Monday, 14 September 2015

The Amazing MO's First Album from 1976 -- highly recommended!




This astonishing album is the creation of  a relatively unknown genius named Moe Whittemore, who also founded the studio 700 West in New Palestine Indiana.  Notice they released the 1976 Sailor album I featured recently this summer, plus other famous unknown progressive gems.  That Maelstrom Paradigm album from them, for those who have heard it (I don't actually recommend it) is absolute atonal progressive noncommerciality, showing the artistic dedication of this particular studio head.

But back to his first album.  As a whole this record features creativity at such a high level of unique progressiveness that I wouldn't hesitate to say it's the best music I've heard in the last year in this department,  exceeding Tom's Metaphysical Animation discovery in advanced compositional skills --  at least with regards to side a, beta being quite a bit more uneven.  (Note the title of the former: sic sum, or thus I am.  Whereas the second is sic simulare sum -- thus I pretend to be?)

Moreover, the whole thing was made available for mp3 download by the artist on this page.  In 2014 it was released as a vinyl reissue of about 200 copies as you can see on discogs.   The original album from 39 years ago, probably present in this world only in a few remnant copies, would probably fetch quite a high price...  Here's the excellent review from discogs, edited:

"Moe Whittemore's first and only album on his own 700 West label is one of Indiana's oddest left-field rarity. Ostensibly a selection of publishers demos, the album was rumored to have been printed in a very small run of only 300 copies. The style runs the gamut from beat-heavy progressive rock on "Nowhere To Go" and "Slammer" to futuristic space noodlings on "K2- 3rd Movement" [Actually a chamber music composition clearly, but played on synths].  The final track on side A -- Muscle Pumpkin is a thinly veiled ode to Captain Beefheart sounding like a Trout Mask Replica attack complete with choral background singers and Ornette Coleman oboe (courtesy Mo) [that oboe actually appears on Congratulations, not that song].  The flip is dominated by more "normal" songs, including drum-heavy "Make a Little Wine" which saw some local airplay as a 45 rpm release back in 1976.  Two country songs follow.  Anthony Black of Lamp Records fame (Tony Black and the Revolution) provides vocals on the sweet soul masterpiece of Indianapolis -- "Check Me Out." All in all, the album is something between a demo to promote his recording studio and a library record of styles. Absolutely recommended to beat heads, library collectors and psych fans."

Oh yes, it's absolutely recommended, all right!  As he intimated there are a couple of throwaway tracks (to me) including the song about making wine (a side occupation of Mo's apparently, probably within the studio).   For me the song "Congratulations" just takes it over the top with Zappaesque humour and satirical lyrics, far exceeding the tongue in cheek of Brustna's similarly themed song (Stupid Record Company) about commercial success (or Pink Floyd's Welcome to the Machine from 1978's Wish you Were Here).  Pay attention to the spoken voice saying near the end:  "That's probably one of the best songs out there right now!" and the silly deejay voices: "REO Speedwagon!!"  But all the lyrics are well worth discerning here.

http://www.700west.com/audio/Mo_FirstAlbum/mo_4_congratulations.mp3

That high pitched instrument that sounds like a bagpipe, I take it, is the oboe mentioned by the reviewer.

Or try to follow the sheer bizarreness of the melody of track 10, "A little While:"

http://www.700west.com/audio/Mo_FirstAlbum/mo_10_a_little_while.mp3

Now that's the kind of song I wish I could hear on the radio or at work!!  When you consider that this is ostensibly a sentimental love song, imagine how appealing it would have been for the poor receiving female to hear, especially when it transforms half way through into an uptempo jazz improvisation.  Utterly demented.

This is what I love, these wacky, out there, utterly creative artists, like Karlos Steinblast or Sandoz, who are saying f--- you to the art establishment that attempts at all times to dictate, control or throttle into conventional shapes what is art and what is not-- when it is the human heart that is the sole and absolute arbiter on that subject...


In the near future I'm going to post another very rare, very expensive item, that absolutely blew me away when I heard it, both because it's unknown even among collectors, and because of the utter beauty of the complex compositions...
stay tuned for that one...


no the search will never end...



4 comments:

  1. Moe generously made the whole album available here:
    http://www.700west.com/htdb/releases/Mo-First_Album.html

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  2. here's the whole thing wrapped up in one file to make it easier:
    https://www.sendspace.com/pro/dl/o8705u

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  3. Wow what a mind-fucker! And on 700 West dam!! And by that coveted label's founder!?! This is a monster even with the country songs, holy goodness, if tracks 6 thru 9 were (they're by no means bad, but they kind of bring you back to 3-D reality after being jettisoned out past time and space...) replaced with more of the cosmic goodness of the first five epic tracks...ha ha ha...
    Thank you so much for hippin me to this meta-beast, it quickly goes to the top of the class in my musical armada!
    Wishing you and yours well my friend,
    and very tuned in about that very rare, very $$$ item you mentioned!
    Beautiful work bro :)

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  4. well said, & can you believe it?

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