Sunday, 19 October 2014

This Heat

Deceit (1981) ...

Post-punk prog released on Rough Trade (ROUGH 26) ...

Deceit ...

Makeshift Swahili ...
 This Heat's sound was something like a confrontation of prog, free-jazz and contemporary electronic music (think early Stockhausen, not Kraftwerk). They often get lumped into the post-punk (or even just "punk") camp, for no better reason other than they started at the same time. They certainly sounded as if they were angry about something, and taking a glance at the lyric sheet for this album (and you'd better, as often the vocals seem more musical element than communicative force), they had fairly intense political/social statements to make-- though pinning down their position is often as hard as pinning down their sound. In any case, they were "progressive" in the literal sense of the word, and though they came up with the first wave of punk, they didn't really sound like anyone else of the time (save a few other English radicals like Henry Cow or Art Bears, occasionally)... pitchfork.com
A New Kind of water ... 
 The band got its digs in once more for "A New Kind of Water," expressing the rage that seems to have been implied throughout the record, though rarely shown directly. Phrases like, "We were told to expect more/ And now that we've got more/ We want more, we want more," offer some of the only clear ideas about the feelings behind Deceit, and the music is appropriately insistent (crashing drums, wailing group vocals, very precise, discordant guitar lines). Over the years, there have been bands to play as aggressively, or even as strangely, but very few have been able to rise from their collective influences and histories to create music so singularly distinctive and inspiring. I don't know that Hayward, Bullen and Williams were trying to inspire (and that they debated over whether to release their music at all could be evidence to support that they weren't), but the overall feeling I take away from this album is that of revolution and a very creative form of protest. That's what I call punk.
Independence ... 

This Heat live (1982?) ...  also featuring songs recorded by Camberwell Now...

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Renaissance

A Song For All Seasons (1978) ...

 Orchestral prog pop from England ... they still exist but are now based in the US with mainly US members based around Annie Haslam's signature vocals ...

Day of the dreamer ...



Opening Out ... 



A Song For All Seasons ... 
 The next to last album by Renaissance as a full-time, ongoing group, A Song for All Seasons was a courageous effort in its time, wearing its classically based progressive rock colors proudly on its sleeve amid the punk and new wave booms that were sweeping across the musical landscape. Vocalist Annie Haslam and pianist John Tout generated some memorably beautiful moments, ably supported by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor/arrangerHarry Rabinowitz... allmusic.com

Sight & Sound concert, BBC TV 1977 ... 



  Northern Lights ...


RIP Michael Dunford 

Friday, 17 October 2014

Fennesz

Bécs (2014) ...

Christian Fennesz's 'abstract pop' ...latest album on Editions Mego is a follow-up to 'Endless Summer' ...

The Liar ... 



Bécs (full album) ... 

For his new record, Fennesz has returned to both the label and the style that provided that 2001 breakthrough. Even if Bécs hadn’t been positioned as an Endless Summer sequel, the connection to the earlier work would have been clear. Rather than serving as texture, the strummed guitars play changes to accompany melodies. The drones and fractured processing are twinkly and bright, instead of dour and foreboding. Once again, Fennesz proves a master of this approach. The acoustic strumming in “Static Kings” sounds impossibly delicate and naïve next to the swirly vortex of the drone accompanying it; the deep organ pedals of “Pallas Athene” bring to mind a vast expanse that stretches to the horizon; the harshness of the distortion on the title track walks a tightrope between oceanic envelopment and repellant destruction. The closing “Paroles” brings it back full circle with possibly the most naked acoustic playing to appear on a Fennesz record, as processing seems to cling to random notes like a burr before being flicked off with the next note. The sense of composition and sound design is strong, and these tracks complement each other and make a coherent whole even if no two sound the same... pitchfork.com
 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Harry Hosono & the Yellow Magic Band

Paraiso (1978) ...

Japanese musician Haroumi Hosono leads what would become Yellow Magic Orchestra in an exotica fusion of RnB and Technopop...  

 Japanese Rhumba ...

 Fujiyama Mama ...


Recorded Dec 77-Jan78 Yukihiro Takahashi and Sakamoto and HH play together only on one track. The band name was a rather obscure takeoff on a Captain Beefheart song title as rumor has it. This is often considered the definitive pre-YMO album though Takahashi's contemporarily recorded suave French-Pop album "Saravah" has all 3 future YMO members working together far more extensively. The style here is Exotica and more like a tropical band album than a synth album so musically this isn't much connected with YMO's style apart from YMO carrying over many exotica refrencesw on the debut, so Parasio is relatively distant from YMO (Cochin Moon is actually closer to YMO due to heavy synth use). There is synth though. Interestingly, Sakamoto did his own album of roughly this kind of sound though more pop / disco on his album Summer Nerves... Fan page ...
Shambhala Signal ... 


Femme Fatale ... 


Paraiso (full album) ... 

Ryuichi Sakamoto recorded another version of Asatoya Yunta on his Beauty album ...

 

Grauzone

Die Sunrise Tapes (1981) ...

Grauzone were formed in Berne, Switzerland in 1980.  This was their only album, (extended in a CD rerelease).  Post punk Neue Deutsche Welle, lead vocals by Stephan Eicher ...

Die Sunrise Tapes (Grauzone LP reissued) ...
  

Eisbaer (Polar bear) their hit ... 


Hinten Den Bergen ... 



Grauzone history ...

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Eberhard Schoener

Destruction of Harmony (1971) ...

Eberhard Schoener's 'Switched-On' appreciation of Bach and Vivaldi, using synthesisers, and with lots of ambient synth sounds linking more classical pieces.   Leans more towards Isao Tomita than Wendy Carlos in the 'harmonic' pieces, and very influenced by early Popol Vuh in the rest ...
 
Bourree ...



Overture ... 


eberhard-schoener.de ... 

Saturday, 11 October 2014

The Beatniks

Exitentialism (1981) ...

The Beatniks were an offshoot of Yellow Magic Orchestra, formed by drummer/singer Yukihiro Takahashi and Keiichi Suzuki of the Moon Riders.

Le sange du poete ... 

In 1981, elsewhere in Japan, the not-nearly-as-popular-but-still-great Moon Riders had just released the highly regarded "Camera Egal Stylo," which marked their about-face into new-wave, and were working on the highly-regarded album "Mania Maniera," which was apparently too bizarre to release upon its completion in 1982. Lots of elevated regard was floating around between YMO and them apparently. Therefore no surprise that the 1981 album by the Beatniks, the on-again-off-again collaboration between YMO frontman and drummer Yukihiro Takahashi and head Moon Rider (and Earthbound soundtrack scribe, to you video game fans) Keiichi Suzuki, is as fantastic as it is.



The oddly named "Exitentialism" (yes, ExiTENtialism...don't ask me!) is, to be sure, a bit tilted in the YMO direction. YMO, and especially Takahashi, were stars; the Moon Riders were and are Not. Consequently, Exitentialism is a bit of a 60%/30% split in Takahashi's favor--not a huge problem, as by this point Keiichi Suzuki's voice was at the beginning of its steady decline. As an album, Exitentialism plays like a combination of YMO's "BGM" (think U-T and Cue), the Moon Riders' "Camera Egal Stylo". They released 4 more albums over the 2 decades that followed. Exitentialist A Go Go [1987] , Another High Exit [1994], The Show Vol.4 Yohji Yamamoto Collection Music [1996] , M.R.I. Musical Resonance Imaging [2001] . Easy does it... Rho-Xs


keijiongaku.blogspot.co.uk (recent link) ...