Saturday, 21 April 2018

Czech composer Henryk Debich: 3 albums

I came across this artist in connection with 'research' on the previous Mladen Franko, and two of his releases looked quite promising.  Unfortunately he did recycle a couple of tracks from the first, String Beat, on to the second.  Note the brief review on discogs for the former:

Well deserving of its 5 star rating. Without a doubt the best Polish funk / jazz LP. It's a shame that Henryk Debich didn't produce more in this style. Standout tracks are "Bez Metalu", "Standard In B", "Bądź Wieczorem W Dyskotece", "Na Opak", in fact pretty much the entire LP.

The second album here bizarrely and unfortunately was only released on cassette, but as you know, this is not a problem for us here on this blog with our ultimate capacities for unearthing the rarest of gems from oblivion.  It doesn't appear under the same artist, due to I guess a deficiency in the database with regards to the slavic languages we've seen before with respect especially to Russian artists.
In my own personal opinion both albums are masterpieces of the mid-seventies library funk-fusion genre and really deserve more interest.  Consider the second track from the 1978 cassette, which could stand with the best of the well-known library composers (Amfora, by one Malinowski):

From the former record, consider the track A3 called Gry:

A wonderful combination of soundtrack excitement, atmospheric darkness, and that great, incomparable 70s funk sound, I think you'll agree.  This is by Zylis, who contributed some absolutely fantastic tracks to one of my all-time favourite library records, Documentary Sequences.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Library Artist Mladen Franko, 13 LPs

I didn't bother this time to put the album covers in order, especially with the added problem that the database doesn't provide years of release for quite a few of them.  Who cares, when we have 13 records to digest, some of which are quite forgettable.

The 1980 Sonoton album called Contemporary Sounds Vol. 2 (the Vol. 1 is a different composer, Danny Burdson) features some really stunning advanced composition, for ex. the track called Atoll:

In that same annus mirabilis, the 2 albums called Amazing Space feature the best sounding library funk-fusion you could hope to hear, approaching the great Puccio Roelens, the opener of the first volume called Sound Safari:

But don't waste too much of your time on the remainder, most of these are completely pedestrian.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Roland Bocquet of Catharsis / Paradia fame in The 1982 OST La Balance

Superb cover art again for Paradia, reminding me a lot of Matisse crossed with the French artist Sempe, and how beautiful to see it's by Bocquet himself.

I guess this artist needs no introduction, certainly for me the 1977 record Paradia is a masterpiece of expressive Gallic progressive music, perfect in its smooth and well-executed professionalism, and thus leaving his old Catharsis band far behind.  Long ago I was excited to find out he made those two other Robot library records, but they proved disappointing to me in comparison to his chef d' oeuvre, particularly since he recycled some of the Paradia compositions for them.  To complete his discography I bought this soundtrack he wrote for a movie, which I remember well from my art film days in university, called La Balance, with Natalie Baye.  From imdb:

Nicole is a Parisian streetwalker and Dede is her racketeer boyfriend, on the outs with his mob bosses because of a dispute over Nicole. When a police informant ("la balance") is murdered, the cops have to scramble for a replacement. Deciding on Dede, they begin to put a nasty squeeze on him and Nicole.

Despite the briefness of the above I do remember it was a great movie from the twilight of the golden age of French police movies.  (If you understand French you can, as usual, see the whole thing for free on youtube.  I guess the nostalgia of the art video rental stores is something only us old guys can indulge in and soon it will be a totally forgotten memory too.)

Ultimately, Bocquet only contributed a little to the soundtrack, but what he did do is astonishing:

This being A2's rendition of La Chanson de Nicole.  (Another appears with vocals on the b side.)  How many times have I made the same comment: no music this beautiful is ever written anymore.  Just check out how effectively the simple electric guitar solo adds punch to the ostinato rhodes piano and string arrangement weaving in and out of the synthesizer melody like birds in the sky.  Then towards the end, the guitarist dialogues on his own with the rhodes, like a suitor pleading with a beautiful woman.  Such artistry!

Sadly there is a lot of filler on this record, explaining why it has been forgotten by time.  In particular, the last tracks on each side-- and I will be polite about it-- are absolutely stinking piles of shit.

But the Chanson of Nicole should never have been forgotten...

Friday, 13 April 2018

Smith, Hellborg, Shrieve -- All Our Steps... from Germany 1983, by request

The trio includes American composer/pianist Michael Smith, the well-known Jonas Hellborg on bass and Shrieve on drums.  On the database it's described as fusion but it turned out to be more of an acoustic set, with a grand piano solo to start side one and a drum solo for side two.  So despite the high expectations, given the performers, it was a bit disappointing overall, with the ensemble performances not generating the kind of renewable energy one would have earnestly wished for.

I'll throw in another record I found in the course of looking for requests, this performance from 1985 (not the one which was requested I realize!) which features again some famous names (Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winston, John Taylor, etc.) and equally some interesting compositions. Note that bassist and composer for side b, Paolo Damiani, was on the amazing seminal prog record Buon Vecchio Charlie which everyone knows.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

More Marie Rottrova and Flamingo in 1974

Going way back to close to the beginning of the series I thought for completeness sake we should hear this one too.  Unfortunately not as much to hang on to overall.  For example,  A3 Dlouhá Ulice by Drahoslav Volejníček:

I was surprised to hear that track B5 stole a small instrumental from Chicago, apparently without credit.

Specifically, it's the virtually unknown track called AM Mourning from Chicago 2 that was lifted.  Not that anyone would ever have noticed.  Nonetheless, some nice compositions, surprisingly, one from Polish genius Czeslaw Niemen, which proved disappointing and not progressive at all, and one from Jan Spaleny who you may recall I covered in conjunction with prog outfit Mahagon (I think the links for those were taken down there, sorry).

Monday, 9 April 2018

More Marie Rottrová with Já A Ty from 1983

Later on in the 80s as we are here we find her deep voice is a little hoarser, from all that smoking (possibly), drinking (probably), drugs (definitely), and (maybe) the swallowed seed of so many rich and powerful music executives.  How times have changed.

The first track as sample:

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Torsten Brandes: 1988's 5 Kleine Stücke Für Gitarre

Unfortunately very little here to hang on to, less than one side of a vinyl in equivalent length with 5 tracks totaling I'm guessing about 11 minutes, I desperately wanted to hear this due to the amazing creativity he brought to his duo with David Ward MacLean in Mystery Men and their masterpiece Strange Fruit.

Some scant information here.  Clearly these sound like composition exercises, but they are extremely high in standard and interesting, or to the average human I suppose, weird: