play the material live that included his cousin John Kaye on bass. Although the LP got a little bit of exposure on Californian underground radio stations, it was not well-promoted and remains barely known, even by many psych-heads. Their career was not aided by the label's bizarre decision to pull a 36-second-long track, the instrumental introductory piece "Break of Dawn," as the single. While they did play live in California, they broke up around the end of the 1960s, without releasing any more recordings. The rare album was reissued on CD by Sundazed/BeatRocket in 2001. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide


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Nurse With Wound - Nylon Coverin' Body Smotherin', Mi-Mort, 1984


Nice early Nurse cassette EP with some unreleased stuff and a Current 93 track. Includes an earlier version of Brained (the NWW cover of Brainticket's self-titled track with J.G. Thirlwell on vocals!).

Track Listing

A
Nylon Coverin' Body Smotherin' - Nurse With Wound
The Great In the Small - Current 93
A Token Sylvie and Babs Ditty Chicken In Drag - Nurse With Wound
B
Glory Hole - Nurse With Wound
Automating (Again) - Nurse With Wound
Well What D'ya Know Henry? - Nurse With Wound

Download

This week

As you've probably noticed there haven't been a whole lot of uploads this week, and that's because I've been really busy and have only managed to put up stuff when I've had time. I'm going to try to put up some albums later if I can, because I've been meaning to put up a few things for several days now.

There also won't be anything over the weekend (Friday - Sunday), because I'm going to be away with someone, but if I get to a computer I might put something up. I dunno. We'll see.

Hope you all understand.

TPM

Friday, March 16, 2007

Orchid Spangiafora - Flee Past Ape's Elf, 1979


As requested...This is another one involving voice experiments but is quite different from the last. Most of the album is done by manipulating various snippets of conversation, which all seem to come from movies and ads of the late 50's & 60's (but I could be wrong about that), all contorted into each other in often very humorous ways. You can definitely tell why this is on the NWW List; the title "Fashioned to a Device Behind a Tree" and many of Stapleton's vocal manipulations draw directly from this LP. The personnel is listed as "Rob Carey sometimes aided by Byron Coley & Chris Osgood (of the Suicide Commandos)". Reissued copies can be ordered here for those interested.

O.S. still seems to be active in some form or another, as his/their curious site has obvious recent political content in it. Check it out here.

Download

Le Grand Magic Circus - Le Grand Mechant Cochon et les Trois Gentils Petits Loups




Incredibly odd LP by French experimental performance group Grand Magic Circus; the title translates more or less to "The Big Mean Pig and the Three Kind, Small Wolves." Most of this album centers on humorous vocal experiments such as snippets of conversations, people yelling, all sorts of stuff but most of it involves vocals and speech; as well, most of it seems to have been done in the studio (no sampling from other sources, in other words). This craziness is backed by occasional instrumentation, such as piano, various sampling, rock snippets, etc. It's certainly one of the more peculiar items on the NWW List. Unfortunately the little information that exists seems to be all in French, and my French is not good enough to decipher entire articles...so information would be helpful. The humor of the album comes through even if you're not familiar with the language, however, and thus it is still enjoyable.

Download

Nurse With Wound - Alien 7", 1992, World Serpent


This is a very short 7" that collects a few excerpts from the unreleased Stapleton film "Lumb's Sister" (it was shown only recently but to my knowledge has still not been made available on any format). Much of the first side relies heavily on samples from Thunder Perfect Mind. Side A is listed as the "Art Side" and Side B is the "Act Side". It's nothing essential, but it gives a nice little glimpse into the Lumb's Sister film (of which more excerpts from the soundtrack may be coming soon). Split into three tracks rather than two sides.

Download here

NWW - Insect & Individual, Remix Version (1987)


Following the remix version of 150 Murderous Passions, here's the one for Insect & Individual Silenced. I believe this is also from the United Dairies Cassette Box Set from 1987.

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Nurse With Wound & Unveiled - Chance Meeting Of ... On Charlottenborg (2003)



Released in various editions of about 500 copies total. Side A includes a remix of the NWW track "African Mosquito" and then one remix of NWW material by Unveiled per side.

Side A
African Mosquito (Sub Mix) - Nurse With Wound
Kiss Of A Caring Nurse - Unveiled
Side B
Thoughts Of An Uncaring Nurse - Unveiled

The Unveiled tracks are based on Nurse With Wound material. The Nurse With Wound track is previously unreleased and made by Steven Stapleton
Cover art is by Steven Stapleton
Layout is by Martin Erik Andersen
This LP was part of an exhibition on Charlottenborg for the artists Steven Stapleton , Camilla Christensen, Greta Sørensen and Martin Erik Andersen.
There was also a concert by Unveiled.


Download

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Davey Williams & LaDonna Smith (Transmuseq) - Transmutating, 1993



See earlier Transmuseq post here

This is the most recent Smith/Williams (aka Trans) album; they have not recorded anything together since. From their site: "Weaving their musical drama in the psychic automatism that is the true nature of their music, this CD will take you to other realms of the imagination." CD copies are probably still available here.

If you haven't listened to any Trans Museq yet, this is a good place to start.

Download

V/A - Psychedelic Phinland, 2-CD, 1967-74 (Sperm, Hector, Charlies, Wigwam...)


As promised...Lots of great unreleased tracks not even found on the Arktinen Hysteria comps:

The hippie ideals and that fiercer underground arrived to Finland in the mental turmoil of the end of the 1960s. Their blooming was cut short, but both left their permanent mark on pop culture. The 2-CD Psychedelic Phinland collects together the nation's first hippie troubadours, pioneers of psychedelic prog, vanguard warriors of anarcho rock, acoustic tribal musicians and the extreme daredevils of the arctic avantgarde. The album presents the mashers of the fringes of consciousness from Blues Section to Tylympi Kohtalo ("The Grimmer Fate"), the wanderers of stellar spheres from Pekka Streng to Jukka Kuoppamäki, the gravediggers for the Establishment from Suomen Talvisota 1939-40 ("The Finnish Winter War 1939-40") to Apollo, those who grasped the meaning of the holy simplicity from Those Lovely Hula Hands to Kruununhaan Dynamo ("Kruununhaka's Dynamo") and the midwives of sonic revolution from The Sperm to Sähkökvartetti ("The Electric Quartet"). It's a unique sound documentary of the alternative music of the turn of the 1960s and 70s. For those already familiar with Suomen Talvisota and The Sperm are offered some curiosities which amaze by their sheer existence. Everything essential concerning the topic is presented here -- from Jorma Ikävalko's no-holds-barred hippie comedy to the flute meditation reaching for the world spirit by Sikiöt ("The Foetuses"). This compilation produced by Jukka Lindfors includes 29 tracks from 20 different artists or bands, including self-releases, radio and TV performances and live recordings. The sleeve illustration is provided by Timo Aarniala, the court artist of Finnish underground. The whole it can be best described by the words of the poet Markku Into: "Everyone does their own thing. A symphony for every member of the family, for everyone their own alienation".

CD1

1. Topmost: The End
2. Hector & Oscar: Savu
3. Jukka Kuoppamäki: Kukkasen valta
4. Jorma Ikävalko: Hippijortsut pöhkölässä
5. Blues Section: Cherry-Cup Cake Twist
6. Wigwam: Must Be The Devil
7. Baby Grandmothers: Being Is More Than Life
8. Eero Koivistoinen: Pientä peliä urbaanissa limousinessa
9. Charlies: Taiteen kriitikistä
10. Apollo: Ajatuksia
11. Suomen Talvisota 1939-40: Kasvoton kuolema ja Sirhan Sirhan
12. Suomen Talvisota 1939-40: Tehtaan vahtimestarit
13. Suomen Talvisota 1939-40: Flaggorna fladdrade i gentlemannens WC
14. Tylympi Kohtalo: Näkemiin, voi hyvin ystäväni
15. Pekka Streng: Olen erilainen
16. Juice Leskinen & Coitus Int: Zeppeliini
17. Hector: Meiran Laulu
18. Jukka Kuoppamäki: Aurinkomaa
19. Markku Into: Olen puhunut utopiaa

CD2:

1. Those Lovely Hula Hands: Tarzan apornas apa / Tarzan gregah / Jane Porter sivistyksen muurilla
2. Those Lovely Hula Hands: Menevät miehet
3. Pekka Airaksinen: Fos 2
4. The Sperm: Heinäsirkat I
5. Sähkökvartetti: Kaukana väijyy ystäviä
6. Kruununhaan Dynamo: Simple Things
7. Sikiöt: Side One
8. Sikiöt: Trippin' Together
9. Those Lovely Hula Hands: Missä on Marilyn?
10. J.O. Mallander: Degnahc Ev'uoY



More info on specific artists at phinnweb.org

Download here, here, here, and here

Pataphonie - Live, 1978 (bootleg?)

I got this one from a friend...unfortunately I cannot find ANY information on it, not even a cover. As well, it's missing track seven, and as much as I hate incomplete albums, I feel this is rare enough to warrant an upload anyway.

Any help with infos?

Download

Additionally, their "Le Matin Blanc" album (the only other one aside from their S/T LP on Pole) is available on various blogs already.

Philippe Besombes - Cesi Est Cela, 1976 (Pole/NWW List)


This is Besombes' final album (that I'm aware of) that hasn't been uploaded anywhere yet, and IMO it's his best (yes, even better than Libra...). "Geant" still gives me goosebumps...

This review from head-heritage gives a nice overview of Besombes' work in general (but particularly Cesi Est Cela):

After the ‘Besombes-Rizet/Pôle’ album (see separate review), Besombes returned to working with Luc Ferrari and making music for contemporary ballet and the Groupe de Recherche Théâtrale de l’Opéra de Paris, when he could find the time. But, tiring of this, he bought some new synths and formed Hydravion (‘Seaplane’) in 1977, with the intention of going in more of an electronic rock direction. This group met with great commercial success in France, and they played live frequently, although the group line-up changed a lot. One memorable gig for Besombes was at a sky station, backed by classical musicians! Hydravion made two albums – ‘Hydravion’ [Cobra, 1978] and ‘Stratos Airlines’ [Carrere, 1980] – the first of which was the best, but still nowhere near as good or radical as his earlier work, including the album under review here.
It’s easy to imagine some bits of the Hydravion music being used for French television in the late 70’s, as much of it was, oddly enough (all tracks were used, according to Besombes – generally for sports, current affairs, news themes and the like – though I have to doubt whether they used the entire tracks, but rather the more accessible sections of each). Some of the cheesy synth rock sounds very dated and immediately reminiscent of the era in which it was born (oddly far more dated than Besombes’ more vintage music, which has barely dated at all), but dedicated synth music fans and hardcore Besombes worshippers will be able to lap it up with an amiable grin, as the whole album is by no means a commercial affair, and even the accessible bits are weirdly catchy. Many of the tracks still exhibited Besombes’ madcap unpredictability, and there are some great tripped-out diversions to be enjoyed that are hard to imagine encountering on mainstream television of the time! I do really like the first Hydravion album despite it not being as great as Besombes’ classic stuff; I haven’t yet heard the second Besombes album, which is reputedly not as good.

After forming Hydravion, Besombes was approached by the Divox label to release a solo album – which would be ‘Ceci est Cela’ – and he moved his studio to where it is to this day, changing its name to Versailles Station. This album collected some previously unreleased recordings Besombes had made for ballet and theatre since the early 70’s, with the addition of a more commercial track – the amusing and very cheesy disco joke song ‘Princess Lolita’ – following the misguided request for a ‘hit’ from Divox. The remainder of the album is prime experimental electroacoustic headfuck, different to his previous releases but still totally unique (though perhaps with hints of some Luc Ferrari in places, which is unsurprising given that they were making music together) and still likely to appeal to fans of ‘Libra’ and the Besombes-Rizet collaboration. Some people regard this as his best album, although I’m hard-pressed to choose a favourite between this and the previous two. I love it all! As I’ve said in the previous two reviews, I think Philippe Besombes, on the basis of these three albums, is one of the greatest electronic musicians and sonic creative genii that we have ever had, and he deserves greater recognition for his obscure accomplishments.

‘Princess Lolita’ [3:32], as I said above, was made solely due to the record company insisting on a track that could be used as a potential hit single. What were they thinking? Although this track in no way sits easily next to the remainder of the album, nor indicates what is to come, it’s pretty fun all the same and makes the record all the more diverse in its scope. What you get in this opening track is a funky disco groove on bass and drums, ridiculous male and female vocals, grotesquely slowed down and sped up respectively, alternately cheesy and trippy disco synth moves, cool handclap rhythms on the chorus breakdown, and a hilarious “nya nya nya nana na na na” schoolgirl chant. It’s all just so silly and obviously tongue-in-cheek that you can’t take it seriously, but you can both laugh at it/with it and dance to it, as it’s goofily catchy and grooved as well.
‘Géant’ [4:32] gets down to business with some more typical Besombes music, a semi-static gravity field of blobby throbbing synth clusters, mellotron and what sounds like a shimmering Theremin laying down an expansive, hovering cloud of beautiful soaring psychedelic gloom.
‘Pawa 1’ [12:09] follows with a crack of thunder that breaks up and keeps scattering like messy shards across the night sky, or maybe it’s the sound of a jet breaking the speed of sound and then dropping immediately back, again and again... it soon develops into a shuddering loop joined with synchronous atonal synth globs, before gracing us with a few moments of silence, making me think the track is over already. But no, read the playing time, it can’t be, and it isn’t, soon fading back in with sweeping wafts of droning electronic sound and processed human chanting, gliding across vast empty space like a solitary, lonely bird of portent. This builds and builds in tension as the sounds space out more and more, the pitch gradually steps up in subtle progressions, before petering out on a peak and flowing seamlessly into a forest of echoing electronics, through which a slow, emotionless but organic sequencer throb carries as though always having existed, like the subtle pulse of blood through cosmic veins. A strange, treated one-way conversation emerges, what sounds like a voluptuous and vivacious French girl speaking poor English, buzzing hard as acid kicks in and turns knees and stomach watery, but continuing to try to talk and occasionally falling into goofy, spunky laughter as technicolor rainbows spray across the room. This gets weirder and weirder, then suddenly POW! another portal slides open in 5 dimensions and with a gleeful “wooooo!” of multitracked women we slide through the hole and into an inner fun-world, jumpy synth sequences bouncing away all hyperactive and stoned, synth tones boing like springs and a joyous room full of happily chatting and laughing girls all talk at once, meshing into a non-threatening but overwhelming metropolitan acid party cyber cocktail extravaganza for the last couple of minutes of the track.
‘Ceci est Cela’ [14:41] begins side 2 gently and gorgeously, a slow subsonic ticking pulse upholding a smooth heavenly miasma of angel echoed flute, mellotron, feather brush sand dune synth palettes and gently trickling electronic cascades of sound. A few minutes later it all changes suddenly and almost imperceptively, all disappearing save the pulse, now more prominent and complex and less subsonic, as heavily treated French voices do strange things from ear to ear and random sporadic runs on the keyboards gradually coalesce into something with more form, albeit mysterious and ambiguous, all the elements of the whole shifting in and out of focus, morphing and giving birth to new elements that crawl around the nooks and crannies growing deep into your brain. Then it all speeds up suddenly, shifting into a chaotic gear before dropping us down into a murky underworld shadow of what came before, and receding, leaving us all alone, in almost total darkness, in the middle of fucking nowhere. Wait, what’s that, some kind of light and sound approaching? As uneasy drones groan, swell and hum, great washes of dusty wind sweep all around, greased sax squeaks and mowls, stopping and starting, joined also with glintzy, cheesy synth keyboard, a jarring two-note riff not really played in any regular rhythm. Shit, it’s a spaceship descending from above, not an approaching car, and as rolling drums step out of the dust and rage into the mix, it all picks up and starts spinning around in a vortex, as you are beamed up by Scotty, that ridiculous two-note keyboard riff going overboard like a little kid fascinated by repeating the same new swear word over and over again. Just as it seems like the beam-up must have fucked-up, you find yourself all of a sudden standing in a totally different world again, this time naked within a glass tube as alien children giggle, point and talk about you to each other, now a temporarily trapped zoological exhibit snatched from the planet you called home and they called a stopover, as a laboratory of electronics gabble in work around you. Then slipping away again, some narcotic substance taking effect as all that’s left are the children’s voices, getting more and more echoed and fucked up and distant as you slip out of this consciousness and emerge as a gloopy syrup ready for the next one.
‘Seul’ [5:08] is a slowly progressing submerged world of out of focus narcotic lumpen shapes, groaning and crawling sluggishly along in a strange sprawl, as percussion picks out a jungle rhythm beneath. Wet squelchy splashes of synth liquid squirt in toothpaste streams as though reverbing within a subterranean cave, dripping profusely from the ceilings, echoing off the walls and exuding nitrous oxide from the cracks between the rocks. After a while this begins to dull the senses as sounds gradually strip away and you groggily drop into semi-conscious slumber.

This album was recently reissued on CD for the first time by MIO, which is especially great because this is by far one of the rarest Besombes albums and the hardest to find on LP. Presumably because of being embarrassed by its existence, the first track – ‘Princess Lolita’ – is indexed as track 0 on the CD, and to hear it you have to press play and then rewind until the start of the track (which plays in the negative time preceding track 1). However, if you go just that bit too far it just resets back to zero and you have to try again. Also, annoyingly, it doesn’t play on the DVD player I’m currently using to play my CDs! It won’t let me go into the negative time. There’s not any reason bar vanity to have done this, as I’m sure many buyers of this CD will want to hear the whole album as it was originally, as I do, and if they don’t want to hear the first track again they could always have started from track 2 on subsequent listens. Although it’s totally different to the rest of the album, and is unfortunately embarrassing to its creator, I think ‘Princess Lolita’ is pretty cool and always makes me grin!
The recent CD reissue also features an album’s worth of previously unreleased recordings from 1972-1976, including 2 tracks by his old duo PJF (see ‘Libra’ review). This extra stuff is all excellent, but rather than try to describe any of it (which would be difficult anyway, and I’ve found these Besombes reviews difficult enough in trying to convey the music in words), I’ll leave it to surprise you if you buy it. Some of it sounds like out-takes or alternate mixes from the ‘Libra’ sessions. Incidentally, the CD reissue mis-spells the album title as ‘Cesi est Cela’, but the track of the same name has what I think is the correct spelling (Ceci est Cela).

After breaking up Hydravion at the start of the 80’s, Besombes made the album ‘La Guerre des Animaux’ [1982], and contributed some music to the various artists LP ‘City & Industry’ [1983], which also featured Bernard Paganotti (Magma, Weidorje, Paga Group) and Gilbert Artman (Clearlight, Lard Free, Urban Sax, Catalogue). I haven’t come across either of these records yet – if anyone reading this has or does, and can make me a copy (I’m happy to trade for rare un-reissued stuff), please let me know!
Besombes also continued to produce and engineer for other bands and solo artists, as he has since the late 70’s, sometimes working with groups as unexpected as Manowar and Whitesnake! He also started his own label which releases mainly French hard rock and metal, and released a techno/electro album under the pseudonym of Arno du Chesnay. His most recent recording project has been with the group Rondinara, with 6 CDs of beautiful music made for babies! Besombes also managed to slip in a solo album of sorts in 1999 without many people noticing, when Sony France approached him to do an album as part of their ‘Musique & Nature’ series of mood music CD’s. Each album in the series has some kind of theme, like ‘Oceania’ or ‘Extase’. Besombes did one for the theme of ‘Cosmos’, appropriately, subtitled ‘Mélodie de l’Espace et des Étoiles’. He’s been discreet about it, doing it all under the pseudonym of A. Boréalis and giving only P. Besombes as the composer of each track (not even giving his whole first name), although these names only appear inside the cover booklet and not on any external part of the package, so searching the internet or even the Sony France website for a Philippe Besombes album called ‘Cosmos’ will probably not get you far if you don’t bear this in mind. The music is pleasant ambient cosmic synth, only occasionally a little experimental, and occasionally cheesy on a few short tracks, but largely unclichéd, lovely stuff. Just don’t expect anything too close to his radical visionary 70’s work!


Get this masterpiece here and here

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Transmuseq - 7. White Earth Streak + Song of an Aeropteryx 7", 1983 (NWW List)




See info and a download link for their fourth album here. This is the 7th of ten releases on their label. The CD version comes with their only EP, Song of an Aeropteryx, as well as a couple of bonus tracks. The CD (and vinyl reprint?) comes with a reproduction of the comic that goes with the EP of the same name. As well, this is their only album that has been reissued on CD.

Personnel on the LP: Davey Williams, LaDonna Smith, Gunter Christman, and Torsten Muller (Recorded in Hannover, Germany)
Personnel on the EP: Davey Williams, LaDonna Smith

Vinyls may still be in print here and CD copies might still be floating around on various sites; ebay, forcedexposure, etc.

More Trans/Smith/Williams stuff to come...

Download here

Jean Guerin - Tacet, 1971, Futura


Another electronic gem from Futura...Info is almost nonexistant but I think these reviews from rateyourmusic sum it up nicely:

This album is psychedelic like an LSD trip. The music is atonal, a mix of acoustic instruments such as trumpet, saxophone, double bass, voices, strings, and absolutely stunning electronic sounds, echo, reverb, underwater bubbling sounds, even grooves (the otherworldly opening track!). The whole music sits uniquely between Jazz – that is, Free Jazz – and avant-garde concert music. One would expect the first generation synthesizers to sound dated - not so, they would still be the right choice if the album had been recorded only recently. Tacet is futuristic, surreal, an ultimately indescribable musical experience, an essential album for anybody interested in new sonic worlds.

Where had this album been all these years?! Why hadn´t I come across this before?
One reason is, Tacet had been the soundtrack of some obscure French movie (by Claude Faraldo) called Bof, anatomie d'un livreur and released in 1971 on Futura, a small French indie label. Another is that Tacet was far too strange for the masses, still is, and possibly Jean Guerin ran out of energy after witnessing how this enormous achievement went unnoticed.
Jean Guerin is a drummer and like that other drummer Robert Wyatt, capable of cooking up the strangest kind of music. Musically, there aren´t any similarities between those two beyond the `strangeness´ factor. The music on Tacet is much more closely related to Herbie Hancock´s Mwandishi sextet - not rhythmically but sonically; incidentally, Patrick Gleason participated in the recordings of Tacet. One can imagine Gleason to have played this recent recording to Herbie Hancock before they went to the studio to record Herbie´s new music. Tacet was recorded before Hancock´s Mwandishi albums! It doesn´t make those LPs less spectacular, but somehow it puts things in a different light. I had always thought that Herbie had been the pioneer launching himself and me into a musical parallel universe with Mwandishi, Crossings and Sextant, and nobody followed on that path, not even Herbie himself - with Headhunters, Herbie returned to planet Earth. Only Miles Davis and Weather Report occasionally recorded some kind of psychedelic Jazz and only for a short time: Miles went silent in ´75 and Weather Report went into fusion and that was that. German psychedelica such as Tangerine Dream, Popol Vuh or Klaus Schulze pale into insignificance by comparison to Tacet.

Tacet has been re-released in 2001 on the Italian label Elica (ELICA 3560) and includes English liner notes. Make sure you get this “movie inside your head” before it becomes out of print and forgotten or a myth - again.

If you want truly unique music, this is it!


Yep, it's weird alright. Nothing quite like it - the closest comparison I can come up with is the free-jazz-in-a-reverberating-echo-chamber sound of Sun Ra's Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy combined with the extraterrestrial electronic experiments of Pierre Henry's Messe pour le temps présent, throw in some absurdist vocals, and ... I don't know. It's so odd. But then in all comes together in an entrancing future-primitive vibe, with bubbling water sounds, mysterious echoey effects and hypnotic rhythms (and non-rhythms). Perfect music for taking mushrooms on a rainy afternoon, watching the raindrops melt into asphalt, and then performing expressionistic modern dance moves in your undies. (Ha! And how do you spend your weekends?)

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V/A - Musica Futurista: The Art of Noises (Futurism)


Musica Futurista: The Art of Noises is a 74 minute collection of music and spoken word from the Italian Futurist movement 1909-1935, including original recordings by Marinetti, Russolo and Balilla Pratella.
As well as vintage 'free verse' readings by Futurist figurehead F.T. Marinetti, the CD includes recordings of the celebrated intonarumori (noise intoners) created by Luigi Russolo, including the compostition The Awakening of a City. Russolo's public performances scandalized Europe in 1914 yet still resonate today. Although his extraordinary ideas met with fierce resistance, it is now clear he exerted a powerful influence on a number of leading avant-garde and experimental composers, initially Igor Stravinsky, George Antheil and Arthur Honegger, and later John Cage, Edgard Varese, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Harry Partch, as well as non-classical electronica and avant-rock. As well as period recordings, the CD includes contemporary performances of other key Futurist works by Balilla Pratella, Antonio Russolo, Aldo Giuntini, Luigi Grandi, Silvio Mix, Franco Casavola, Alfredo Casella, Matty Malneck and Frank Signorelli.
All material on this definitive collection has been digitally remastered. The deluxe booklet features many rare images, as well as detailed historical notes by noted author James Hayward.

Tracklist:

01 F.T. MARINETTI Definizione Di Futurismo
02 FRANCESCO BALILLA PRATELLA War (La Guerra)
03 F.T. MARINETTI La Battaglia Di Adrianopoli
04 LUIGI RUSSOLO The Awakening Of A City
05 ANTONIO RUSSOLO Corale/Serenata
06 F.T. MARINETTI & ALDO GIUNTINI Sintesi Musicali Futuristiche
07 ALDO GIUNTINI The India Rubber Man
08 LUIGI GRANDI Dogfight (Aeroduello)
09 SILVIO MIX Two Preludes/Dance Of The Monkeys
10 FRANCO CASAVOLA Prigionieri Prelude/Dance Of The Monkeys
11 ALFREDO CASELLA Pupazzetti
12 F.T. MARINETTI Parole In Liberta
13 MATTY MALNECK & FRANK SIGNORELLI Futurist Caprice
14 F.T. MARINETTI Five Radio Sintesi


Some of the piano pieces can sound a bit dated, but it's worth it for the wealth of Marinetti pieces alone...

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Fred Lane (Ron Pates) - Radio Car Jerome + From the One That Cut You, 1983 & 1986



"If jazz is dead, it’s because Fred Lane personally killed it."

"As a radio station music director in the late 80’s, a record came across my desk that changed my life. It was called “Car Radio Jerome” by Rev. Fred Lane & His Hittite Hotshots. I simply didn’t know what to make of it, but I knew that I liked it and had never heard anything quite like it before.

The album ran the gamut of styles I wasn’t expecting to hear, from Sinatra-ish big band swinging (White Woman, Upper Lip Of A Nostril Man), to spaghetti western soundtrack anthems (The Man With The Foldback Ears), to depressing country ballads (Pneumatic Eyes), and even something that sounded like a kids record but for kids with demented parents (The French Toast Man). The artwork, the band musicians' names, and even the technical description of the album’s pressing included on the cover all led me to blissful confusion. I wasn’t sure if it was a comedy album, and if so, just who did Fred Lane think his audience was? This was comedy that was sure to go over most peoples heads. I wasn’t even sure if I “got it”. But at the same time, these were very well-written and arranged songs, played with a lot of feeling by what sounded like a group of questionably-competent musicians. In fact, some of the playing is so hysterically bad on the album, that I couldn’t believe anyone would seriously release it. I’m no stranger to music that’s “so bad it’s good”, but this was something different - this WAS good... period.

Not long after, another Fred Lane album showed up on my desk, “From The One That Cut You”, this time released under the name Fred Lane with Ron ‘Pate’s Debonairs. This album was even stranger than the other one, with song titles like Fun In The Fundas, Danger Is My Beer, I Talk To My Haircut and Meat Clamp Conduit. According to the album’s liner notes, the music came from a live musical stage production, a promo poster from which was tucked inside the jacket sleeve."


"The music itself is mostly swing but draws upon ridiculous modern country, fifties rock, hokey children’s records, and Mancini “spy” music, too – all sprinkled with some of the wildest free improvisation ever preserved on tape. In this case it’s a weirder combination than usual considering most serious disciples of the freer stuff (which applies for members of the Hotshots and Lane’s former backup band, Ron ‘Pate and the Debonairs) are typically rooted in bebop and the European avant-garde, maybe even rock, but they don’t normally go for swing. It’s too cheesy, too sleazy and schmaltzy compared to the sincere spiritual journeys of a John Coltrane or an Albert Ayler. Perfect for Fred Lane, though, and that’s why his songs are so original anyway. “I like to think of them as something I stained my shirt with,” Lane said. You stick to what’s acceptable listening in your scene, what you’re told to like by critic jerks like me, and you end up making the same old (new) music. Obeying the conventions of Free Jazz – imagine that!"

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Marcel Duchamp - The Entire Musical Works, Ampersand


Duchamp needs no introduction...This is a nice compilation of his most important works, including full versions of Erratum Musicale, the piece that inspired John Cage to start performing his chance pieces.

Tracklisting:

Erratum Musicale (25:35)
1.3. Voices (4:38)
Erratum Musicale (12:22)
Musical Sculpture (4:31)

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Danny Ben-Isreal - Bullshit 3. 1/4, Isreal, 1970


"By 1969 Danny Ben Israel recorded a Psychedelic masterpiece of an album Bullshit 3.1/4. This revolutionary ground breaking album is largely unknown, however the few people who know this GEM consider it to be one of the greatest Psych albums of all times and original vinyl copies of this album change hands for hundreds of dollars. The uniqueness of this album lies not only in its music -- also the weird and obscure pornographic fold-out cover artwork and the sometimes very trippy lyrics deal with the Israeli society and its hypocrisy, the fake emptiness of the Bohemian way of life, drugs, escapism and freaks. The most obvious theme reflected in his lyrics is the wish for freedom of all kinds (freedom of thought, freedom of expression and so on). The music itself mixes psych and avant-garde, full of fuzzed out and distorted guitars, studio effects, tape loops, tone generators etc. Ben-Israel sings, a scream, murmurs, whispers and moans throughout all of the tracks. His vocals are often doubled and used as an instrument like Tim Buckley, Alan, Sorrenti, Robert Wyatt and Peter Hammill, but in a totally twisted manner. The whole album (backed by the band 'Electric Stage') sounds like a big LSD acid trip, sometimes very spacey and very heavy almost industrial. Also raga-based compositions remind of some early Daevid Allen stuff with Gong on his Banana Moon album." CD version is on the MIO label out of Israel.

more info here

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Forced Exposure should still have copies of the reissue!

Juan Hidalgo - Rrose Selavy + Tamaran LP's, Spain

Hidalgo was a leading figure of the Spanish avant-garde from the NWW List, who worked with sound poetry, prepared instruments and various other extensions. Of these two albums, Rrose Selavy is probably more relative to the List than Tamaran is, but they're both worth hearing.

Rrose Selavy is a simple yet brilliant piece of progressive minimalism in which a new repetitive rhythm is brought in by a new instrument every track - essentially, you're hearing the same piece over and over, just more complex each time until it reaches its cacophonous conclusion after six tracks. It's incredibly simplistic in idea but it's actually a surprisingly original listen. This is obviously dedicated to Duchamp and is littered with references to him; it's not totally unlikely that this was inspired by Erratum Musicale or similar pieces.

Tamaran is compeletly different and I know little about it other than it is essentially a piece for twelve prepared pianos. Excerpts from this are occasionally found on Fluxus compilations or similar. One of the performers happens to be Walter Marchetti, another interesting Cramps-related composer in his own right. Quite the ridiculous cover art, too...

Tamaran - 1974, Cramps Records



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Rrose Selavy - 1976, Cramps Records



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Philippe Besombes - Hydravion, 1977, Cobra


After the ‘Besombes-Rizet/Pôle’ album, Besombes returned to working with Luc Ferrari and making music for contemporary ballet and the Groupe de Recherche Théâtrale de l’Opéra de Paris, when he could find the time. But, tiring of this, he bought some new synths and formed Hydravion (‘Seaplane’) in 1977, with the intention of going in more of an electronic rock direction. This group met with great commercial success in France, and they played live frequently, although the group line-up changed a lot. One memorable gig for Besombes was at a sky station, backed by classical musicians! Hydravion made two albums – ‘Hydravion’ [Cobra, 1978] and ‘Stratos Airlines’ [Carrere, 1980] – the first of which was the best, but still nowhere near as good or radical as his earlier work...
It’s easy to imagine some bits of the Hydravion music being used for French television in the late 70’s, as much of it was, oddly enough (all tracks were used, according to Besombes – generally for sports, current affairs, news themes and the like – though I have to doubt whether they used the entire tracks, but rather the more accessible sections of each). Some of the cheesy synth rock sounds very dated and immediately reminiscent of the era in which it was born (oddly far more dated than Besombes’ more vintage music, which has barely dated at all), but dedicated synth music fans and hardcore Besombes worshippers will be able to lap it up with an amiable grin, as the whole album is by no means a commercial affair, and even the accessible bits are weirdly catchy. Many of the tracks still exhibited Besombes’ madcap unpredictability, and there are some great tripped-out diversions to be enjoyed that are hard to imagine encountering on mainstream television of the time! I do really like the first Hydravion album despite it not being as great as Besombes’ classic stuff; I haven’t yet heard the second Besombes album, which is reputedly not as good.


Another great document of 70's French avant-garde by Besombes; a bit different than his Pole stuff:

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Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Maurizio Bianchi - Atomique Tape, 1980?


This is another early MB release, one of his first after discarding the Sacher-Pelz pseudonym and continues the experiments under that name quite successfully, though it's less raw and the sound is clearer (the earlier tapes were undoubtedly intentionally bad quality though). As far as I know this hasn't been reissued yet.

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More M.B. stuff to come hopefully...

Pyramid - S/T, 1976, Germany



This is another one of those recently recovered long-lost Kraut albums that makes you wonder how anyone would forget about such a great album in the first place. Unfortunately, it's also one of those long-lost Kraut albums which no one seems to know a damn thing about. This is all Forced-Exposure writes up:

Three more albums of "unknown" Krautrock from the early to mid 70s, from the Pyramid label archive. Pyramid features one 36 minute track, produced by "personnel unknown" on instrumentation of: Hammond organ, electric guitar, bass, drums, mellotron, mini-Moog, electric piano, and Tibetan bells. It's a long cosmic journey, etc.

It's not even on the net version of Crack in the Cosmic Egg.

Nonetheless, it's a lost classic, originally appearing on 8daysinapril, the king of Krautrock, so you know it's gotta be good! I'm not an expert on writing prog/kraut reviews, so I'll just let you form an opinion for yourself...

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Hot Thumbs O'Riley - Wicked Ivory, 1972, Charisma







This is arguably the weirdest Finnish rock album I've posted yet, as the cover should hint at...

Here is a true fantastic album that I suspect will take a few listens for many before the pure beauty emerges. Jim Pembroke of course was the creative genius of Finland’s Wigwam and this album represents his first solo album…a work of pure creativity and genius. If you are familiar and enjoy with the music of Wigwam, then this album would likely work quite well for you. Hot Thumbs O’Riley is a quirky concept album narrated by Jim Pembroke himself and is essentially a cabaret setting where a number of different bands/singers are introduced. Pembroke draws on his fellow Wigwam members with Pekka Pohjola, Jukka Gustavson. Mans Groundstroem, Mats Hulden and Ronnie Osterberg. The end result is a pretty eclectic album with vast strangeness yet lovingly constructed and full of creativity.

***

Jim Pembroke, an Englishman settling in Finland, and soon joined the progressive musicians and ended up in Finlands most well known band WIGWAM. This album is one of the most bizarre ones coming out from the north. A simulated entertaining Southern American show features alot of weird musicians (all Pembroke himself of course) with rad names and musical directions without names on. All progressive in the bottom, but some tracks are more jazzy, some fast, some slow. Out of the Pembroke solo albums I've heard, this is the most interesting one ! Pembroke was backed by most of the WIGWAM line up incl. Jukka Gustavson and Pekka Pohjola.

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Pole Records, Part Three (of Four)

This is the rest of the French Pole label I own...See the initial posts here and here if you haven't been following along. Like before, if anyone has the Subversion, Emergency Exit, Trans Europe Express or Melody albums, by all means share...

0013 Mahogany Brain - Smooth Sick Lights

0014 Philippe Grancher - 3000 Miles Away

Part Four will be additional albums by Philippe Besombes, Pataphonie, and other Pole-related artists (though probably not in one post).

Blues Section - S/T, 1967, Finland



More Finnish/Love Records stuff...these guys were on the Finnish comps I posted not too long ago. This is their first album, and one of the best Finnish rock albums from that time period. Like Charlies & Suomen Talvisota 1939-1940, it's got it's own eccentric vibe, distinctly different from anyone else...

From PhinnWeb:

I think Blues Section would be THE Finnish band to fit best in the psychedelic underground and even garage spirit. Their career was short-lived (1967-69), in which time they managed to create some classic songs from Hendrix/Cream/John Mayall-influenced blues to pop and jazz-tinged psychedelia. Their 'Cherry Cup-Cake Twist' would well fit in its strangeness to any Nuggets or Pebbles-style collections; 'Semi-Circle Solitude' is one of the finest pop anthems to ever come out of Finland, and 'Hey Hey Hey' is pure, hard-biting electric garage.

Blues Section's saxophone player Eero Koivistoinen would record in 1968 the legendary Valtakunta album, with Hasse Walli and Ronnie Österberg of Blues Section among the musicians there. Jim Pembroke, the British expatriate vocalist and song-writer for Blues Section, would later form with Österberg Wigwam, the biggest progressive rock band in Finland; Blues Section's bassist Måns Groundstroem and Pembroke's vocalist successor Frank Robson would appear in Tasavallan Presidentti, Wigwam's greatest prog rival in Finland - but that's another story...


From Wikipedia:

Blues Section is considered a seminal and ground-breaking band in Finnish rock music. They started in 1967, formed around the vocalist Jim Pembroke, a British expatriate song-writer now living in Finland. The other members of the band were Eero Koivistoinen (saxophone), Ronnie Österberg (drums), Hasse Walli (guitar), and Måns Groundstroem (bass). Their influences came among all from John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and Jimi Hendrix, who had played a sensational gig in Helsinki in May 1967. One can also hear in Pembroke's British-flavoured song-writing some echoes from The Beatles and The Kinks. Blues Section released a self-titled album late 1967 on Helsinki's Love Records. In 1968 Groundstroem and Pembroke left the band, being replaced by Pekka Sarmanto and (another British vocalist) Frank Robson, respectively. Also Koivistoinen would leave the band during the same year, and by the end of 1968 Blues Section was over. The Blues Section members would continue in such acclaimed progressive rock bands as Wigwam and Tasavallan Presidentti. Eero Koivistoinen was to become an internationally acclaimed jazz musician, and Hasse Walli would discover world music, playing in such bands as Piirpauke.

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A-Musik - E Ku Iroju, 1984, Japan




Great Japanese weirdness. Mutant-Sounds recently put up a great live album by these guys, which you should check out here (and thank them for it!), so here's another A-Musik album for those of interest, but this is a studio one. I don't have any info on these guys; just go to the link I provided for what little info exists.

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V/A - More Arctic Hysteria: Son of Arctic Hysteria, 2CD, Love Records, 2005



...the later years of early Finnish avant-garde. Another incredible volume, following the inspiration and eye-opening 2001 CD Arktinen hysteria - Suomi-avantgarden Wsipuutarhureita. Pefectly packaged document of more utterly obscure electronic mayhem and theatrical intoxication, presented as near-high-art. "Now covered are the 1970s and 1980s. 34 artists. Featuring a lavishly illustrated leaflet of 20 pages. Compiled by Jukka Lindfors. Featuring Jimi Tenor, Läjä Äijälä and early Mika Vainio (Pan sonic), The Sperm activists Mattijuhani Koponen and Pekka Airaksinen, Edward Vesala at his wildest, Kari Peitsamo, Kauko Röyhkä and Sleepy Sleepers at their most experimental and many other musical alchemists from Pekka Streng to Reinin Myrkky - as a bonus some no-holds-barred sound experiments of Kaj Chydenius and M.A. Numminen from the '60s."

This is the follow-up to the original album posted here (click for info) and explores the next two decades of Finnish experimentation, and it gives a good representation of how the unique ideas formulated in the 60's Finnish underground changed into the next few years, as well as new ones that starting appearing at that time. If you liked the first one, you're gonna want this too! Here's the tracklisting...

CD1: More Arctic Hysteria

1. Pekka Streng: Olen väsynyt (1970)
2. Karelia: Kahella sarvella (1972)
3. Samsa Trio: Kiven poiminta (1972)
4. Omar Williams Experience: Democracy (1971-72)
5. Osmo Lindeman: Ritual (1972)
6. Jarmo Sermilä: Electrocomposition I (1976)
7. Åke Andersson: Kaukonen ennen vanhaan (1977)
8. Gandhi–Freud: A (1975)
9. Jone Takamäki Trio: Bhupala I (1982)
10. Lauri Nykopp: Y – part V (1982)
11. Edward Vesala: Maailman reuna (1982)
12. Matti & Pirjo Bergström: Virkamiehet (1980)
13. Ilkka Volanen: Kahlaaja ('Wader') – excerpt (1982)
Bonus tracks:
14. Kaj Chydenius: W (1964)
15. M.A. Numminen: Oigu-S (1964)

CD2: Son of Arctic Hysteria

1. Kollaa Kestää: Tähtien rauha (1978)
2. Aavikon Kone Ja Moottori: Rakkaudella sinulle (1980)
3. Kari Peitsamo: Puinen koira (1978)
4. Yhtye: Apatian tanssi (1979)
5. Silver: Do You Wanna Dance (1980)
6. Hefty Load: Schrecklich (1981)
7. Vaaralliset Lelut: Alkuasukkaiden lääkkeet (1982)
8. Jaakko Kangosjärvi: Musiikki ja urheilu (1981)
9. Tapa Paha Tapa: I Love It (1983)
10. Swissair: Baggage Claim (1981)
11. Harri Tuominen: Lippukunta (1984)
12. Suomen Poliisit: Mihin sie meet Keijo (1984)
13. Kansanturvamusiikikomissio: Kalinka (1985)
14. Joan Bennett Museo: Empty Faces (1984)
15. 500 Kg Lihaa: Pallokentällä (1982)
16. Super Ladex: Olet valloissasi (1981-84)
17. Gagarin-Kombinaatti: Raskas (1984)
18. Jimi Tenor & His Shamans: Le Petomane (380v) (1990)
19. Reinin Myrkky: Snorkkelijenkka (1989)


Disc 1
Disc 2

The Psychedelic Phinland compilation coming soon...

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Friendsound - Joyride, 1969


Self-produced, 1969's "Friendsound" makes absolutely no attempt to go down the commercial road and to ours ears may deserve to be noted as one of the first real "jam" albums. It's also one of those rare instances where the liner notes are dead-on ... "A musical free-for-all ... The idea for Friendsound came to us when we were in the early stages of creating our first album. We rounded up all out musician friends in the area and headed for a recording studio to have a musical free-for-all." That pretty much says it all. Exemplified by material such as the title track and "Childhood's End", the six extended numbers were largely instrumental in nature. Credited as group compositions, songs such as "CHildsong" and "Empire of Light" are full of studio experimentation, including backward tapes, sound effects and acid-influenced ramblings. Raiders members Levin, Smith and Volk were too grounded in top-40 pop to totally abandon such concepts as rhythm and melody, but it's pretty clear late night parting imbued them with a lot more freedom and creative latitude than your typical Paul Revere and the Raiders session. Not for the faint of heart, or top-40 junkies, but worth checking out for the more adventuresome of you out there ...


"Joyride" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Joyride - 4:15

2.) Childhood's End - 3:26

3.) Love Sketch - 3:26

4.) Childsong - 6:12

(side 2)

1.) Lost Angel Proper St. - 9:22

2.) Empire of Light - 9:40


Download

Monday, March 5, 2007

Iskra 1903, Wired, New Phonic Art - Free Improvisation, 3LP Box, 1974



New Phonic Art 1973 - One disc of a triple-set released on Deutsche Grammophon in 1974 aimed at showcasing the contemporary improvised music in Europe by way of three combos: one French (New Phonic Art), one German (Wired - with Conny Plank producing) and one from Great Britain (Iskra 1903, featuring Derek Bailey). Each group was given a full disc to do their thing with seemingly no restrictions. New Phonic Art 1973 was a quartet that assembled notable 20th century composers Michel Portal, Vinko Globokar, Carlos Roqué Alsina (from Argentina), and Jean-Pierre Drouet. [Improvisation Nr. 2 mp3]

Iskra 1903 - Since the formation of this trio in 1970, the name Iskra (with an assortment of date-based suffixes) has been assumed for many different lineups, usually comprised of musicians from the Spontaneous Music Ensemble/Incus/Emanem extended family. Featured in the 1974 Deutsche Grammaphon triple-disc set mentioned above, Iskra 1903: Improvisations represents the original trio, with Derek Bailey (guitars), Barry Guy (bass) and Paul Rutherford (trombone).

Wired - Wired was the German third of the Free Improvisation boxed set (Deutsche Grammophon couldn't very well exclude their own countrymen) - a quartet comprising Harry Partch disciple Mike Ranta on percussion, guitarist Karl-Heinz Böttner on saiteninstrumente (stringed instruments), Mike Lewis on Hammond organ, and the aforementioned Conny Plank on klangregie (sound direction; this indicates the importance of the mixing desk in the session.) The Wired disc (minus the other two from the set) appeared within the last year as a "grey-area" LP, which is available here.


Part 1 - New Phonic Art
Part 2 - Iskra 1903
Part 3 - Wired

Pole Records, Part Two

See the initial post here. This is the next five records on the Pole label (actually it's four, but one is a double LP and counted as two).

Pole - Besombes-Rizet, 0006-0007

Fluence - Fluence, 0008

Verto - Krig Volubilis, 0009

Potemkine - Foetus, 0010

Part three to come soon...

V/A - Arktinen Hysteria: Suomi-Avantgarden Esipuutarhureita (Finnish Avantgarde), 2001, Love Records



Some people might already have this one, but it should be of interest to fans of Pekka Airaksinen, The Sperm, MA Numminen, even Charlies, Apollo, Hector, and other Finland 60's stuff. There's some seriously kick-ass stuff on here, with plenty of unreleased tracks (including a 13-minute unreleased live Sperm track). This is essential in my eyes. There's lots of great experimental thought going on here, much of it is very politically oriented, and could even be said to be nihilistic in a way: the attitudes and methods of some of these artists would not be a million miles away from that of the Dada artists of the 10's and 20's, but maybe you'll disagree with me on that one.

The tracklisting is as follows:

1. M.A. Numminen, Tommi Parko, Pekka Kujanpää: Eleitä kolmelle röyhtäilijälle ("Gestures for Three Belchers", 1961)
2. M.A. Numminen & Sähkökvartetti: Kaukana väijyy ystäviä ("Electric Quartet: Far Away Lurk Friends", 1968)
3. Tommi Parko: Hysteriablues (1968)
4. Erkki Salmenhaara: Information Explosion, prologue (1967)
5. Blues Section: Shivers Of Pleasure (1967)
6. Erkki Kurenniemi: Antropoidien tanssi ("Dance of the Anthropoids", 1968)
7. Jukka Ruohomäki: Mikä aika on ("What Time Is", 1970)
8. Jouni Kesti & Seppo I. Laine: Vallankumouksen analyysi ("Analysis of Revolution", 1970)
9. The Sperm: 3rd Erection (1968)
10. J.O. Mallander: 1962 (1968)
11. The Sperm: Kuoleman puutarha live (otteita) ("Excerpts from The Opera 'Garden of Death'", 1970)
12. Pekka Airaksinen: Pieni sienikonsertto - A Little Soup For Piano And Orchestra
13. S. Albert Kivinen: Spirea (1970)

This site takes each track one by one and provides invaluable info on each and every artist and their contributing track (it's concise too).

The follow-up, More Arctic Hysteria, and a seperate compilation, Psychedelic Phinland will probably be uploded in the future too.

Download

Don Bradshaw Leather - The Distance Between Us, 1972, Distance





The music on this bizarre double album from 1972 is somewhere between gothic horror and psychedelic. Don Bradshaw Leather was apparently some kind of British occult group who self-released this album with no credits. (Also, on the record cover the name is spelled "Bradsham-Leather," not Bradshaw Leather, as it is referred to in everything from the Nurse With Wound list to the book and web guide on early U.K. psychedelic rock -Tapestry of Delights.) The title track, which takes up the first two sides, begins with some spooky piano rambling and then more mysterious sounds are added in. Soon tribal rhythms pound away while an organ seeps in with more creepy tones. The track gets a bit more intense as the organ and piano jam with the rhythms. Though most of it is instrumental, some wordless female vocals appear toward the end of side one, as the music settles down slightly. The rest of Distance Between Us is quite similar -- spooky organ and keyboard chords, obsessive piano plinking, primitive drum circle-style percussions, and other mysterious noises and drones in the background, with an overall pervasive gothic ambience, a horror film/cinematic feel. At times quiet and restrained, other times full of freaked-out energy, parts of this would not be out of place on one of Shinjuku Thief's Witch albums. The obsessively scary mood is sustained over all four sides. ~ Rolf Semprebon, All Music Guide



Who the hell is Don Bradshaw-Leather? Not much is known about him, but his self-released LP Distance Between Us (Distance Records, 1972) is certainly one bizarre egg. It's on the infamous Nurse With Wound list of Steven Stapleton's favorite weird records, so it's no wonder that this was brought to my attention by David Late Tibet of Current 93 (and sometime NWW collaborator). David sent me a copy and described it as a strange DIY horror symphony beyond words, and it indeed is dificult to describe. There's hardly a thing about this double LP on the web besides want lists and offers for sale (it seems to be averaging around $200 for original vinyl), though rumor has it that Don was a wealthy hippie (some say a member of Barclay-James Harvest, which David refutes) who was squatting around London in the early 1970's, whereabouts unknown now. The four lengthy tracks here ("Distance Between Us" Parts 1 & 2, "Dance of the Goblins", and "Autumn Mist") are dense, swirling, and hellish tapestries of blurred instrumentation, squawking voices buried in the mix, and seemingly no layout of progression from point A to point B in various movements (i.e. it's all a giant progression, but almost like a dog chasing its tail in a mad frenzy). Tracks have the leanings of some epic Messaien pieces in some ways, though imagine Bradshaw-Leather taking his symphony and filtering it through some kind of lo-fi source like a boombox or something and then just went bananas in the post-mix. And if the front cover wasn't insane enough, he's again in Wolfman-garb on the back with a screaming topless woman. The whole sleeve package seems to be hand-cut and stitched as well.

Part One
Part One