Sunday 5 January 2014

RēR Records Quarterly -- A Series, Part 10: The Quarterly Vol. 2 No. 3 [no magazine]

Some more information here.

First of all this is where the title of the series changed from Rē Records Quarterly to RēR Records Quarterly.  On this episode we start with some noise tracks that definitely are beyond the (admittedly low dimensional volume) sphere of my patience.  Not until we move on to track 3 do we approach what is generally accepted as music within the species we belong to with the entry from the Italian guitarist Luciano Margorani.  Notice in his discography the cool LP from 1989 called "Home Recording is Killing Studios" which was pretty prescient 24 years ago.  I wonder if anyone has heard it and can describe it for us.

The "Brave It" track from a band called "Tone Dogs" (who did 2 albums back then) is the first big standout track.  Now get this, for those of you who are familiar with the alternative rock scene from the early nineties: the drummer for Tone Dogs was none other than Matt Cameron-- yes that guy who went on to superstardom in Pearl Jam and Soundgarden! (As well as the combo-band Temple of the Dog.)  (In fact when I was into that style, twenty years ago, I saw him smashing the drums to pieces many times when those formidable bands performed here locally… what a time we had back then when I was young and fit for metal and moshing, long before I mellowed out and discovered progressive rock.)  So it seems Matt himself had an involvement with prog in those early days and his drumming really does shine on this one track.  The singer (Amy Denio) wrote this track, with somewhat silly lyrics: "blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth" it starts off with a baroque fugue, "for they know a stitch in time saves nine, old macdonald had a farm, eei-eei-o--"  (Huhh??)  She made a long string of albums and never of course abandoned the progressive or experimental streak that is apparent here.  Her voice is simply exquisite when singing in the upper registers, reminding me of the high purity and gem-like clarity of Barbara Gaskin or the beautiful canterburian Amanda Parsons.

Brave It by the Tone Dogs:

We continue on with another noise track that one must inevitably fast forward to get to an atonal piece by James Grigsby, who was guildsman in the Motor Totemist G, NIMBY, and U Totem.  Here his advanced modern European classical compositional skills (I should use the acronym MEC for this blog) are quite impressive.  Some will tear their hair out on hearing this, some, like me, will be delighted by the surreal sound and tone structures he has created.  He contributes another collaborative track in the tenth position of this album.

The Norwegian band When contributes a quite experimental rock song perversely called "Under the Xmas Tree".  This outfit made quite a few albums, at least one of which was posted long ago on the mutant sounds blog (for which blog all these ReR Quarterly albums seem tailor-made, though none were ever posted there so far as I know).  Kampec Dolores is a Hungarian band that also made many albums in this period (late 80s early 90s).  Their contribution is called Tango -- a 'fast forward on sight' songtitle for me.   La 1919 is a band everyone should not only know, but actively collect, they are a milanese band that has been active since 1980 and pretty uncompromisingly progressive throughout.  From discogs:
"Italian avantgarde/progrock/RIO/no wave/post punk duo from Milan, exists since 1980."

Second last track is from none other than Swede nutbar Lach'n Jonsson, whose two first very dark cemetarial albums, Music for a Dying Forest and Songs from Cities in Decay, are strongly recommended.  He was in bands Ur Kaos and Zut un Feu Rouge.  A fabulous track called "Flaubears Dancing" appears nowhere else in his output (I think), check it out:

Finally we get to my favourite piece here from Canadians Miriodor, another quite renowned prog band.  Their song here titled "Moyen Age" sounded familiar and sure enough, it appeared in the 1987 album "Tot ou Tard".  That one and the preceding 1986 album "Rencontres" are highly recommended for any progressive fan.  The albums diminished in my opinion in quality following the first two.

So let's summarize this series by saying that long after the heyday of prog rock with the kings ELP, Genesis and King Crimson in Britain in the early seventies, the spirit of experimentation in international rock music was still quite prevalent, with noteworthy albums from all the bands featured here (Miriodor, Tone Dogs, Lach'n Jonsson, La 1919) throughout the decade of the eighties and into the early nineties.  After this came the 'great revival' of the old style when younger musicians discovered the previous decades' efforts and attempted to recreate the style, thanks to bands like Anglagard.  Whether or not these newer bands were successful in their pursuit is a matter of intensely debated argument to this day.


  1. It's great to see you posting the ReR Quarterly series, which has been sadly overlooked by many prog fans. While some ReR music may be too experimental for some, it's a label that deserves recognition for daring to produce such music.


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  3. Thanks for the thoughtful writing and mentioning La 1919 which I hadn't thought of for some time! For some reason, they are always connected in my thinking with Doubling Riders. Do you know those albums?

  4. No I don't know Doubling Riders, is it similar stuff?

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