Saturday, 4 January 2014

RēR Records Quarterly -- A Series, Part 8: The Quarterly Vol. 2 No. 4 from 1989

The album starts with German prog band Expander des Fortschritts, who did two really crazy albums in the late eighties that are recommended.   So far as I know their contribution included here doesn't appear on either album.  It continues with Werner Kotydek's track of street sounds and noise (musique concrete) collaged from actual recordings made in the city of Cairo from which you can conclude that as usual there is plenty of utterly unlistenable garbage on this record.  It ends with the Canadian flautist Jean Derome who all should be familiar with due to his involvement in Canadian prog band Nebu.  As you can see from his discography his early years there were a small part of his total output to date.

The most beautiful song is by Jean Derome and is called USA / Intolerance (I'll leave out the obligatory political commentary this time).  His contribution forms a small progressive chamber music suite with wordless female vocals in the first part leading into a gorgeous small orchestral chamber work (Italy) and ending in Ghana's jazzy street riot.  These passages are derived from the soundtrack to a film called "Paul Strand under the dark cloth".  Interesting.  His friend Rene Lussier is performing on the guitar and some percussion here.

This was one of the records for which I have the magazine that was included in all the ReR Quarterlies.   Thus I'll focus on this instead of the music.  Bear in mind that reading off scans is quite different from holding the actual magazine especially for old-timers like myself who still can't get used to reading a book on an e-reader.  One of the most interesting articles is about the supposed advantages of CDs over vinyl, written by Michael Gerzon who invited a type of surround sound.  I recommend all audiophiles read this for its very early discussion of the issue.  It's highly interesting that the change from purely acoustical horn recording (early 20th century) to electronic recording on vinyl in itself caused a loss of musical quality-- would be wonderful to create such a purely acoustic analog recording device again.  Other articles discuss serialism (atonal music subjected to mathematical rules), allotments (personal farms), and there is creative material as in short stories and poetry.  For me the visual art material is particularly enjoyable.

Unfortunately I could only get halfway through the scanning process before giving up due to the monumental tedium of the process especially when in conjunction with a misfit and intemperate scanner that often cut off pages into pieces.  So I'll finish the process tomorrow and post the rest separately.

As mentioned in an earlier post it's a shame no one can put this material into a box set with the complete music, not necessarily the complete magazines, since many articles will appear quite dated.  Maybe Tom Hayes should take up this cause.

Btw notice that here the series is no longer Re Records, but for some odd reason the title is now ReR Records, starting with Vol. 2 No. 3 which I'll get to tomorrow.  I'm guessing the explanation has to do with the different corporate entities Chris Cutler created and is contained in that wikipedia article I earlier mentioned.


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  3. great! we like this very much! pH

  4. These are really great albums. At that time (I'm an old-timer too), by the lack of specialists record stores they were very hard to get so sadly I haven't the whole serie.
    For me Recommended Records was some sort of eye-opener... good music not only came from the U.S.A. or the U.K. noooh, in Europe we had great musicians too. Univers Zero, Art Zoyd, Lars Hollmer, Stormy Six... to name a few.
    With this kind of music your blog got my attention. Carry on!


  5. Of course where I was, there was no indication Europe had great rock music either the only music we heard were the silliest pop songs that made it across the Atlantic -- it was only with the opening up of digital music that I realized there was truly a whole world of fantastic rock and jazz made in Europe and Russia.
    Thanks for the encouragement since it seems the Re postings are not the most popular, I find there are always a few gems in each one worth checking out.

  6. new reup

  7. Thanks a huge bunch! This stuff is very hard to find these days. I could look all over any metro area and not find it, and even at the time that it was being released, probably have to mail order it. I like all the music as well (for the most part).

    Back around in time I remember a friend pointing out to me the first ReR vinyl out at a record store in the mall (it was a chain store I think called The Record Bar). He played bass in a avant punk band, and also turned me onto Univers Zero's Uzed, both Aqsak Maboul's two albums, some Henry Cow, and some Residents. It was sort of a revelation to me. I loved that it was so different from, well, anything! The ReR lp was a two-disc sampler, encased in a clear plastic sleeve, which had this glitter on the outside--very unusual artwork. It had a bit of material on all the bands and such as well. THanks for posting these!

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  9. How magical to find these here. Your site is magnificent. When these were first issued, I bought them as ReR released them, but I couldn't keep up the cash outlay at the time.

    What Chris Cutler and ReR have done for rock-tilted (mostly) avant-gardism is beyond measure.