Monday, 22 January 2018
Let's go with a total change in direction today. I recall one commentator mentioning what a relief it is to hear a bit of gentle acoustic folk as a break from all the fusion here.
Relatively advanced songwriting in the folk dept. is featured on this 1973 one-off from US band.
B6's gentle Three-dollar Hat:
Saturday, 20 January 2018
Danish worldmusic/folk band formed 1977 as Peter Bastian, Anders Koppel and Mehmet Ozan collaborated on the soundtrack for the 1977 movie "Aftenlandet". They were later joined by Flemming Quist Møller. After the first album "Live" Ozan left the group that after several stand-in's were used remained a trio. The style is folkmusic from the Balkans, Africa and Brazil.
In May 2012 the band announced they would disband after the summer concerts.
So yes of course this is highly ethnically propulsed and whether or not you enjoy it depends on your liking or perhaps tolerance for ethnic incursions in music. I personally am left cold by the tablas plus sitars and other drony sounds that seem to stay in the same key or chord for way too long like a pungent incense stick reek that gets on your nerves in those third world stores full of woven handmade naturally sourced crap. And I think most of us who live in the Northern hemisphere are getting just a bit tired of those ethnic incursions if you know what I mean, at the risk of being politically incorrect, with the notable exception of the majority of our political leaders who make those condescending fatherly decisions for the rest of us.
On the track called Zyrak from the 1980 work it's our old prog friend the tritone of course that provides the plaintive sound of the starting chord (i.e. E on top of a B flat chord), which later cleverly resolves to a key of F major thanks to the peregrinations of a sexy sax blowing hard, getting more and more aroused-- oops, he just got fired from his job for that:
I suppose what I would most complain about in these albums is the simplicity of the ethnic fusion, such a far cry from the standout Matao for example, or from the intricate inventions of my old favourite artist and also favourite point of reference Georg Lawall.
From Nimbus, the 2nd track is passable, again recalling the Samla Mammas crew:
I threw in the 1987 Live album which is really just Koppel playing supermarket hammond sounds with rhythm section backing, in a very random and all over the place overdrawn set of classical-themed compositions, as if he were trying to entertain a delegation of Turkish nougat dealers wearing fez's too low over their ears. He could do much better than this. And more Koppel to come, soon...
Wednesday, 17 January 2018
There's a ton of music here to go through, or perhaps to slog through, and in no way could I describe myself as an expert on library records, there are many out there of course who know far more than me. All I can really do is present some of my favourite tracks from these albums and hope you haven't heard some of these before. Here's his probably incomplete discography. Many albums as usual are hidden under aliases, such as the requested Joachim Sherylee ones.
I suppose 1974's Challenger is the best known from him, but I didn't think it was the best, though the track called See Off shows his compositional abilities in the dreamiest of moods:
An earlier album called Rhythmes et Melodies, perhaps his first release (?) from 1973, I thought was simply average, disappointingly lacking anything too strong to cling to. It's not included below.
For funk fans though the years 1975 to 1978 were his golden age, with just a never ending series of dynamic and interesting beats topped by that beautiful fuzzy organ plus guitar sound. Not so much progressive composition, but 1977's Music Report just knocked me out, reminding me most of the famous April Orchestra album by Puccio Roelens: dynamic and well-written 70s funk instrumentals. What could go wrong? The gorgeous title track of Music Report:
Well, what went wrong is that electronic music in the late 70s beat up the funkosphere, so that following the 2 organ albums, Giordano jumped on the 'simple electronic' bandwagon of Jean-Michel Jarre where musical simplicity and atrocious repetition in the style of Etudes for Children was valued. I include here the later albums Electronic, Sequences, and Paysages 2. Here and there though the great composer could still shine brightly with a beautifully written complex track like Wind of Sun:
Unfortunately most of that album (Electronic) was written by Benoit Hutin, who is noticeably inferior.
I want to save some last words for my favourite Giordano album which is Paysages 1. This is cowritten with someone unknown to me called Paul Baile who went on to make the third in the series (anyone know if it's worth pursuing?)
It presents a completely different style of music, the A.R. Luciani / Milan Pilar school of melded pop - classical composition, but with the utmost delicacy and just exemplary composing acumen and imagination. Is it the combination of the two that worked so well? Distinct to the remainder of the Giordano oeuvre the instrumentation involves harp, flute and other chamber instruments. Thus Glistening Dream is representative:
How to explain?
So the search for the most beautiful music carries on.
I forgot this excellent one:
Monday, 15 January 2018
When I saw this one was missing from the Entrance discography I had to get it.
Compositions here are all by Palle. I will refer you back to this post for some of his lengthy story. There is obviously less fusion to dig into, more slapstick 80s digitalese, given the late year, but here and there flashes of the old brilliance:
The last track, which turned out to be quite gorgeous with its choir plus orchestra ambition (remember Thijs Van Leer's Pedal Point?\) is called A Simple Prayer and it's based on words by St. Francis. Rereading them today it all seems so outrageously quaint considering the mores of our more advanced times:
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace...
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon,
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope...
I believe that for the millenial twitterati today, if you replace everything the Saint said with its opposite ("opposite talk" as my kids call it with their friends) then everything works out perfectly:
Grant that I not console as much as be consoled [by professional disaster specialists]
to understand as to be understood [anti-vacciners especially]
to love as to be loved [like the Kardashians]
for it is in receiving that we give [right Jeff Bezos?]
and it is in being born that others die [in faraway wars]
to eternal life [those life extension pills should be here any day for those silicone valley venture capitalists who will be able afford them]
Yes, we have come a long way from those Christian prayers, haven't we? It's amazing what progress we make, as a society.
Saturday, 13 January 2018
Continuing on with the requests here for the time being, this record came a bit late in 1981 with respect to the golden age of fusion which produced for example Watercourse Way by Shadowfax (to which this music bears a resemblance if you remove the electric components).
This artist made other albums later in the CD era, note. Note the home page. It goes without saying that for us, this original from the 70s won't be equaled by the later work. Others, of which the artist will be one, might disagree, obviously.
It also recalls the Friesen albums of which we amassed so many in the past, particularly with the importation of Eastern music elements. In fact the scripture-like buddhist or hindu poem on the back states:
The wave subsides and the wave rises,
The flower withers and the flower blossoms.
There is no end to human wants
And human achievements.
Nothing is permanent and nothing is fleeting.
Then for whom shall we cry?
Whom shall we invoke
with a new thought and new form?
Everything eventually blossoms.
The first and title track is both representative and remarkable:
And note the side-long track on the second called Waves wherein the musicians plug in their instruments with a little bit of voltage, gratifyingly.
Many thanks to the one who requested this priceless beauty... A nice break from troubled times I would say. Sadly short LP, though.
Wednesday, 10 January 2018
Anders Koppel (born 17 July 1947 in Copenhagen) was a co-founder in 1967 of the rock group Savage Rose. From 1976 to 2012 he was a member of the trio Bazaar. He plays in the trio Koppel-Andersen-Koppel which includes his son, saxophone player Benjamin Koppel. Koppel has twice received the Danish film award Robert for best film score (1994 and 1996). His first daughter Sara Koppel is an animator and artist, and the second daughter Marie Carmen Koppel is a gospel, soul, and jazz singer.
Koppel has composed music for eight ballets for the New Danish Dance Theatre and music for more than 150 movies, 50 theatrical plays and three musicals. He has also composed more than 90 works for classical ensembles, chamber music and 20 concertos, among them two saxophone concertos and four marimba concertos.
He played the piano as a child with his father, composer Herman D. Koppel, and later clarinet with several television and concert appearances. He began playing the organ in 1966.
This early album from him features a very eclectic mix of folk, some classical composition, mixed with fusion, perhaps reminiscent of (Swedes) Kebnekajse. On the other hand, it's not very much like the lighter ethnic fusion which he later produced with the band Bazaar-- whose first few albums I highly recommend.
I've always loved the Samla Mammas-like sound of the track called Toget:
Sunday, 7 January 2018
Wednesday, 3 January 2018
German jazz guitarist (born 26/11/1952), resident in Dortmund. Apart from his own band Ceddo, he's also played with: Bescay, Cape Coast Syndicate, Human Steps, Kollektiv, Missus Beastly, and many others.
Of course he was especially brilliant in the first eponymous album of Ceddo with its crazy cosmic psychedelic weirdness, and I'm sure everyone here already has a copy. Though they went on to make a few more records, they were all of diminishing strength unfortunately and the later we travel ahead from 1979 the more disappointing they became for me. So already by 1982, the solo album Saguitarius [sic] tends to follow a very basic and light template, one which has been followed so many times by so many others before as we all know so well. As well the album is almost entirely acoustic, which will disappoint the fusion fan. Some tracks are recycled from the Ceddo catalogue, like Nano Nano. An Acoustic version of Plicker Plocker (why the childlike names?), which appears on Step by Step as the conclusion, gives you an idea:
In the later albums the diminishing rate of returns overwhelms me totally, though here and there we can hear some flashes of brilliance shine like fireworks, perhaps emanating from a very distant city. In another country. One that exists in the imagination, perhaps.
Monday, 1 January 2018
Many of you may never of heard of Terra Nova. For a brief period at the end of the the 70's and the start of the 80's this short lived group offered the promise of a 'new Earth Band'.
Following the release of Watch and the at the end of the band's last US tour, Manfred dissolved the band (later reforming with a new line-up for Angel Station). Chris Slade left the band at this time (1978) and together with Colin Pattenden who had left the Earth Band after 'Roaring Silence' and the subsequent tours formed their own band - Terra Nova. Joining Chris (drums) and Colin (bass guitar) were Pete Cox (vocals), Chris West (lead guitar) and finally Roy Shipston (keyboards). Roy was invited to join the band at a time when the other four members were already in place.
Colin and Chris were the financial driving force and of course the engine room. Chris West was the musical driving force with much of the material the band produced being written either by Chris (West) or Chris and Pete Cox.
There were suggestions at the time that the new band would also use the Earth Band name, something Manfred apparently wasn't bothered about. However Bronze records oppposed the suggestion and it was Chris Slade who came up with the name Terra Nova (New Earth!).
The band played a few warm-up gigs in England, then toured Germany, Holland and also the UK as support to The Scorpions. A studio album was also recorded, the eponymous Terra Nova. This was set up by Chris Slade and Colin Pattenden and was recorded at the Rock City studios in Shepperton. When playing live they included a number of Earth Band tracks in their live set.
However lack of commercial success soon led to the band starting to break up. Roy Shipston left for other projects and eventually the other band members moved onto other things. Whilst Terra Nova were short lived, the band members have crossed tracks with both current and ex-Earth Band members at various times in their careers. Roy Shipston played with Chris Thompson and the Islands (with Robbie McIntosh) in the 80's and has played with Geoff Dunn for 20 years in their band, First Light. First Light were first formed in the 1980's, recorded an album, toured North America. A couple of years ago they reformed and are in the process of recording a new album which is nearing completion. If you are in London, keep an eye open, they can be caught on the pub scene in London. Pete Cox on leaving Terra Nova moved on to join the hugely successful Go West.
If you can get hold of the album (although it's not easy), it's well worth a listen being a 'missing' part of the EarthBand's family tree.
Not so hard for us though. Here it is.
More information can be found on discogs.
The best track though the longest too, Ringtail, with its Robin Trower Bridge of Sighs feel, is the final one, and is quite representative of this purely classic rock - AOR record: