Monday, 10 December 2018

More from the KOM group (i.e. Kom-Teatteri) from 1973 to 1979

I spoke too soon when I said there was no more from the Kom Quartet.  Lucky for all of us.

Kom was / is a theatre in Helsinki, apparently still open to this day.  Amazingly, our beloved maniac Jukka Hauru performed on some of these records (specifically, the 74, 75 & 77) and for this reason alone they are supremely interesting.  Recall Eero Ojanen, the other part of the Kom Quartet on Jazz-Liisa-- he was involved as composer in residence (among others) during this period.  Here in this post we have the 1973 Torpedo, then 1974, 1975, 1977 (with Agit Prop) and 1979 albums from them.  (For reference, the Jazz-Liisa recording was made in 1975).

The first album I have for you from 1973 called Torpedo is a silly mix of chanted tangos and political folk in the usual simplistic tradition of these compositions here written mostly by one Kaj Chydenius, thank god this genre died an early death (except of course in Germany).  I can only imagine what infantile drivel they are singing about-- and I certainly can't fathom why tangos would be an appropriate vehicle for political commentary.  Too bad the cops didn't shut down the theatre at that time, for inciting revolution with excessive mediocrity.  However, you instantly notice the compositions by Eero Ojanen as they shine through with a very clear and gentle light, unfortunately there are only 2 of those.  Still, they are not even good enough to show internet archive as samples.

The 1974 album continues on with the Brechtian tangos and political chants but augmented with the curious and herein puzzling addition of Jukka Hauru, with Eero on the piano and augmented as well with a lot of spoken passages and 'comedy' bits-- lucky audience!  From discogs:

A (theatrical) tribute to the Chilean folk singer Victor Jara, murdered by the military forces at Chile Stadium, Santiago on September 16, 1973 during the violent aftermath of a coup d'etat. 
Song B4 is partially based on Victor Jara's song Plegaria a un labrador [Finnish: Maamiehen rukous]. All the songs are included in Matti Rossi's published collection of poems "Soi kivinen lanka."

So in this case, I should take back what I declared earlier, perhaps the words are worth listening to.  Luckily, I don't understand Finnish.  Musically though we can't help but be disappointed if we are here occupying ourselves 99% with a progressive music blog so again there is virtually nothing to sample out for you and the internet archive.  As an aside, I recommend reading about the subject of the dictatorship of Pinochet (helped into power by the Nixon administration) in those awful days in Chile as an instructive example of a classic authoritarian government, its tragic history including the suffering of its people, and its disastrous economic consequences-- for the citizens that is, not the people in power.  They always do very well financially.

Finally in 1975 Jukka Hauru comes to the fore in the mix and is given compositional rights, whilst his friend Eero Ojanen pulls out an electric, not acoustic piano.  Here just like with the Jazz-Liisa Kom Quartet, every track can be sampled for you so I'll just play track 1 wherein from the first delectable Jukka guitar lick you know you're in for something special:

It's more than a little shocking to me that such a well-known progressive fusioneer should have unknown music sitting out there, unknown until now, until this very day, for the vast majority of us fans.  This is slightly tempered by the fact that half the album, or three of the songs appear (though in significantly different forms) on the Jazz-Liisa.

Moving on to 1977's LP the Kom assembly joins forces with political puppets Agit Prop (who I have always hated) but they continue beautifully with the fusion sounds, it's not clear to me whether or not Jukka is on this one but it sure sounds like he is.  Maybe someone can tell us who has compositional credits.  It's phenomenal from start to finish, it cohesively unites as a whole work / electric symphony or chorale of fusion augmented with the vocals on every track and I expect to spend hours enjoying it to the total dismay of my wife and kids:

Well, my usual comments apply, why is this work not performed at the local symphony halls all over N. America or Europe instead of the same tired old canon of ancient European composers?  And every time I make the mistake of attending one of those concerts and look around I'm dismayed by the fact that in 20 years their audience will all be dead.  I'm reminded of that time I saw a 75 year old man at intermission open a bunch of those tiny half ounce 2% milk containers for pouring into coffee and drink them one after the other, so happy he got a free room temperature cup of milk, as bystanders laughed and stared, completely oblivious to the theatricality of his own senile idiocy. So to me that's a classic classical music fan.

Finally by 1979 Jukka is out, kicked out presumably for being too musically brilliant, and the simplicity of Chydenius and his dumb tangos is back in.  There are even cover versions of Brecht-Weill songs (from the tired old threepenny opera!!)--  they couldn't come up with enough compositions to fill up an album.  We have a complete reversion or rather relapse back into the unintelligent political rock style in its most childish form, as if fusion had never happened.  A metaphor for the whole of human existence surely, the rise and fall of all human activities, a curve that we are set to follow as a whole, as a species, in all inevitability.

But at least we have two brilliant masterpieces more to explore, thanks to this crazy guy:

Sunday, 9 December 2018

The Pop-Liisa / Jazz-Liisa series Part 2 [limited time only]

First of all I would really need to apologize for the record cover just above... surely one of the worst ever considering the contents, but a good representation of the sickening stupidity that descended on the cultural world in the 80s.

The Jazz-Liisa (discogs summary) side of things might be a little less enjoyable to me due to the overabundance of free jazz, which I don't mind in small doses, but can't stand when it inflates to occupy two thirds of an hour of my limited time. So for me polyawful Unisono Quartet, whose 1975 album I detested (1), ethnic 'migrant invasion' Piirpauke (15), ramblin' Aaltonen (17), never-ending Vesala (18)-- these are artists others love but I hate, and I'll give 'em some Trumpian nicknames for the hell of it.

Interestingly, Otto Donner (10) plays his songs from the famous and much-loved and requested Strings album I posted here two years ago, and Jukka Linkola (6) plays tracks from his first album I also put here, long ago, in fact 4 and a half years back.  Believe it or not, that Strings post is one of the most popular ever for this blog, with literally thousands of page views. It's a beautiful, beautiful work.

Now I'll discuss the rest, which are a mixed bag.
The 2 presents a band I never heard of, but they are surely interesting, they never appeared anywhere else (the name is annoying and has too many vowels).  Jukka Tolonen is back in round 3 with long, very rambling, and to me boring very-mild-maniac fusion tracks.

KOM quartet (4) is to me the big highlight of this series, along with 5's Jupu Group who with Jukka Hauru were the masters of Finnish progressive fusion.  In fact, the KOM quartet you will notice included Jukka Hauru.  (Whilst Jupu had Jukka Linkola.)  Evidently he had a golden touch, like German Wolfgang Dauner.  He shares compositional credits with a Finnish composer called Eero Ojanen (side b), which gives the whole a classical vibe, in fact, operatic vocals are featured on some of the tracks, making it sound a bit like for ex. the Gerardo Batiz album Arlequin. 
One of side a (J. Hauru)'s tracks:

No. 7 (Oton Kvartetti / Wasama-Tuominen Trio) is acoustic material that suffers from being over long, a common sickness in jazz, presumably infectious.  No. 8 features Wasama Quartet on the second side, a band that made some great folky fusion with ethnic components like so many other bands I've posted here (e.g. Membrillar from Arg., East River Consort from US), and a duo of pianist and cellist who play just a gorgeously graceful set of compositions:

It doesn't get any more emotional and beautiful than that. Sadly they never released a full LP.
For Wasama, their second album called Dirty Date with the awful cover above, surprisingly, has progressive fusion in the later German style so I thought it was well worth hearing (not seeing).

No. 9 is Mike Koskinen, which is passably good but a bit too much into big band territory (unlike his 1976 well-known album Sunwebs) same with 16, Pori Big Band.  Pentti Lahti Band and Ahvenlahti on 11 are way too extemporaneous.  I mean, the point is the remainder have one or two good songs but generally they are much weaker than the pop series.  When Aaltonen does show up, on 17, even he shows up only to disappoint me. 

The only other relatively good release is the 14, the Nordic Jazz Quintet (Tolonen on guitar!), whose 1975 LP with 3 long tracks is really quite good.  I should've posted that in this blog too, like so much else good, because it's worth hearing. Two of the tracks on this Jazz-Liisa which was recorded in the same year are new and also interesting, albeit suffering of course from too much wankery.

Thanks to all those friends who helped me amass these treasures!!

I Recommend:
Taivaantemppeli (2)
KOM (4)
Jupu Group (5)
Wasama (8)
Nordjazz (14).

Friday, 7 December 2018

The Pop-Liisa / Jazz-Liisa series Part 1 [lmited time only]

I find myself in a similar sort of situation to when the friends discovered the riches of Evergreen College or more recently in the anthropocene when the commenter 1st pointed out all those many Mini Jazz Klubs, with a plethora of unheard-of master musical gems.  Here we have 18 albums in each series (thus total 36, each 35-40 minutes long-- feel sorry for my wife, or rather, your wives out there--  that's a total of approx. 24 hours) with all the famous names of Finnish prog music (except Pepe Paradise, I notice)-- playing mostly unreleased songs in a live-in-studio format.  Oddly enough the producers or label don't have a general purpose explanatory page.

So we have many artists who already appeared in these pages before, such as Matti Jarvinen, Kalevala, Helasvuo, Jukka Tolonen, and all those who are so famous they don't need to make an appearance on this blog like Elonkorjuu, Tabula Rasa, Tasavallan P., and superstars Wigwam (still the best of 'em all), even boreal fusionmasters Finnforest turn up with my favourite track Odd Tale which was on their 1980 Jargon LP.  An incredibly beautiful composition.

So what I'm going to do is mention some artists we would never have known of were it not for this fabulous series, and review each numbered installment so you know what to look for and what to studiously avoid, because there are dozens of ordinary pop, rock, or free jazz trash tracks in there as well.  It can't be all veins of gold in this ol' mine.

First the straight-ass intro regarding this series, from bandcamp (you can buy almost all of these online):

Pop-Liisa & Jazz-Liisa Sessions, Helsinki, Finland 

The Pop-Liisa and Jazz-Liisa broadcast session series presents previously unreleased and forgotten gems from the biggest names of Finnish prog and jazz of the 1970’s.  Never bootlegged and known up until now only to a few faithful servants (and largely thought to have been lost for ever), these sessions offer a hitherto unrivalled look into the state of Finnish jazz and progressive rock between the years 1972-1977. Imagine if the sessions recorded by John Peel had only recently been discovered, and you get an idea of the cultural weight of what is being brought into the light of day here.  Originally recorded as broadcasts by YLE (the national radio service Yleisradio, (”the Finnish BBC”), the thirty-four Liisankatu sessions are a genuine who’s who of Finnish prog and jazz. Interestingly, anyone with even basic knowledge of the era’s biggest bands will recognize familiar names at play within these obscure bands.  As such, these sessions provide the missing link between jazz and prog, explaining through spirited performances – and largely unknown collaborations – the instrumental prowess and dexterity of these players and bands. What’s best, these sessions show these exceptional bands playing for the moment in front of a hundred strong studio audience, not weighed down by the tedium of studio recording, and thus somehow miraculously managing to capture the best of both worlds: studio performances in front of a live audience. 

Now let's check out the Pop-Liisa (discogs summary link).  The first begins badly enough with two long psychy dronemaster tracks from the unpresidential Tasavallan, which I detest, though I understand others adore.  Especially when they are compelled, for some unknown reason, to stay in the same key, which is usually E because it's easiest on the guitar, for the entire 25 minute long track.

But instantly we pick things up off the floor with Jukka Hauru in no.2, one of the true masters of Finnish prog, everyone should know his two LPs.  If you don't you shouldn't be reading this, you need to go to an 'intro to prog' blog instead.  Now I haven't listened to those two recently but so far as I can tell, Mai-Ling is nonoriginal and a bit silly but the other 3 tracks are previously unheard.  Or if I did hear them, I don't remember them at all.  So Pop-Liisa 2 is strongly recommended.  (Note his backing band "Superkings" includes pianist Ahvenlahti, who I will get to later.)

On the other hand I can't say the same for no. 3 which presents Wigwam playing some of their most well-known tracks, nothing original here.  If you're looking for excellent old non-LP Wigwam, I suggest the unreleased "Fresh Garbage" collection which is amazing.  Personally I've listened to enough Wigwam that I don't want to hear the album songs anymore.  Pop-Liisa 4 presents a band with Sami Hurmerinta, who made a stunning ST 1978 advanced fusion album I strongly recommend.  I thought I posted it here but I didn't, perhaps I should.  Along with Matti Jarvinen. In this installment he plays in a band called Taivaanvuohi which never released an album, sadly, as their compositions are very strong, a mix of Wigwam and Kalevala I'd say, less progressive than the former in their heyday of course.

Jukka Hauru then reappears on number 5, with a side-long track called Gunther Angst, sorry for the title but this is a miracle of happiness for us.  To tell me that you will give me a Hauru composition I never heard before, in his typical insane-asylum progressive high-dynamic style we know so well, is heaven, Xmas time come early.  Thank you, God.  This album though is rounded out with two ho-hum fusion tracks from Nono Soderberg, who I thought I posted before but again I guess I didn't.  (Can't believe how much I failed to post in all these years.) He made two pretty good instr fusion albums, the best the first one of course, but here it's all very disappointing.

We're only at Pop-Liisa 6, so I will save the Jazz ones for next post.  No. 6 features fusionmasters Finnforest with the aforementioned Odd Tale track and an unreleased. So, unreleased Finnforest? OK kids its Christmastime for sure now.  Please get me some eggnog stat.  Don't bother pouring it from that carton.  And shut off the idiotic carols right now.  Unfortunately the creators paired this up with Elonkorjuu which is a bit disappointing to me: I mean in their best moods they were as proggy as anyone, but that wasn't meant to be on this outing.

Now we get into a string of huge ones, followed by a string of very disappointing editions.  Kalevala (7) is one of the strongest here, overall, because every track so far as I know is unreleased.  Recall they made a 1972 prog-rock masterpiece called No Names, followed by a more straight-rock Boogie album, and then they posted their 1978 Abraham album on this very blog long long ago, wherein they returned to a hard-prog style.  Amazingly, as I said, the 1973 pop-liisa has songs that are not just non-LP, but incredibly good.  So strange they didn't include them on an album at the time.  Had they given up on prog, is that the reason??

Check out the intro of the first song:

(Finnish, not German) Nimbus is a band some might know, they made a fantastic dark prog-rock album called Obus in 1974, and this Pop-Liisa has some unreleased & some well-known tracks (e.g. pessimistic dialogue) from them.  Strong recommendation.  Jukka Tolonen, well-known guitarist, is next, I mentioned him here and there in these pages but his albums are easy to acquire.  Unfortunately I think his tracks are all previously heard compositions.

Pop-Liisa 10, with the Hurmerinta-Sorvali big band, is disappointing, as you'd expect, and the series hits its nadir with a straight rock band full of cover versions called Alwari Tuohitorvi (11) which in my opinion deserves to be utterly forgotten, put it back into those vaults guys, and the singer Kirka and the Islanders backing group, equally dreadful (12).  Avoid those, as well as the Hassi Walli (16), Petri Pettersson (17) and Donna + Tabula Rasa (18).

This leaves a few more.  On no. 13 we have Matti Jarvinen (he made a great proggy pop album called Matin Levy which I didn't post here) and Cascade.  The latter is a straight soul pop group I have never heard before, who made one album with cover songs in this period.  They perform a wonderful version of Stevie's Perfect Angel song which he wrote (if you recall) for "Lovin' You" Minnie Riperton's 1974 LP.  I'll post their LP down below as I enjoyed it, despite the cover version of Beatles' Because which should be criminally outlawed (to copy I mean).

14 is Mike Westhues which I enjoyed--slightly.  It's a rare bit of folk for this series.  15 is a band called Orfeus, which I was completely unaware of heretofore and probably will be in the future too.  Unclear to me whether their released LPs are worth pursuing, probably not.  (They did make some of those.)

A bit much for one post, so I'll do the Jazz next time.

In summary, I recommend:
Jukka Hauru (2, 5)
Taivaenvuhi (4)
Finnforest (6) only for the unreleased track
Kalevala (7)
Nimbus (8)
Cascade (13)

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Trilogy Arctic Life from the UK from cassette

A stunning (later) Rush-like British threesome who I was reminded of after digging up Germanic Trilogy.  Sadly this this short cassette is all they put out.  All hail the hardness of rock and the duration of its matter...

Monday, 3 December 2018

Here It Is: Trilogy's Nachtlichter from 1984

The original LP cover of Here It Is (bottom) was just brilliant, wasn't it?  Wish we could still see covers like that in the music industry.

I know that "Here It Is" is a masterpiece of prog (amazing how it's still given only a 3.38 review on stupid rym-- if you don't get prog, please don't rate it), but in my opinion their follow up, unlike Epidermis with Muster Burger, is quite listenable and enjoyable, pace Tom's opinion:

A mixture of early 80s styled fuzak and song-based rock sung in German.  Some of the instrumentals are inspired, especially the guitar work. The pop tracks recall same period Novalis, including some sophisticated arrangements. The instrumentation has a warm and early 80s digital sound. A long way from their excellent "Here It Is" album, but it's not terrible.

Consider for example the wonderful prog instrumental Gestern Abend:

For the aforementioned Novalis-like atmosphere, the song called Rouge:

Hopefully you'll agree it's well worth listening to a few times, and some tracks I've really learned to love, with time.  Can you really blame those poor artists for pandering to a more radio-friendly market?

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Ralf R. Hubner - Courage for the past, 1983, as requested

Note the presence of Jasper Van't Hof, with full credits here.  Unfortunately Jasper plays a very background role behind music that is conventional 'contemporary jazz' in the typical German style.  In fact it sounds very much like the previous "Some Kind of Changes" record.

 Track B1's odd name of Woogtal belies its smooth sound:

On the last track when Jasper gets his shiny chance in the limelight on acoustic piano, he can't seem to muster the same crazed energy as back in Pork Pie days:

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Ack Van Rooyen in 1982: Homeward and Some kind of Changes (with Mariano)

The wonderfully named Ack van Rooyen is a Dutch trumpet player and studio musician born 1930.
Today we focus on his twin 1982 albums, very little known, which in all honesty I found brilliant.  Notice on Homeward he is complemented by a wonderful group of virtuosos including guitarist Eef Albers who was featured before here to satisfactory completion, I think.  Some of his albums were magnificent.

The tracks are all written by different members (Eef contributed a couple of wonderful songs) with my favourite being the odd impression of Pisces, which is by Jerry Van Rooyen (the brother):

And what a progressive fish that is indeed.

Turning our attention to the other release called Some Kind of Changes your jaw will drop when you note that this album, so far undigitized by us and our minions, includes Charlie Mariano, Sigi Schwab, and Eberhard Weber, plus on drums, Branislav Kovacek.

Charlie Mariano, in particular, has been so consistently brilliant throughout the period, with Helen 12 Trees to Sleep my Love, I love him to death.  In this album, with compositions mostly by Mladen (Bobby) Gutesha (not appearing on the LP however) we have more of a conventional style of 'contemporary' acoustic jazz, in fact, the blurb on the back makes things quite unclear here:

Modern jazz without electronics-- that was the basic and most important idea in planning this production.  Five excellent musicians came together just to make music.
It is up to the listener to classify the category or style of this music.

Category, my ass-- it's easy enough to classify it as contemporary jazz on discogs.  But the nice dynamic dissonance of flattened fourths comes together well in this track, appropriately named after its intervals:

Otherwise, the music ranges all over the place from simplistic 'balearic' trash on the last song, to latin rhythms and accordingly super-predictable chord changes, to ECM style smoothness.

Surely the highlight of this post is the Homeward masterwork.

Monday, 26 November 2018

Jazz Choral from 1988

I'm going to finish this bout of slavic indulgence with a surprisingly good vocal jazz album for which it's difficult for me to find more information due to the usual trouble with the alphabet.  Why the Russians can't partake of the normal alphabet the rest of us use I can't understand.  But then of course so many things about that place are strange, like the hats.  On the other hand, as commenters have pointed out, this particular group hails from the city of Tbilisi, Georgia, famous, of course, for The Beatles and Back in the USSR.  (Though the name of the country itself derives from billionaire George Soros.)

As you can tell from my sample track, the choral is shockingly large, and presumably comprised the majority of the population of a former colony of the former Soviet Union, now liberated from the predatory communist regime and free to be run by a native-born predatory autocrat:

They did a good job copying American jazz, you must admit, at which they were maybe more successful than launching dogs and monkeys into space and sending secret cruise-missile-equipped nuclear subs to patrol the ocean floors in the hopes of initiating armageddon.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Back to Dustar with their 1983 fusionary outpouring Carousel [with a lossless]

On the strength of the previous posting in these pages, Black River, I bought this one with not a little trepidation since the experience of purchasing from anywhere in the former (and future) Soviet Union can be somewhat chilling, comrades-- actually I swore I would never buy a record from the country of Russia itself, but I had to relent, finding that Russian records are one of the very few things you can only find in Russia...  And let me add that I also will never buy a record from Mexico after getting badly ripped off with those Batiz LPs I posted earlier, to the point of having to use a paypal complaint that dragged on for months to get my money refunded.  I mean I have nothing against Mexicans, but I will never buy a record from one.  And I won't buy anything from Italy either, partly because everything is quadruple the 'normal price'-- their library records are treated like lost Renaissance paintings from Botticelli-- I guess people are getting sick of the quattrocento and they've moved on to the 1970s. Just like they charge twenty euros to walk into tiny churches which elsewhere in the world are perfectly free to walk into.  I guess the fact they elected a stand-up comic to head a political party says it all about how seriously they treat comedy.  (Of course that's nothing compared to the United States.)  And while I'm at it, I swore I would never return to France after experiencing the rudeness that every visitor is well aware of (as I've described in many previous posts) particularly the time we went to a toy store near the palais elysee and my young kids got screamed at for looking at some toys.  They're famous for their food?  Today, only if you happen to be a dog, whose bathroom privileges extend to every street-- the worst croissants and macarons I've ever had were in Paris.  There the cappucinos were so awful and expensive we were reduced to going to Starbucks for decent coffee, shamefully (which at least never happened in Italy).  In Spain, world-famous for its paella, I had not only the worst paella I've ever tasted, but I never had a good one.  National dish, you say?  Why don't you offer it (along with that over-rated manchego cheese and terrible dessicated iberian ham) to the space station astronauts in lieu of freeze-dried foods as a great scientific experiment, & see what they prefer.  Maybe they'll go for the Parisian croissants and coffee then, and then jump out the airlock for a spacewalk. Thank god for the US of A, where I had the best paella of my life, in Las Vegas (!), and where you are always guaranteed service with a smile and a handgun...

Anyways, after the rant the music, as George Santayana once said.  A pastiche of quotes from the stupid orchestral Star Wars theme song by Williams to the Layla riff plus others I can recognize but can't call up names for along with the customary slavic folk songs opens this set somewhat inauspiciously and the title of the first track presumably might translate as 'messed up'.  But don't worry, it gets better (otherwise I wouldn't have bothered to purchase this), very quickly, and by track A3 the introduction is just so lovely it's impossible for me to focus on anything else in my vicinity once I hear the synths pick up that nice fat melody atop very delicately layered electric guitar chords and a nice syncopated rhythm:

And I'll let you discover the other Soviet riches in here so far completely unknown to mankind-- sorry, humankind, but really mostly the male gender, on this LP... to paraphrase the great Putin's "Russia has the best prostitutes in the world:" they certainly have some of the best music in the world...

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Dustar Jazz Band's Black River

From discogs:

Real name: 
Дуҫтар» джаз-ансамбле / Джаз-ансамбль «Дустар» / The «Dustar» Jazz Band
Dustar was a Soviet jazz/prog-fusion band, founded in 1978 by saxophonist Marat Yuldybaev in Ufa, Bashkir ASSR. They toured around the Soviet Union, participating in youth festivals in Yaroslavl, Leningrad, Erevan, Moscow, Ufa, Tbilisi and other cities. Initially, Dustar was mostly acting as a backing instrumental ensemble for various Bashkir composers and folk singers. In later years, they also gave concerts in the USA.   In 1982, the band recorded Carousel – a collection of groovy pop-dance tracks. But musicians were always primarily interested in jazz, so in 1988, they released a much more mature second album Black River, featuring Miles Davis' E.S.P. (entitled Energy of Thought) and Yuldybaev's original jazz compositions. 

More fabulous Soviet fusionary compositions, this album is from the surprisingly late year of 1988, but as we know the Eastern sectors of Europe/Asia lagged far behind the West, though today of course as we well know they are far ahead of us in the realm of political authoritarianism.

The title track, with its lovely groove:

The third track, the Dance of the Bees might be familiar to you because it was included in the Soviet Rare Grooves compilation, and it's truly a wonderful composition with the exciting interchange from minor to major in the middle under soprano sax, Muffins-style, wailing above:

It's so common for Russian music to have that folk song influence, we saw that throughout our posts, as in the Anor (which apparently coincidentally was shared twice digitally i.e. in two separate rips although I thought I was the first) and Sunkar.  Of course, Russian composers going back to before Tchaikovsky used folk music for inspiration.

Monday, 19 November 2018

Jazz-Quintet of the Soloists, Barometer 1983

A gorgeous light fusion post-bop Charlie-Mingoidal album out of Russia, 1983, consider the beautifully breathy and sweet-flavoured second track called Three Horizons:

As fabulous as anything made in the great fusionary America of the seventies-- in fact, reminds me of the glory days of Freddie Hubbard, in the early 70s, before fusion became fuzak... (if only we could make fusion great again! get those hats out!)  Too bad it was so much easier for the East to copy musical memes than to copy Western democracy.  Of course today it's the reverse, the West is copying Putin's Russia, in a great example of how 'what comes around goes around.'  Progress is wonderful isn't it.

I've always loved the poetry in the fourth track's title of  "The Nonexistent Rain."  A lovely composition too.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Quadro Group - Night Dreams, 1988

A brief description only on discogs for the artist and this album which sounds deceptively like an early 80s record rather than late 80s-- perhaps a time machine spy.  Of course, the former CCCP did take some time to catch up to the West when it came to popular music as we well know, whereas in the realm of novichoks (nerve agent poisons) and Olympic athletic doping and chemical enhancements they were far, far ahead, so much so that we in the West really, to this day, could never even come close to their effortless advances in supreme technological mastery. And hacking into elections.

It was really a surprise to me when my friend brought out this rip, since I thought I was as familiar by now with Russian fusion albums as anyone in the Trump transition team could ever be.

Track A2, called Песня Без Слов (song without words) shows some nice composition skills with the minor chord progression:

Note that track B1 is a solo piano cover version of a wonderful Arsenal composition called
Preludia, from the Unreleased discs I think, or maybe it appeared as a bonus track on one of the CD Arsenals.  There were so many bonus songs released of course from those guys that they pretty much swamp out the legit released material, much like the situation they created with fake news.

A CD with the same name (as of today, not in the database) was released later in 1998 but included, oddly enough, only the first side of this vinyl and omitted the second.  Weird.  But, coming from a country that managed to cover up many nuclear disasters successfully, not even noteworthy.

I'm going to post a few more Soviet fusion LPs many out there might not yet be familiar with in the next few days and pray the muscovite trolls don't hunt me down for all the things I've said.  Lucky for me the Russians do have a wonderful sense of humour, as I'm reminded of every time I see one of their expatriate women.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Lithuanian composer Mindaugas Urbaitis: Mindaugo Urbaičio Dainos EP (1978) and Dainuojantis Ir Šokantis Mergaitės Vieversėlis (1981)

This composer's career started with a gorgeous EP of 4 short and simple songs with the utmost beauty and perfect delicacy, backed by acoustic guitar and a chamber string section.  Vocals are by Gintare Jautakaite (who also performs on the other album).  An early single of hers can be heard here.  Track B1 of the EP:

The 1981 album with libretto by Sigitas Geda is either a musical or a rock opera.  I bought the record when I heard a certain song on it and was blown away by its great beauty.  The song in question is much aided by the angelic & heavenly sound of Gintare's voice:

It amazes me how the composer travels through so many minor chords, like shifting waves, without the necessity of sticking to a clear key to keep us grounded.
On the other hand, the male vocalist's voice, often overly emotional in a theatrical manner, is really take it or leave it.

The photos below give you an idea of how Gintare was blessed with so much more than just a beautiful voice.

A photo of the composer: