It's my opinion that the best issue is this one, Vol. 2 No. 2 -- as a result I'm going to discuss it at length, but I beg you to read on. As well I think everyone should hear it and for this reason I will post a lossless copy for a limited time only (one week).
First of all we have a fantastic song by the 5UU's which I believe is one of those treasures left out of the sampler CDs, for which reason I thought it important to amass these records. This is followed by the legendary Robert Wyatt with an item called Chairman Mao. I've tried to listen to it a few times to see if it is pro-communist in order to get a few political comments going regarding the radical conservatism now sweeping the United States like a tsunami of triclosan, with deficit-reduction austerity serving as propagandal excuse to gerrymander society into a pre-depression quasi-fascist kleptocracy -- refashioning the future into not a welfare state, nor a police state, but a slave state, in which the one-tenth percenters and the corporations with which they are inseparable will be the masters -- but old as I am and thus unable to multitask I get too distracted by the beauty of his musical composition, the harmony vocals, and the bizarre clarinet-like background keyboards he uses here. It's a testament to his genius that the song remains in the key of G minor but maintains interest throughout by building slowly in intensity and weaving such strange snatches of lyrics that to me suggest he put a pre-existing poem to music. Simply amazing. But we knew that about Robert Wyatt.
The highlights of this record are the two longer suites. A4 is excerpts from Arturo Meza's Suite Koradi, which is recommended in its entirety because it is available and appeared as an album in 1985. It's a shock that there's so much fantastic Mexican prog-- the land that is now infamous for cocaine smugglers, drug-packed homemade submarines (not the sandwiches, the u-boats), and bloodthirsty drug cartels once had a beautiful path down the alley of progressive rock and it was a wide and productive trail indeed. Too bad at the end of it we now find decapitated bodies everywhere amidst AK-47 casings. Anyways, it's a very tricky suite because each time you think the track is over, suddenly it starts up again, like a person you shot with a high powered rifle who you think has died -- only to rise up again. So I had to rerecord it about half a dozen times each time expecting it to be finally over, cursing it, like a half-fried chimichanga. You'll see what I mean.
Starting Side B is the other long piece called Suite (Resume 84-86) [presumably based on years of composition?], which is as beautiful as music can get, to me. I realize I make these pronouncements far too often, but it's because the music I'm presenting is some of my favourite material. (Almost by definition I won't post stuff I find terrible.) It's by a band called "Intellectual Cabaret" and was written by one Stevan Kovacs Tickmayer. From discogs:
"Composer, pianist and music essayist, Stevan Kovacs Tickmayer was born in 1963 ( Novi Sad , Vojvodina / ex-Yugoslavia) as a member of Hungarian national minority. Since 1991, he lives in France. Studied piano & double bass, graduated in composition at the Academy Of Arts in Novi Sad under Rudolf Brucci, subsequently studied composition with Louis Andriessen & Diderick Wagenaar at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. He had also a scholarship from the Polish Section of ISCM. With the members of his ensemble studied with Marta and György Kurtàg and by time established a long-term friendship with them.
In 1986 formed his ensemble Tickmayer Formatio in which classical trained musicians was employed as well as new jazz or improvised rock performers. Very soon, the group got an international profile: in different combinations over than thirty musicians collaborated with the group. For four years, Tickmayer was a member of the editorial of New Symposium, a magazine for social questions, art & culture in Novi Sad. In this period, he organized two international festivals for contemporary music & arts. In 1988, he gave lectures in summer course for improvised & composed music in Szombathely (Hungary) and one year later formed a piano duo with the father figure of Hungarian contemporary improvised music György Szabados. In the period of 1990-1997 he composed music and performed it with his Formatio for the Orleans based dance group Jel led by the choreographer Josef Nadj. ...
On the other hand, it's a mystery who were in the Intellectual Cabaret, unless it was a nonce band for the composer for this particular purpose. Definitely an artist whose work I will have to search for more in the future. This is clearly chamber music and it wouldn't at all be out of place in a concert hall so your enjoyment of it will entirely depend on your tolerance of modern European classical music. Note the applause at the end, btw. Later, Tickmayer reappeared on the 1997 CD Vol. 4 No. 2 which we shall get to eventually, assuming I don't give up on this tedious enterprise first.
B3 features an unreleased (I think) track from Danish nutbars Hunk Ai, one of my favourite out-there oddity RIO bands, whose two albums everyone should hear at least once, if only to determine whether they should ever be heard again in one's or one's procreants' lifetimes, or that of the species.
There are of course two throwaway tracks, A3 which is purely percussion, and B4 which is purely dog barking-- seriously.
Finally we have Jocelyn Robert, a Canadian avant-garde composer this time. I'm not sure but I seem to recall his material is as avant-garde as it gets-- we're talking musique concrete, noise, recorded snippets, etc., not what most humans including myself (or excluding, more appropriately) will refer to as music. However, his track, entitled Christi Crucifixi Ultima Verba is highly accessible as indeed it should be on this compilation. The choral vocalizations, unaccompanied by musical instruments, are utterly enchanting, mysterious, and other-wordly, have a listen:
It ends very abruptly on the record, it's not my recording. This track is the one that when I heard it many many years ago, on one of those ReR CD samplers sent to me by an older and wiser connoisseur of this music, caused me to listen to it again and again, along with some Jean Derome tracks that we'll get to later this week. Then and there I swore that one day I'd try to collect all the original material, and then of course, I swore again once I'd obtained it all.
Note on this release:
Comes with 64 page magazine & screen-printed cover.
A1 has no track duration given on the release.
225 subscription copies came with an additional numbered and personally dedicated poster.
Some copies came with another addition still: a 12-page booklet by John Oswald, titled ''Plunderphonics''.
Magazine printed by Black Rose Press, London.
Record cover printed by Third Step Printworks, London.
It's a shame my copy lacks all the above except the amazing music. In a future installment I'll discuss the magazine I do have.
Chairman Mao by the incomparable Robert Wyatt: