Thursday, 30 October 2014

The Associates

Fourth Drawer Down (1982) ...

A compilation of tracks released in the previous 12 months...

Fourth Drawer Down ...

The Associates work best in small doses, a single or two, and an LP's worth can be heavy going. Given their liking for oppressively weighty rhythms and a dense pudding of a sound it needs a big appetite.
'Fourth Drawer Down' is a German collation of some of their numerous A and B sides. Hardly a month seemed to go by last year without a new Associates 45 appearing: a hunger to display growth or a compulsive's diary of work? The best entry, maybe, was 'Tell Me Easter's On Friday'; here it's dressed in a bass heavy mix that plunges the carillon instrumentation into a dungeon. The following 'The Associate' goes even deeper, a circular tune gradually overwhelmed by clouds of pain.
This might be construed as the nucleus of Associates music, with Billy Mackenzie's booming prophet vocals, the frugally rationed space and the grisly metallics of songs like 'A Girl Named Property' or 'Kitchen Person'. As that terrific onrush winds on, though, you wonder if there is humanity left there. Play 'Fourth Drawer Down' very loud and it assumes the dimensions and ambience of a breakers' yard in an abandoned metropolis.
No, wait, I like The Associates. There is more here. 'Q Quarters' calms down and discovers consternation in oriental chords. 'White Car In Germany' and its instrumental half-brother 'An Even Whiter Car' depict wanderings in an alien-nation which accurately evoke a spectator's fascinated forebodings. 'Message Oblique Speech', with its fractured jigsaw of rhythms and mutant electronic asides, musters a weird exultation.
There is no let-up from the first to last. The Associates delight in insistence in these songs. Lyrics are often scarcely decipherable; when they are it's fruitless trying to unravel the songs. The Associates brutalise form with a purpose, though. In trying to dismantle the accepted notions of organised playing and reconstructing with uncaring regard for accessibility - all these tracks are cluttered, confused and strewn with near-random noise - The Associates reassert their humanity in electric music.
At the centre of 'A Girl Named Property' Alan Rankine has his guitar repeat a chord that sounds like a baleful cry. The Associates must go on in this vein and achieve a greater clarity yet... Richard Cook review 1982 ...



White Car In Germany ... 


Tell Me Easter's On Friday ... 


Message Oblique Speech ...


Kitchen Person ...   

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

John Maus

Love Is Real (2007) ...

Retro electronica-pop from John Maus.  His second solo album, a pastel 'goth' sound, reverb drenched, lo-fi keyboards with an 1980s vibe...

Love Is Real ... 


JOHN MAUS lives in his birthplace of Austin, Minnesota. Whilst working towards his PhD in Political Science he also composes music that taps into melancholic fantasy and affirms that we are all truly alive. Questing synthesisers, tensely strung bass lines and chasing drum machines provide the perfect backdrop for John's deeply resonant reverb-drenched vocal.
Born in the decade of synth pop and sharing his birthday with George Frideric Handel, John started making music when Nirvana posters went up on every teenager's wall. It's this curious conflux of influences that partially helps to describe John's music. It's a world where the Germs jam with Jerry Goldsmith, Cabaret Voltaire relocate to Eternia and Josquin des Prez writes a new score for RoboCop. The confrontation of punk, the fleeting poignancy of 80s movie soundtracks, the insistent pulse of Moroder and the spirituality of Medieval and Baroque music all find salvation in John Maus... upsettherhythm.co.uk ...
pitchfork.com ...

 

Saturday, 25 October 2014

John Cale & Terry Riley

Church of Anthrax (1971) ...

John Cale returns from Velvet Underground to his avant garde background joining up with arch minimalist Terry Riley ...  Early 'rock-based' minimalism group ...

Church of Anthrax ... 



Ides of March ... 

This album marks a cross-pollination. Cale may have been returning to his Minimalist roots, but he still had the sound of VU’s white noise ringing in his ears and as a consequence managed to produce a brilliantly messy, repetitious rock record. Early Minimalism had much in common with rock anyway: the ensembles which Philip Glass and Steve Reich were establishing, as well as the previously-mentioned Theatre Of Eternal Music, resembled rock groups as much as they did traditional classical ensembles... headheritage.co.uk ...
The Hall of Mirrors In The Palace of Versaille ...

  
This album is a fantastically raw piece of music which is unlike any of Cale’s other solo albums. It also has an strange ancient-ness to it comparable to Amon Düül II’s ‘Phallus Dei’. The combination of its general lack of conventional song structure and its street-suss edge makes it rank alongside much of what was being produced in Germany at the time, in that it was pushing the limits of rock music’s sound in a similar direction. Cale’s comment that “‘Anthrax’ is just an improvised gig with Terry” shows that he himself may not have regarded it as a particularly important album. However, it stands up as an inspired exercise in minimalist rock music... headheritage



 

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Helene Grimaud

Brahms: Piano Pieces Op. 116 - 118 (1996) ...

Hélène Grimaud, pianist ...


Fantasias for piano Opus 116 ...


Drei Intermezzi for piano, Op. 117


Klavierstücke, Op. 118 ...


Klavierstücke, Op. 119 ...


Recorded: 28-29/11/1995, Reitstadel, Neumarkt, Germany 

Bournville Carillon

Canadian carillon tunes (2014) ...

 

Recorded this summer at Bournville.  Carilloneur is Trevor as usual ...

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Bill Nelson

Quit Dreaming And Get On The Beam (1981) ...

Bill Nelson's 'debut' solo album following Be-Bop Deluxe and Red Noise ... retro futurism, keyboards to the fore and a love of Jean Cocteau.  Actually planned and recorded as a second Red Noise album, a change in record company meant a change in direction... The original vinyl release included an album of 'ambient' instrumentals Sounding The Ritual Echo ...
 
Quit Dreaming and Get On The Beam ... 



Do You Dream In Colour ...?

Banal ...



Quit Dreaming album ...




Sounding The Ritual Echo (Atmospheres for Dreaming) ... 



 

OMD

Dazzle Ships (1983) ...

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark's fourth album, considered a flop after the hit Architecture and Morality, but now regarded as 'influential', comes across as a Cold War take on Kraftwerk's RadioActivity...  This was probably their highpoint in creativity in their 1980s period ...

Dazzle Ships (parts II, III and VII) ...

After the astounding reception afforded to Architecture and Morality in 1981, Dazzle Ships was a commercial and critical failure for OMD. Yet it stands the test of time as a heroic statement, succeeding, from the tinny brass opening of 'Radio Prague' onwards, in walking a tightrope of arch camp aesthetics and a seriously-minded, yet ludicrously overblown experiment. Try reading Andy McCluskey’s lyrics in hard print and they at times feel as empty as a wide horizon. But when harnessed to the deeply elegiac melodies (those rich synth tones, slow-marching drums), and a battery of sounds evocative of war at sea and radio propaganda, the whole comes alive with undeniable panache.
Of course, it was never going to sell, no matter how exuberant a pop song 'Telegraph' might be. Cold War geopolitics appear in 'International', which opens with a news report telling of a girl from Nicaragua whose hands had been cut off at the wrists. 'ABC Auto-Industry', meanwhile, features a Czechoslovakian radio programme on the use of robots in factories. 'Dazzle Ships (Parts II, III And VII)' is a three part instrumental composed of the soundtrack samples of conflict above and below the waves, foghorns and sonar pings, the throbbing of engines heard underwater. This is followed by the preposterously-titled 'Romance Of The Telescope' with its dreamy elegance and chorus of processed voices. 'Silent Running' is so magisterially pompous it demands a half hour of enforced standing ovation, the first one to stop getting a firm hand on the shoulder on the way out of the State Opera... thequietus.com
Radio Waves (Beach Boys meet Kraftwerk) ... 



International ...


Genetic Engineering ...




Dazzle Ships will be performed in full at Museum of Liverpool in November 2014 ...


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) ... 

Friday, 10 October 2014

Catherine Howe

What a Beautiful Place (1971) ...

Catherine Howe, English singer-songwriter's debut album ...

What a Beautiful Place ... 


Catherine is an Ivor Novello award winning songwriter who has earned top-class reviews in all major music periodicals both in the UK and the US, including Folk Album of the Year from The Sunday Times. Following a gap of more than two decades, during which she raised her daughter and gained a first-class honours degree, Catherine Howe has returned to song-writing and recording, also giving occasional performances.


Up North ...
 
 

It's Not Likely ...

Nothing More Than Strangers ...

catherinehowe.co.uk ... 



Palais Schaumburg

Lupa (1982) ...

Second album from post-punk German electronic pop group added Latin horns and a touch of fusion, courtesy of Andy Hernandez (Coati Mundi of Kid Creole & the Coconuts) as producer ...

Lupa ...

Rosen ...
 Shortly after the release of their debut album, founding member Holger Hiller left the band, and was replaced by lyricist/vocalist Walter Thielsch. Produced by Andy "Sugar Coated" Hernandez in New York and Zürich, Lupa further established the band as "great German pop constructionists" (NME) with some newly-added jazz-funk fuelled horns... forcedexposure.com ...

3 nach 9 ...

 Palais Schaumburg was founded in 1980. First line up contained Holger Hiller and Thomas Fehlmann aswell as FM Einheit (Abwärts, Einstürzende Neubauten), latter left the band in 1981.Similar in spirit and geography to Der Plan, influenced by The Residents aswell as the Dadaism of the twenties and thirties Palais Schaumburg tried to compose a new form of avant-gardistic dance music The Hamburg-based band debuted in 1981 with Das Single Kabinett, a six-song EP on ZickZack. They released their first full-length album, Palais Schaumburg, the following year on Kamera. After its release, Hiller defected for a solo career. The band quickly got to work on the LP Lupa, which was released later in 1982. Rather surprisingly, the album added horns and a slight jazz fusion influence to their sound... Rho-XS 



Europa Heisst Amerika ... 

Süss Sein, Nett Sein ...
 
deathwearswhitesocks.com ... 


tapeterecords.com ... 

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Flanger

OuterSpace, Inner Space (2001) ...

Uwe Schmidt and Burnt Friedman's electronic latin jazz project ...

Electronic Latin Jazz ...



The Flanger project was founded in 1998 by Uwe Schmidt (aka Atom™)and Burnt Friedman).The two musicians met up to program their first album "Templates" in Santiago de Chile in 1998.Their musical goal was to generate their own vision of non-repetitive,organic and extremely complex music that is far removed from the well-trodden paths of techno and other established styles of so-called contemporary music...

Inner Space/Outer Space covers the most territory of the three records, opening with convincing electro and touching on lounge-y vibes solos, Latino rhythms, and a bit o' clicky electronic percussion. These two can really tweak a studio in a subtly psychedelic way, turning congas into stuttering chirps and cutting up a drum solo to sound like the drummer's playing during an earthquake. Very entertaining ... rho-xs ...

Monday, 6 October 2014

Wolfgang Dauner

Output (1970) ...

Wolfgang Dauner trio on ECM from 1970 ... with Fred Bracewell and Eberhard Weber, this very early ECM album has an almost Kosmische direction to it...





Wolfgang Dauner - Piano, Ringmodulator, Hohner Clavinet 

Fred Bracewell - drums, voice

Eberhard  Weber - bass, cello, guitar


Recorded on September 15, and October 1.1970 at the Tonstudio Bauer, Ludwigsburg





inconstantsol.blogspot.co.uk ...

An early outlier in the ECM catalog, Output convulses with as much lively originality as it did when it was first released. Wolfgang Dauner, perhaps better known as founder of the United Jazz + Rock Ensemble, assembles a modest trio of talent for this classic 1970 studio free-for-all. The end result is humor, provocation, brilliance, and chaos all rolled into one. (...) Superb, if jumbled, musicianship and a strong attention to detail make for a unique experience all around. Dauner does wonders with limited means, Braceful sheds his skin at every turn, and this is a far cry from the Weber of the languid orchestral suites. Not an easy listen for the faint of heart, but one that will give back what’s put into it. Viable candidate for quirkiest album cover of all time?   ... ecmreviews.com ...




Sunday, 5 October 2014

Mary Margaret O'Hara

Miss America (1988) ...

Canadian singer and actress, this is her only album, but it's a classic.  She currently works with improvisor Canadian cellist Peggy Lee ...

When You Know Why Youre Happy ... 


Dear Darling ... 
 A decent short-hand for O’Hara’s ultra-distinctive, highly original sound would be to (maybe, sorta, kinda) say that it’s not unlike Meredith Monk fronting a jazz/folk/blues combo with a gospel influence. O’Hara’s swooping, soaring, anxious vocals emerge from her lungs as mutant, almost incontinent, skat singing that often seems caught in her windpipe before it’s hiccup’d out and released like butterflies. She has been called an “epileptic Edith Piaf” and there is a deep truth in that description as she shudders and shakes during a performance like she’s possessed, in equal measure it would seem, by demons and angels. Suffice to say, her entire presentation and artistic gestalt isn’t for everyone, but O’Hara’s art has never, ever had “popularity” (let alone record sales) as a goal... dangerousminds.net ...
Help Me Lift You Up ...

A New Day ... 


Year In Song ... 

Body's in Trouble ... 




These two songs are not from 'Miss America' ... 

Blue Christmas (live TV, 1989 with the Razorbacks) ... 

Out of The Blue (with Garth Hudson) from Garth Hudson's Canadian Celebration of The Band ... 


 

Saturday, 4 October 2014

The Fall

I Am Kurious Oranj (1988) ...

The Fall released their eleventh album to accompany a  ballet by collaborator Michael Clark ...  (D#) D Am Em G C Em Enjoy...

Overture to I Am Kurious Oranj ... 





Big New Prinz ...

The album I Am Kurious Oranj was written for the ballet I Am Curious Orange, choreographed by Michael Clarke and performed by his troupe to the live accompaniment of the Fall. The theme was more or less William of Orange (1650-1702), aka William III, ruler of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Holland. William was seen as a standard-bearer for the Protestant faith, deposing the Catholic James II, and waging war against the Catholic king of France, Louis XIV. The ballet coincided with the 300th anniversary of his accesion to the English throne. According to Mark E. Smith in his book, Renegade, "We adapted the title from a Swedish porno film--I am Curious, Yellow. I was trying to make the point that we all share some kind of common knowledge that's within ourselves; that comes out in all sorts of things. Some people call it a gene pool. It's as if you already know subconsciously about historical incidents. You don't have to have been taught it. It's in-built. At the time I wanted to put this across, basically as a loose explanation of what was happening in Belfast: it's in the head and bones and there's nothing you can do about it."  annotatedfall.doomby.com ...

Jerusalem ...



Kurious Oranj  (invulnerable to cool, positively deranged)  ...  





Copped It & Ludd gang ...(choreography by Michael Clarke) ... not from Kurious Oranj