Sunday, 28 September 2014
"Musical illustrations on themes inspired by the Middle Ages..."
As requested, here is the other Guiot album, which as I mentioned earlier, I felt wasn't quite as progressive, it's definitely in the traditional folk category.
It would be daring to have a listen to the next album he wrote called Casino Retro, and I definitely don't feel up for the challenge. Then again, one might be pleasantly surprised. Anyone heard it?
Friday, 26 September 2014
This wonderfully tight and energetic fusion band did two albums only in total. For me the second record is remarkably inferior to the first, and is entirely forgettable in fact, though others' opinions might differ. Thanks to my friend a gorgeous new lossless is available for us to enjoy and check out that awesome cover, which just screams seventies-- doesn't it make you want to jetset straight to the swiss alps for a bout of glacier skiing followed by group sex with euromodels sans inhibition or worry at all?
Wednesday, 24 September 2014
The pnf readers among us will recall that a mono mp3 rip of Gold's Night Ride was posted there way back in 2012, by none other than isabelbc, of course (a million thanks again to her!):
Killer little known private press with all original songs written by lead singer/guitarist Bob Wamnes. Great driving hard rock/blues rock/classic rock with some good fuzz guitar and rough vocals throughout. Sort of a garage/bar band feel. Recorded in Florida. Sounds more early to mid 70's. Label - Sun Song 7783 - Florida private press rock LP. Interesting stuff, ranges from straight-up hardrock to a couple laid-back numbers to the prog / jazzrock style "New York, New York". Somewhat lo-fi recording (done on a Teac 3340S, according to the back cover) - http://www.popsike.com/
Subsequently I made their masterpiece available to everyone, "No Class What so ever" and even Tom Hayes was impressed by it (priority 2).
A chromatic downgoing arpeggiated riff tears the still air into shreds on "Light Speed" leading into the stellar clusters of the "milkyway" on the second track of side a ... absolutely a one-two punch worth the price of admission to this incredible ultra-unknown secret and long-lost set of music from Miami, Fla.
There are considerable similarities to the "Mr. Euphoria" record I posted some time ago, and if you follow this blog you'll recall Isabelbc posted their first record here ("Night Ride") about a year ago. So I'll dedicate this newly-ripped version of the second record to Isabel, wherever she may be. Oddly enough the guys reverted to an all-instrumental album here but they brought all the power in the book to play here. On the back, the following note: "This album was a first take live recording with no over-dubbing." Pretty cool!
The album was written by the lead guitarist whose name is Bob Wamnes ("the Wam" as he is called on the back cover) perfect in his mustachio and tuxedo. His band is rounded out with Ed Mallett on drums and wind chimes, Tom McCance on bass and Jeff Powers on lead guitar as well. I'm guessing these guys were high school pals who started a band, I wonder where they are now? I sure would love to hear from the brilliant Bob Wamnes, truly a lost artistic genius in the US prog sphere as I think Tom would agree. Just listen again to those big fat huge guitar chords on Light Speed and the way drummer Ed machetes his way through the jungle of power cables to the end to clear the way for the next track.
Truly a lost treasure of the late American guitar-based progressive style. That late, great, style.
Now, why not get losslesses on both albums? I think it's a good idea...
Notice that Bob Wamnes reused some of the tracks from the first album on the second. In fact in my opinion he recycled the best compositions for his subsequent masterpiece. The first side of this first LP suffers a little from being desultory and aimlessly loiters from boogie to hard rock to an attempt at buskering outside some traffic sounds ("Love City")... (you'll see what I mean...) and even a poppy song that sounds like an attempt at a commercial radio hit ("Everlasting End") also notice the sound was very poorly recorded, almost mono in some areas (as mentioned by popsike), as you can easily tell if you compare the two versions of the track "Night Ride" on either album through a pair of beautiful headphones which have the added advantage of blocking out your wife and children yelling at you from another room.
I wanted to post this little comment from Jeff, the lead guitarist for the band here and on No Class, which he sent to me (he's bottom right in the No Class picture):
" Hello and thank you for listening and enjoying our music :)
I just wanted to correct one thing-- I was the Lead Guitarist for Gold. Bob (the Wam) played rhythm and only added some leads with his Fender Strat on Light Speed and Milky Way. All of my work was done on a 1952 Les Paul and I used a slide on Milky Way. Thank you again for sharing this. we felt it was something special when we recorded it, live. ;) [referring to the second album of course]
...I do see Bob on occasion. In fact I am stopping by tomorrow ;)
Again, I want to thank you for getting our music out to where people might enjoy it! Keep up the good work my friend. Blessings to YOU!!
Jeff Powers "
And take a moment to have a look at those beautiful young faces of the musicians on the back of this record and their love of pure, beautiful, no-compromise, creative rock. (Note the handwritten dedication to "Ruth, the nicest lady I know -- Keep on Playing," from Bob.)
You Know My Secrets:
And that song of course goes out to isabelbc-- the princess of prognotfrog... wherever you are...
And let this gorgeous unknown music live forever!
Tuesday, 23 September 2014
Unlike their later collaboration called "Lezioni di Anatomia" which has been officially released to CD, this earlier LP is squarely in the minimalist style, like it or lack it. I notice from the back that it's music written for a show called Scorie which was played in Modena in 1985.
As usual in these embarassing situations I will post the shortest track, a Dalpane composition from A2 called "Arabian Dream" (though it's far from being the best here):
It's quite amusing to me how a scratch in the record causing repeated passages is not even noticeable in these minimalist opuses!
Please consider purchasing their official CD release, Lezioni, which is fantastic, and in my opinion, a bit better. Also notice that as an ensemble they have released music to itunes which I personally will avoid since I have my hands full with pre 1985 music...
Wednesday, 17 September 2014
Kim Kuusi feat. Maarit, Arja Tiesmaa & Kari Rydman: 1978 - Kim Kuusen Lauluja (Songwriter/Ballad) (FIN)
Note that there is an alternate record cover, as seen by the discogs entry:
Which cover is the more beautiful? It's difficult to say. Given the melancholy atmosphere that pervades, as so often in Scandinavian music I've mentioned before, the bottom is perhaps more fitting. But I love the out of focus photo of the top cover, with its highly evocative impression of childhood memories.
From my friend, and thanks to his immense generosity for sharing this with us:
"Kim Kuusi is a Finnish composer best known for his advertising jingles.
Kuusi studied at the Helsinki School of Economics, also teaching there in 1975. Studying alongside Kuusi had been involved in the creation of Ryhmäteatteri a composer and musician, he worked as 1969-73. At the same time, he also performed in Pihasoittajat, for whom he wrote, among other things, the Finnish Eurovision entry in 1975, Old man fiddle. Pihasoittajat (1969 to 1975) were a folk music band with modern popular music influences. In 1975 they represented Finland in the Eurovision song contest placing 7th in a field of 19. Members of the band for the contest were Arja Karlsson, Hannu Karlsson, Seppo Sillanpää, Harry Lindahl, Kim Kuusi and Hendrik Bergendahl.
Pihasoittajat reformed after a 20 years break in 1995. After several concerts the second revival for the band ended with Hannu Karlsson's death in December 2000.
Pihasoittajat's hit was this (in English) or here (in Finnish, much better arranged). "
For my part, I love this kind of music, recalling sometimes Carita Holmstrom and sometimes the great Petri Petterssen as posted earlier in this blog:
Incidentally, I reuploaded all the albums on the above links that were deleted due to inactivity, those netkups ended very quickly.
One of the best tracks is the following very heartbreaking item, A5's Unilaulu:
Notice that it starts relatively simplistically in A minor, with added 7th and minor 6th notes in the verse, but for the chorus we get this mind-blowing elegant complexity or sound of fullness by going into Bflat major7, then Eflat, Aflat, F7, which introduces us back to G minor 7 down to D minor and the E sus 7 takes you back to the A minor. Really brilliant progression, which particularly reminds me of Carita's songs. And what adds a lot of fullness or umami is that each of those major chords has a major 7th added. This track would otherwise have been relatively ordinary and easy on the ears. Note also how the depth of the trombone soloing in the middle of the song adds that note of melancholy pathos, much like the depth of a cello does so often. It recalls in particular that gorgeous song on the second Carita album with the beautiful poem, which is worth replaying here:
(From her second album here, not this post.)
Monday, 15 September 2014
These guys did three smooth fusion albums in that very light Japanese style, all of which are relatively average for the genre but I couldn't resist posting this when I saw the first two songs on the second side: Waikiki Surf West, and Kalakaua Shuffle (the name of the main boulevard in Waikiki). This was recorded at "Commercial Recording" of Hawai'i way back in 1981, presumably in Honolulu.
Track A3 called Suite 246 - Aoyama Road is a highway in Japan.
Here's the song about Waikiki Beach's fabulous surf:
Not quite as composed as Jukka Linkola's opus on Hawai'i, but still real nice to hear for those like me who miss those beautiful garden islands...
I'm a bit puzzled by the title since the surf in general is better towards the east, closer to Diamond Head Crater, the west side features the family-friendly lagoon of the Hilton Hawaiian Village, favoured by my wife for maternal reasons.
Wednesday, 10 September 2014
I'm back with the second album from this nice light but inventive fusion outfit from the early 80s. Most of the music was written by Thom Teresi, keyboardist, and Joe Gaeta the guitarist. Gotta love the 'Hall and Oates' style sleeveless shirts they are all wearing, combined with proto-mullets and 'staches. Oh those glory days of long-in-the-back hair! Is it just me who finds it amazing how truly revolutionary and iconoclastic it would be for someone to prance about in a mullet and 'stache today? Surely we can agree they will have a difficult time if they ever enter the local bank. It would be almost as bad as a young attractive woman with completely unshaved armpits and a tanktop, though, to be honest, that is witnessed slightly more commonly on the streets than the former style, at least, in certain buskers festivals perhaps, not necessarily in polite company. I read with a great deal of amusement recently that in the "China Times" fully 75 percent of young women in China who were surveyed were in favour of shaving their armpits. While the rest declared it a waste of time. I don't think there is any hope of diverting fashionable conduct for the female sex in the direction of universal (for all) complete and total removal of all body hair, perhaps within about 20 years. Will it then make a comeback after that, like that mullet might? I doubt it, because part of the reason for this odd insistence on depilation is the work involved, which is what it makes it culturally desirable. I think men's beards exist for the same reason (as hair on women's legs for example), because it became culturally important for men to shave to be part of the same group. A group that evolved without facial hair would be a problem, not a solution, in this sense. To insist instead on a lazy do-nothing nonchalance for female beauty simply doesn't accord with evolution: the very work women perform on their own beauty being what is being favoured here. As I've said before, every time I drive to work in the morning and I see a woman applying makeup in the rear view mirror whilst driving and endangering her life convinces me how important evolution has made this for our species. One can argue that this state of affairs is deplorable for them altogether, but I don't think anyone actually makes the case for this anymore, certainly not on the side of the men, who only care about whether their girlfriends, wives, or the objects of their desire, are taking care of their attractiveness to their eventual approbation. In any case the pressure on men is equally severe but entirely different in this race for acceptance by the opposite sex. If anything the stress on men is worse since as we all know, men spend half their time on things they think will somehow make them attractive to some woman or another. Where does progressive rock fit in this calculus? Well, nowhere obviously, prog is not only not attractive to females, it is distinctly repulsive to the vast majority of them as I've noted time and time again. On the other hand, I can still impress the odd young open-minded female by talking about my strange penchant for collecting ancient vinyl and playing LPs on a turntable, though, not having the enormous beard to make me a 'young cool guy', probably detracts, as is the fact I'm old enough that I collected vinyl as a kid, unlike those cool bearded guys who grew up with mp3 players...
Anyhow, a representative track, A1's "Amber Autumn:"
This band reminds me a lot of another US band, "The Fents"-- which see.
Saturday, 6 September 2014
From prognotfrog, May 2010:
Of these two, the first album Racines Croises (1982) is slightly less stellar and features more solo guitar songs. Quality and sound are very similar to Philip Catherine's best work. Even the augmented chords and patterns of open arpeggios remind a lot of the belgian. There are hard and fast quasi-atonal electric songs a la shylock, insanely chilling imaginative progressive tracks like "escalier" which has some smokin fuzzy sustained guitar effects, gorgeous acoustic self-duets (Mystere en diminue)-- no question two patrice meyers are better than one. I think for the apprentice guitarist this album could pretty much teach you everything about progressive guitar music. Listen, and weep! you pale imitators! The final track is reminiscent of the best vintage Alain Markusfeld, piano and guitar duet. But I can pretty much guarantee that, like the best prog out there, you have never heard melodies or chords like these, no 1-4-5 here, no circle of fifths.
The bona-fide masterpiece is Dromadaire Viennois (1986) which was private pressed-- I guess in the days of MTV even in France it was difficult to put out an album with incredible, conservatory-level composition with mixed zeuhl, jazz, rock, and classical elements. Far from a hodge-podge, it is as cohesive as for example Transit Express or Speed Limit from years earlier. Check out the musicians first of all: Hugh Hopper on bass, Pip Pyle on drums, Didier Malherbe, Henri Texier, Jean-Paul Céléa, etc. How can you go wrong? Well, sometimes even those guys went wrong in the eighties... I wish I had known then, when I was trying to shut out Poison and Twisted Sister, that there was something as beautiful as this out there in the world. But that's the great tragedy of life, appreciation comes long after opportunity. And the other tragedy is to be so completely out of tune with reality. Hey, how many of you fans tell everyone at work about your love for 60-70s prog? Oh, the sad shaking of the head... It's almost as bad as when I tell people I don't eat meat because of climate change. This album would really have to wait 20 years to get a truly adoring audience, like the poet Gerald Manley Hopkins. Although I'm jumping the gun here, since everyone might hate it. The cover seems to be the only condescension to eighties fashion, showing an odd banana-like cocktail, with the pink lettering and black background, you could've been tricked into thinking this was just another new wave album. Ah what a great trick that would've been!
Side A is called "the quartet". Amusante Clementine opens with some drumming intro and a repeated 4 note bass riff and moves into some really nice energetic jazzy rock instrumental. Dromadaire Viennios is very much Jacques Thollot, I think clearly Meyer too had a classical musical education. An operatic soprano sings an obbligato over almost baroque chords and flute. But be patient-- like Thollot's stuff, the song quickly slips into progressive chords and some badass electric jamming.
In Rasoir our genius combines a Holst Mars drumming and martial bass rhythm with an incredibly dramatic chord progression moving up in minor seconds and then back down again... the impression is of a huge army marching in the night, an army of robots maybe, or zombies with mullets armed with electric guitars that transform into assault rifles, and with armored shoulder pads, with which to blow away the "new kids on the block" fans... before stopping for some super big gulps at 7-11. Pay attention to the electric guitar solo, which is as far from a standard blues rock solo as you can get, pretty much atonal, give Arnie Schoenberg an axe and let him wail away! I would have loved to have been there in 1986 to play this for people. Although let's not forget even in those days there was a huge fan base of jazz and fusion who could have enjoyed this (less so now probably).
To close we have a side-long composition "Cinq Bucoliques":
a) Les Flocons D'Avoine
b) La Valse Lydienne
c) L'Ecole Buissonniere
d) La Retenue
e) La Recreation
A (very brief) acoustic and soprano intro leads to an acoustic guitar solo with some eerie cello sustained notes. As usual with french music a flute plays atop, feeling very left out but trying to push its way in with some very interesting melodies. We get a middle passage that is very Patrick Gauthier-post-zeuhl, french singing on top of a zeuhl pattern played, believe it or not, by strings! Presumably this is Lécole. Of course the track closes out on a faster note, oddly discordant is a 40s jazz doo-wop passage near the end.
So I present to you some more lost masterpieces, please keep these alive until a better day comes for us.
Wednesday, 3 September 2014
As we all know, fusion went into a very light direction towards the end of the seventies-- I guess 'Bitches Brew' was by then a distant memory for the musicians who crafted some quasi-atonal sounds to spice up the jazz-rock sound. And this is a perfect example of that sad tendency, or degeneration, alleviated slightly by some crafty songwriting from the team. In terms of the compositional credits you can check on the back scan that Phil McCusker the guitarist, Wade Matthews the bassist, and Tim himself wrote most of the music with some help from keyboardists Bruce Harrison and Louis Scherr.
Surprisingly the track entitled 'Acapulco Harvest' (by Wade Matthews) isn't some silly mariachi-styled 1-4-5 guantanamara-like bitterly emetic syrup, but a soft and laid-back almost tender ballad with some interesting modulation and changes:
From the blissfully soft sounds I am surprised this was not given a Hawai'ian name in fact, to me it recalls the sunrise behind Diamond Head in Waikiki-- something I recommend everyone witness, much more beautiful than the acclaimed sunset over the waters... Speaking of which, I was highly relieved to hear that 'Aloha' (by Phil McCusker and Bruce Harrison) wasn't commercialized and candied up with gratuitous silliness in the form of ukuleles, etc. So thankfully the musicians decided to at least maintain their respectability, although without the fusionastic crux of energy and insanity we are so addicted to, like my children are to nutella, or like the nutella co. is to destroying indonesian forests for palm oil for their product:
As for the subject of Hawai'i, I discussed it at length in an earlier post... in a couple of months our family will be back for our yearly wintering there, and we all can't wait to smell that beautiful tropical air of orchids and feel the warm balmy dark breeze at HNL the Honolulu airport... seeing the 'na pali' (high cliffs) diving into the ocean from a white sand beach...
We are now past Labour Day, another obscure and quite troubling holiday involving, as I understand it, gratitude to heaven or perhaps our positive spirit for being a proletariat worker dying to win the lottery and thus join the god-blessed 0.1% rich billionaires who are able to jetset about their cities to order twenty dollar croissants shipped directly from the Champs-Elysees-- puzzling and in fact quite disconcerting as this day appears to be, it is not so much so maybe as Boxing Day, Hallowe'en, Easter, Mothers Day, and Fathers Day. Yet we always get the faintest suggestion, as we humbly accept our day free of forced labour, that we are manufacturing consent (in Chomsky's words) in addition to manufacturing another order of burritos within 4 minutes, when we celebrate these, being told to accept our place as lowly hoi polloi suitable for employment in minimum wage jobs to ensure the continuing success of enormous abstract corporations that are free to plunder the earth like galactic sharks to make their bald, golfcart carried executives and stockholders fabulously wealthy, more wealthy than even Louis XIV could have even imagined, in order to provide us with more useless tools to waste away the interminable boredom of modern life... a very very puzzling state of affairs...