Friday 31 October 2014

Happy Hallowe'en (Again) ...

I have to apologize for again interrupting the blog due to the ceaselessly recurring problem of catering to another seemingly useless and unnecessary manufactured holiday, much like (not really in chronological order anymore) Fathers Day, Mothers Day, Boxing Day, Labour DayHallowe'en, Easter, oops, it looks like I might have already discussed the anthropological scatology of today, but perhaps, a year having gone by, no one remembers what was said, that's assuming of course the post was read at such time as was present versus past, which is doubtful in the extreme; at any rate, I shall continue as is my prerogative to do, though said prerogative does not flow into a right for complaint if readership predictably drops utterly abruptly: today in North America we are told to take our children for a healthy walk around the neighbourhood, post-twilight, where random strangers, for once not likely to be sexual molesters, will proceed to stuff candy and chocolate, hopefully some BBQ chips too, into a bag with which our human larvae will be equipped for the express purpose of gorging themselves thereafter with upwards of 9,000-20,000 calories (this total being dependent on the alacrity and stamina of said child for area coverage) of various combinations of sugar, fat, and salt, purposefully providing themselves with the means of hastening the inevitable onset of type II diabetes mellitus and hypertension, which are such scourges of the Western world, as opposed to starvation, vitamin deficiencies, diarrhea, and Ebola haemorrhagic fever, which are confined at present mostly to the developing countries of Africa, and meantime forcing upon them such oddities as outmoded pagan fears like sorcery and witches, goblins and ghosts, as if encouraging in the immature gullible those very superstitions with which we ourselves are so disgusted or perhaps transferring that nausea which should be associated with gastric overconsumption to artificial figures, scarecrows: completely invented apparati of nonexistence, fairy tales; then, focusing for a moment on the skills with which these haplessly naive kids (mine of course included) arrange to provide themselves with enough plain calories (I dare not say nutrition), to feed a Somalian child for a year in one two-hour period, at the convenience of people with whom I don't share even a hello in daily life, I become filled with stupefied wonder at the idea that our capitalist society has achieved such a condition of useless self-created and procrastinated tedium punctuated with over-satiation of artificial needs, combined with self-caused diseases such as lung cancer appearing in smokers, or arthritis in women with breast implants who proceed to sue the manufacturers of said flotation devices so they can get newer implants, as well as the flipping to virtue of the original sins which today are entirely encouraged for example lust with Britney Spears-like performers encouraging the oversexualization of prepubertal girls (who dress up as hookers today), gluttony in the aforementioned case, pride in the case of daytime TV hosts encouraging us to look only after ourselves, anger for all those seeking lawsuits for damages as a result of accidents they are themselves the cause of, etc., I have to reflect on how humanity hardly deserves the second chance which we are being encouraged to seek as an escape from the cumulative problems of resource depletion, climate change, habitat destruction, miscellaneous novel viruses such as MERS, and one is tempted, almost forced, to believe that a problem like the Ebola virus is simply the wrath of god applied to us collectively as a plague to finally diminish us in our stupidly arrogant minds and on the earth we have invaded like the metastatic ass cancer that is currently endangering the life of famed Toronto, Canada mayor Rob Ford, recently re-elected as councillor for a year by an idiotic populace despite a 50-50 chance of surviving a year.  And perhaps it might turn out that God himself has a sense of humour if we are all struck down with metastatic buttock cancer too, instead of Ebola, like the tasmanian devils (that big favourite of our childhood disney cartoons), who are being decimated and may well go extinct as a result of facial tumours caused by over-fighting....

Anybody want to split a twix bar with me?  My kid hates those.

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Ole. G. Nilssen's World of Dreams from 1976 Norway

Of course a lot has been written already about this record, but it really bothers me I don't have a back scan to share.  Instead I am just reiterating the old mp3 rip from years ago that someone long ago did as a favour for all of us.  Yet that record is not so expensive, so perhaps one day I will buy it when there is more of a surplus in the joint shopping account that, as I said before, is predicated on the mathematical equation of 2 shoes for wife = 10 records for me (depending on sale seasons in which case a qualifying multiplier for the first term would be about 1.3).

Anyways, I personally adore this record, and even after hearing it so many times could still listen more.  It has a very dark and melancholy undercurrent and the image of the children, presumably his own, over a mushroom cloud that looks like an H bomb to me, pretty much brings to us the themes.

Some short quotes:

Future Solaris member Nilssen put out this one incredibly obscure album before he himself disappeared into the ether. I've had this one on a curiosity list for well over 10 years, and finally in 2009 I had a chance to hear it, due to a good friend of this site. So was it worth the effort? Rarely is the answer yes in these cases, and "World of Dreams" is no exception, but this is a mighty fine album for certain. Light years better than the subpar Solaris "Misty Morning" album. At its core, "World of Dreams" is a soft rock vocal album. But there are long sections dedicated to instrumentals, and its these sections that are clearly progressive rock influenced, with 1970s era instrumentation. Like a lot of soft rock, the songwriting is better than average, and Nilssen possesses a fine voice, and so the combination is highly appealing, even if not consistent. One I'm glad I finally heard.

From cd reissue wishlist.

From apps on rateyourmusic:

''World of dreams'' is a great work, somewhere between Melodic Rock and CAMEL-esque Progressive Rock with obvious elements of the Singer/Songwriter style in the shorter pieces. But the long tracks contain some excellent vocal harmonies by Nilssen, whose voice is just pure poetry, very sensitive and ethereal, while the instrumental parts remind of a slower CAMEL circa-''Snow goose'' with some slight jazzy influences and plenty of melancholic soundscapes, and the combination of melodic vocals with smooth electric guitars has a CARAVAN-like mood, although this is not close to the Canterbury scene. Nilssen combined an expressive lyricism and accesible vocal parts with multi-influenced instrumental sections, fronted by his KERRS PINK-like guitar work and the discreet presence of other instruments like the keyboards or the jazzy sax and horn parts. The shorter tracks are just narrow versions of the already presented style with sentimental guitar soloing, doubled by acoustic passages in a slightly MIKE OLDFIELD-like atmosphere, with strong jazzy inspirations and some orchestral passages. The music is still very melodic and dreamy with superb structures and background CAMEL nuances, albeit more accesible in nature.

After his stint with Solaris his traces have been lost, although it appears he remained tightly linked to the local music scene of his hometown Harstad. In 2001 he released another album, ''Memories of a lifetime'', which was only locally distributed, and he still performed live next to Esdor Jensen, who also played acoustic guitar on this album.

Beautiful, lyrical Art Rock with progressive touches in the vein of CAMEL and KERRS PINK.Extremely melodic with a couple of standout pieces and strongly recommended.

All I can add is that I've listened so many times to this record, and I could listen to it again and again...  it's that kind of record.  I'm not sure if the original ripper just did a terrible job, or recorded it in mono, but surely we will have to find an upgrade for this little treasure.

One further note, Ole sings in a vibrato that conveys a kind of nostalgic crooner quality to some tracks, an unusual performance for rock, although it can be heard from Paul McCartney from time to time to the utter consternation and disgust of John Lennon I remember, who felt it had no place in rock music, and he was right-- except this record where as I said, it adds an otherworldly dimension to the songs:

At times, he even sings in a falsetto a la French Atlantide.

Monday 27 October 2014

Noel Sokoloff's Concerto da Camera

Now here's a record that has completely dropped off the face of the earth, though the music is heavenly...

I have a sweet spot for this kind of modern classical music though today, I find it disappointing without the rock or jazz backing that we have gotten so accustomed to.  Nonetheless there are countless, innumerable fans out there who will diligently attend those concerts at halls throughout he world to listen to this material, not a passing thought to music such as French Mosaic, German Iviron, the Hungarian Panta Rhei, that attempted to create something amalgamated with everything mankind had come up with...

Unfortunately recorded in mono, the music contains a great deal of beautiful thought and effort.  Why is google so incapable?

Here is the adagio section:

For those who don't like European classical, I will be back with lots more bona fide prog in the coming few weeks... in between Hallowe'en candy of course!

Saturday 25 October 2014

The Seventh Century from 1971

Reading that blurb on the back gives you all the information you need to know, which, moreover, is utterly lacking from the individual who contributed to their discogs entry.  One gets an idea from rateyourmusic how little known this incredible find from one of my far-flung friends is-- at least until now.  I'll say it in a nutshell, this is progressive music at its finest moment, full of inventive composition and ingenious additions of baroque, jazz, and other inputs.  First of all let's have a look at aforementioned blurb (how I hate that word, still in use today in publishing):

15-piece seventh century offers promising new blends of sound (by John S. Wilson)
A 15-piece orchestra that ranges, musically, from Renaissance to rock played at the Village Gate on Sunday.  The band, called the Seventh Century ("because this is the seventh century of organized, written instrumental music" explained Alan Raph, a bass trombonist, who leads the group), is one of a series of new, contemporary groups that will perform at the Village gate on Sunday nights.

"We're using all the elements that exist today to make music",  Mr. Raph said in summarizing the group's intentions.  "We're dipping into Renaissance and pre-Baroque music.  We're using rock for rhythm, some jazz and a modal type of jazz improvisation."

All these elements were evident in the band's performance Sunday night.  Flute, organ and a seven-piece brass section sometimes sounded like a heraldic halloo at a medieval castle.  But as the dreams moved in with a rock beat, the attack of the brass changed to swinging jazz.  Two electric guitars joined in to extend both the rock sound and the nigh cry of the brass and as the ensemble boiled to a swirling tempest of sound that reflected the brassy influence of Stan Kenton, an alto sax rose into soaring solo that was pure jazz.

The compositions, all originals by Mr. Raph and Lee Holdridge, usually gave the band an opportunity to run its full gamut, a practice that tended to make them sound somewhat repetitious.  But the concept of a band as a whole is so unusual that it can afford to be repetitious while it is establishing its identity...

One thing regarding the above I wanted to point out, because it's so absent today.  Why not make a melting pot of all the best music we have created, collectively, as a species, since the dawn of time, and see if the amalgam can take what's best from everywhere?  Thus from pop we have songs and melodies, from jazz the improvisation and rhythms, from rock the energy and electric instruments, from classical the more mathematical fugue-like elements... but no, it's impossible today, isn't it?
Also notice how they played a gig regularly there every week.... Wow why couldn't I be back in that era?  What happened to that progressive spirit?

Notice that the first three compositions collectively are called "Trinity" are were the score for a ballet in New York City.

JOFFREY BALLET... In 1970 the Joffrey Ballet Company premiered "TRINITY" a ballet in three parts. For the next 20 years, the ballet was performed every season ... it became the Joffrey's "signature" piece. In March 2000 it was revived in Chicago by the company to enthusiastic reviews and warm/lively audience response. 
Other Joffrey Co. ballets: "Mingus Dances" (choreographed by Alvin Ailey... music of Charles Mingus transcribed and arranged by Alan Raph) and "Sacred Grove on Mount Tamalpais" (music & lyrics by Alan Raph). 

This Alan Raph was evidently a very prolific trombonist back in the day, have a look at all the records he has played on.  I see that he was involved in my all-time favourite jazz record, Charlie Mingus' Let my children hear music.   Today he is 80 years old, and at the time of this highly progressive music he was already 41.  I have to believe that somewhere there in his discography there are other such gems waiting to be unearthed.  The other gentleman, Lee Holdridge, was equally prolific, but as a composer became big in sountracks.

Given the resumes these guys have amassed, what a surprise this little gem isn't more well-known.

Here's the first track

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Von Westernhagen Part IV: Ellen Homilius and Thilo's Sonnengesang from 1986

Another gorgeous cover painting! (credited to Franziska Stubenrauch).

I guess in this last mid-eighties installment from Thilo he tried to craft a Terry Riley-like minimalist new wave opus with his singer Ellen Homilius.  Was it successful?  Not to my ears.  In compensation, or perhaps rather as punishment, the record is almost 60 minutes long-- !

This sort of thing was perhaps fashionable back in the day, but today, due to the paucity of musical content, seems a bit scarce in terms of comfortable listening.  For the tired ear, there is so little emotional progression to track.  However, the return to acoustics at the conclusion does provide a level of comfort similar to that of finding a Starbucks with a clean washroom after walking through downtown Kowloon in Hong Kong all afternoon, or perhaps even more appropriately, after walking through central Paris in need of same relief...

I should mention, with regards to the subject of this record, the description just above Thilo reads:

"Composed by T. von Westernhagen.  Words based on the 'Cantico del sole' by Francesco d'Assisi and excerpts from the 'Message' of Chief Seattle."

So it's very much an ecological treatise set to music.  It's not a little ironic to me that synthesizers and electronic instruments are used to appreciate the natural world of mother earth.

When she starts talking about how the 'sight of your cities pains the eyes' one can't help but reflect on how the sound of his percussion pains one's ears...

I include the last Cantico and Message from the end of side one as pretty representative of the whole:

Some of course I know will love this opus.

Monday 20 October 2014

Another huge wishlist item: P. F. Flyer Play Gianchetta Jazz

Now check out the price of this one... almost a thousand dollars when it does come up for sale.  Why is it so expensive?  Because of the quality of the music?  Of course not...

From collectors frenzy:

Well, here it is! One of the rarest psych/prog LPs in the world. P.F. Flyer - Play Gianchetta Jazz, AVG LP 101, 1970. Desired by many, heard by very few! This album almost never comes up for sale, so it may be your only opportunity to snag this one. Please bid accordingly! 
Only a tiny handful of copies exist, and it has a very interesting back story. To this point, the only real information available has been the very minimal entries in the Acid Archives and Pokora collector books. However, here's an excellent description written by a good friend of mine who's a top expert on rare and obscure music:  

" It seems like this album has been on almost every collector's wantlist, but hardly anyone has heard it. Well, there's good reason for that, as there are no more than 10 or 12 copies known to exist. A handful of copies were initially discovered by a local Bay Area record dealer years back, but no others have ever turned up since then. This guy was actually able to track down some of the band members and other people involved and get the full story behind this album, which is really hilarious. They were apparently students at a San Francisco dance studio run by an aspiring choreographer named Anthony Gianchetta, circa '69-'70. He had some ideas about using "hip" rock music for his dance routines, so somehow a group of his pupils got a band together and took up the task. The problem is that they were stoner hippy kids and decided to basically ignore his instructions and jam out this mostly undanceable instrumental psych excursion instead! It seems that everyone was pretty upset with this, but they basically had no choice but to release it as is at that point. It must have been a tiny micro pressing, with most of them probably ending up destroyed or discarded. In any case, it apparently wasn't too big a career setback for Gianchetta, as he seems to still be quite active as a stage choreographer in California to this day, as you will see if you google his name. Musically, the best description I can come up with is "accidental library psych". The track "Rocks Off" in particular would probably make those hipster DJ crate-digger types' heads explode, with the heavy open drum breaks and wild Hendrix-style fuzz/wah guitar. But, at well over $1000 and basically unavailable on the open market, they probably won't be diggin' it any time soon!" 

Shipping is FREE to any location, worldwide. Payment by Paypal only, and must be made within 7 days of the auction's completion. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to ask. Thanks for looking, and good luck!

Here's a youtube upload for sampling:

For me this is really just a simple library music album, all instrumental, with hammond, some nice guitar licks and drums breaks, but you can find much superior constructions on any great library record for ex. the great Ceccarelli's album Rythmes comes to mind.  Yes I know, it's not fair to compare the two records, but if you're expecting a thousand dollars worth of great music (which I doubt any collector is expecting) realistically, then you're going to be disappointed, and badly.  Later next week I'll feature an album that is completely unknown, can be bought for less than 20 dollars easily, but is fantastic.  We all know about this of course.  On the other hand, the German rarity called "Nimbus" (not to be confused with the many other bands of the same name) which, if it ever comes up for sale will top that amount, is well worth hearing.  As is that notorious Rhea "Sad Sorceress..."  -- maybe not 2000 dollars worth of good music though...  I don't know, when I think of great art, such as James Joyce's novels, it would be absurd to charge based on quality.  Visually, we can go to a museum and see priceless paintings for about twenty dollars.  For music too, it should be the content that matters, not the physical LP, unless you are into collecting those...  but then why not get an idea of the quality inside?

Please enjoy this record at any rate...

One final note, regarding the artist name, this is a type of shoe, which I wasn't aware of.

Saturday 18 October 2014

Ardent Desire of Thilo Von Westernhagen from 1980

More from Thilo now.  Amazingly this record features the incomparable Joachim Kühn (on tracks A2 and B4, which he composed) and Jan Akkerman (on track B4 as well).  The influence of Kühn, who I described earlier on solo piano as like a cascade of random notes, is apparent on A2, almost unrecognizable compared to the genius who did "Cinemascope," my favourite fusion record.

Overall, this is a very meandering record, lacking the punch and variety of "Sunbeam" from the previous year.

Thursday 16 October 2014

Thilo von Westerhagen's Theatre from 1982

As promised or perhaps warned, here is more from Thilo, a dutch pianist who recorded in Germany.  Notice straightaway that Charlie Mariano plays saxes on this release, mostly on side 2.  Here the music is a little more towards the new age direction.  The classical side really comes to the fore here and there.  One waits often in vain from a change in direction from the customary chord changes that afflict the majority of music, whether it be jazz, pop, or this kind of accessibly adult-oriented jazz with the Keith Jarrett-like mix of gospel chords and classical.  Based on the promise of the first, 1979 album, one would have expected more...

All compositions by Thilo.

Tuesday 14 October 2014

The famous Blonker's Die Zeit steht still from Germany, 1978

Amazingly, all music has information about Blonker:

The artist Dieter Geike, alone, is Blonker. A German composer and musician, he is skilled at keyboards, bass, guitar, and many other instruments. His gentle rhythmic musical stylings are most times a silky smooth mix of a number of genres, including jazz, rock, and even classical and new age. In 1978 Geike saw the release of his debut album, Die Zeit Steht Still. In 1980 he signed with the Philips Records label to complete two more albums, Fantasia and Windmills. Four years later he switched to another big label, Mercury, where he recorded three more marvelous full-length albums. The start of 1990 found Geike working under yet another new label, BSC Music. Albums like 1980's Time to Remember and 1998's Wellness kept his music before fans. Throughout the '90s, Geike received numerous positive reviews as Blonker. Gradually his fame has spread from Russia to Europe to America.

Like most of you, I was only familiar with the name through the post-1980 albums which featured very simplistic and almost childlike "progressive'' sounds, virtually new age in its lack of interest.  Therefore imagine how surprised I was to find out the debut album from 1978 was a very inventive and well-written mix of songs featuring really delicate and unusual chord changes and other features of immense interest.

Here are some of the wonderful compositions, track A2's Schutz Vor Dem Sturm:

Notice the beautiful atmosphere that builds up in the course of the guitar arpeggio opening, with the high bass note suggesting a wind or storm, and the harmony vocals of the chorus a la 10cc gingerly transitioning up to the next chord with a minor second: just a beautiful touch.  When you look at the database entry on discogs, one almost gets the feeling he did better within the group setting, even though all music was written by him with the exception of the first track (Feuerhak being the lyricist).   Or was it the classic case where the first album had the most creative & youthful ideas?  Again those beautiful minor second changes are a big part of the appeal of the title track which follows:

When I go on to listen to the other compositions from Blonker, it astounds me that this record is so different...  check out what I mean...

And yet there is no denying those later albums, which were all released to CD, were hugely more popular than this one.  It figures-- isn't that the perpetual fate of the prog fan?

Monday 13 October 2014

A special treat: Martin Springett's Gardening Club and the first year anniversary of this blog, October 13th, 2014...

Martin Springett's The Gardening Club, 1983.

Amazingly this time the cover illustrations and art are from Martin himself, a British artist who worked and recorded in Toronto, Canada. You can see how remarkable he is as an artist, pictorially as well as musically.  And ironically for us, it's the former inclination that won out in the end...

Now this is that classic prog rock sound that we all love so deeply and dearly and for this reason I present it to you on the one-year anniversary of this blog as a special treat.  As usual we get the space lyrics, the quirky material ("Nirvana isn't what it used to be"), the mythological themes, the cute-bombastic singing passages, the fusiony bits ("Enderby's Ride"), the electric guitar effects like phasing, the sudden variations within a song, the diminished chords ("The Traveller"), the shockingly weird and twisted melodies ("Rebirth"), the long-length composition that changes constantly, all on a beautiful rock base that provides that vital, vivid electric energy we love so much.  Of course we're back to the masters of prog, Genesis, here.  And it's wonderfully refreshing after all the fusion, library, and folk we have had to plod through lately. (I don't even mention electronic music which I have no taste for.)  And guess who else appears on this record?  Our old favourite instrument, the mellotron!

A good example of the prog moves, "Andromeda," which could be an anthem for prog, note in particular how it changes two-thirds of the way through to a kind of fusion-space opus:

Another track among many ("The Garden") that really shows his Genesis-debt:

Oh how I love that twelve-string guitar sound Genesis perfected!!

Huge bonus: Martin crammed 50 minutes of music into this one record.  More information can be found on the preceding discogs link.  It's great to discover a semi-masterpiece like this that is not well known, even among the cognoscenti: cf.  RYM.  And btw the aforementioned long composition, its full title is "Enderby's Ride in Three Parts," is truly a masterpiece within a masterpiece, a real stunner of a progressive opus.

I guess the problem with this record was the year of release: by 1983, prog was totally dead, autopsied, cremated, interred, its dust scattered to the four corners of the (g*ddamned) record industry's world, and the sound on this album is from 8-10 years before at least, with not a hint of new wave, casio keyboards, drum machines, etc.  I still remember my friend at the time telling me acoustic musical instruments were dead, from now on everything will be synthesizers, fake drums, computer-generated beats, etc.  (Of course his prediction ended very quickly, within ten years all those old out-of-date instruments were back with a vengeance when alternative broke.)  Martin obviously was one of those utterly uncompromising artists who didn't give a hot crap what was fashionable at the time...

Subsequently, note from his personal blog that he pursued the illustration side of his talents as opposed to the prog side.  Yet for the latter I want to thank him from the bottom of my heart.  What a brilliant, brilliant artist.

Just a gorgeous, inimitable, eternal album, that deserves to live forever.

And Prog, I love you.
But you knew that already.

Friday 10 October 2014

Thilo von Westernhagen's gorgeous first album, Sunbeam, from 1979

First look at that gorgeous cover, which absolutely looks like an 18th century dutch painting.  I could look at that image all day.

A marvelous share from my friend, hugely enjoyable.  This Dutch pianist made quite a few records in this wonderful period in the late seventies-early eighties when fusion and ECM-style beauty were not yet dead and interred and full of worms, and we will be exploring some of his very little-known releases this October...  perfectly suitable for the mood of lowering temperatures in the temperate zones, colder winds a la Marx, Rootschilt, Tillermann, and falling leaves and hair and bank accounts.

From rateyourmusic:

"Thilo von Westernhagen was a composer and pianist. He worked as a jazz pianist (e.g. with Charlie Mariano, Joachim Kühn, and Jan Akkerman), but his main focus was on contemporary classical music. He was married to soprano vocalist Monika Borchfeldt."

This first album according to the discogs database is incredible with that typically european mix of classical with jazz.  It's not ECM though it definitely sounds like it.  Note that he composed all his music.  Just listen to that darkly beautiful opening to the first song, "Yamina" which also interestingly transitions from an initial Pink Floyd-like full-sounding organ E minor to E flat:

That dreamy, melancholy, Eberhard-Weber-ECMy mood pervades throughout.  A good close comparison would be the Gallery album I ripped earlier that I love so much.  The addition of vibes (played by Ellen Homilius) adds lightness to most songs.  Here you can check out the remainder of the artists on this record.

The other huge standout song for me is the title track with its space synthesizer, it recalls to me the best European fusion in its softer moments such as on Muck Grobian's album from 1979 or the early Toto Blanke Electric Circus, or occasional Goblin pieces:

Yes, floating in space, weightless, free of gravity and time, a galaxy on your right hand... a faraway green earth at your toes...  the reflection of the moonrise in your dark eyes...  trillions of stars have waited billions of years to come through your visor...  where are they now?  there is no time or space anymore for you, just infinity...  it's October now, soon it's going to be as cold as that floating black, so let Thilo warm your heart...

Wednesday 8 October 2014

German Trial in Art's 'Fairy-Tales:' flute and acoustic guitar perfection...

As you can see this is a duo, and they made a magically beautiful album full of inventive ideas, back in the day, 34 years ago now.  In honour of the spirit of the record I uploaded the story of Cinderella to give you a good taste of the whole:

The music recalls to me acoustic Toto Blanke or Argile's fabulous Nimdirsi album, at least without any piano or ethnic involvement, or maybe the acoustic songs Orexis and Georg Lawall did with flute and guitar.  Really beautiful stuff, and we should think of how much work these great talented musicians put into their little piece which was abandoned by everyone so long ago.

Monday 6 October 2014

Cosmic Debris' While You're Asleep upgraded, with more information, from Oklahoma, 1981

From prognotfrog:

The second effort from this obscure prog band is much better than the first, featuring a huge variety of sounds and styles. In fact they abandoned the electronic tendencies of the first album; self-titled 3-7 K; and I think levgan was right on the money with his statement of 'high dynamic' which is applied for the first (and of course only) time to this record. I disagree with some of the more critical comments because I think this is really out and out progressive -- it don't get more prog than this. You will hear Dauneresque free piano solos, melancholy ditties, experimental sounds, odd tempo changes, mashed up chords, everything you need for diverse aural positive praxis. It never ceases to amaze me how different opinions can be in this field, because I can listen to this record a dozen times and still hear something totally new and unexpected in it, but others will state it's only worth one or two. At least they must concede as a concept album this truly succeeds in evoking the dream-state of shifting and drifting sounds and images without repetition or concrete footings.

From the mighty osurec files of course, I'm very grateful we have this rip to get a taste of this music. Tracklists kindly added in comments section. I expect a new rip might surface soon because it's just such a great album -- a fabulous cover painting obviously evoking the dream state. And why exactly do we sleep? Well, surprisingly we don't know, we sleep because we have to -- we die if we are sleep deprived sufficiently long. A very rare inherited syndrome of progressive sleeplessness leading to death is currently being studied to unearth some possible genetic causes. Some of the mysteries are that no compound or factor or process has been found requiring regeneration during the quiescent state despite considerable study, and there is no correlation between sleep duration and metabolism, body size, or cerebral wet weight (through species). So a recent interesting evolutionary theory has it that sleep is simply to double an organism's lifespan -- since all animals are either nocturnal or diurnal, we can conserve energy by becoming inactive temporarily each day when there are no survival chores to be done as in food-seeking or shelter-building. A simple test of the hypothesis would be to study deep-sea fishes to see what their circadian rhythms are... This is a classic example of science thinking outside the box for solution-seeking... It goes without saying dreaming is even more of a puzzle, pace the Freudian interpretation of dreams as wish-fulfillment, most neuroscientists believe REM dreams are the random actions of a brain busy doing something else biochemically restorative or synapse-adjustment automatic -- but what? well with this record, we can discover what the brain is up to while you're asleep...

Now, from the back cover, I'm able to include the descriptors which the artists placed after each song:


1. While You're Asleep - Richard Bugg 
For Alecia, this is what I do late at night when you are off in dreamland

2. Portrait of the Universe as a Thursday Afternoon - Richard Bugg 
This started life as a piece for synth and trombone but somewhere along the way I lost the trombone

3. Bema - Dennis Borycki 
The story of life in the jungle as told by a mountain goat

4. Matriculation - Richard Bugg 
Joel and Dennis engage the piano in a discussion of new diversions (or was that nudie virgins?)


1. Five Minute Attack - Dennis Borycki 
"The fire of the dragon is but the breath of time"-H. Lepton

2. From the Corner of My Mind, part 1 - Richard Bugg 

3. Spider Barks at Sun - Dennis Borycki 

4. From the Corner of my Mind, part 2 - Richard Bugg 
During the preceding three sketches come dance in your mind

5. The Dance Within - Richard Bugg 
Earth 8 June 1867 plus 117 years (ask Sam Clemens)

6. Distances - Richard Bugg
where do you think we keep the dragon? (look aside for correct distances)

7. Chanson de Dennis - Dennis Borycki 
for the song in each of us....

Instrumentation: Richard Bugg (ARP2600, Moog 15b, Flutes), Dennis Borycki (Fender Rhodes, Oberheim FVS, ARP2600), Joel Young (acoustic percussion, drum kit), John Powell (acoustic percussion, vibraphone, marmimba, tabla & drum kit), & Bil Richards (Guitar) 

Original Cover Artwork by G. John Dudley 

We did our first video at the Oklahoma City Zoo Amphitheatre. It was a live performance and the location recording engineer was Barry Stramp. We shot it on 3/4 in and in the time before MTV about the only place it showed was on the local cable public access channel.

Taken from here:

Notice that the group was very much active until the early 2000s, when 'health problems' led to them semi-retiring.  What almost made me fall off my chair was, if you read the history, an indication the group recorded two other works, a juvenilia or proto-first release (only on cassette) called "23-4-79" and a live work recorded directly to digital called "On the Shores of a Different Time" from 1986.

And a few quick notes about this record since, as I mentioned before, I really feel it's a home run when it comes to progressive music-- out of the ballpark stuff, as the triple-D chef Guy Fieri would say on food network.  Notice on the Song about "Portrait of the Universe" (which appeared on the first release from 1979) the depth of composer Bugg's classical musical education, as he uses a sustained D major note to play various colors using different tones from the synths and keyboards, much like Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe opening (which actually was done verbatim by synthesizers by the wonderful Japanese artist Tomita.

As I said before, the depth of ideas, the versatility, the invention, the breadth which includes jazz, avant-garde, classical, electronica and even poetry, the interest, the overall theme of sleeping which runs though the record, as well as the gorgeous album cover painting (which is by G. John Dudley as mentioned above) all contribute to making this an absolute classic of the genre, from 1981, the United States of America... love live prog...  hey, hey, my, my, prog'n'roll will never die... I think...

Track B5, "The Dance Within (Richard Bugg)" reminds me a lot of European prog, e.g., the Baba Yaga ST album that was so fantastic too...  I can't believe that was 2.5 years ago now!

Richard & Barry at the Paseo Street Festival, 1985? (photo by Dennis Borycki)

Saturday 4 October 2014

Marx, Rootschilt, andTillermann's Wanderings of 1979

Wow, that really worked well didn't it?

This is the album that first showcased the wonderful and gorgeous song called 'Colder Winds' which I think the growing bin made popular again, in their Saar compilation record.   Subsequently I featured the second compilation from the region on prognotfrog, and that was almost two years ago now.  Wow, have we ever listened to a lot of albums since then, some of which were quite incredible in my opinion.  There is no exhausting the treasure hunt, the bottom of this particular progific ocean doesn't seem to have any end to the riches we can find from this period in time...

I was pleasantly surprised that I'm not the old one who loved the song, as you can see in this little blog blurb.

 But let's start with a find from someone else... The Growing Bin recently posted a compilation album called 'Muzik Szene Saar' which he describes as 'hailing from from the small german federal state called Saarland, named after the river Saar, this compilation offers folky vibes, krautrock, teutonic elektronik, obscure funk and heavy rock!'. It's a real find, the way I see it and it's nearly the beardiest record I've heard in awhile. I mean how could you not get your beard on to a track like 'Colder Winds' by the never heard of again Marx, Rootschilt and Tillermann. But do go and download the whole thing, especially for the surprising Latin beauties done by the equally obscure duo Ambi and Arno. Arrrgh what a joy!! ...

This was a composition by Marx, btw, and since this group put out about 3 albums in this period, they were probably a bit more popular than one would think, I wouldn't know, but I'd love to find out.
Incidentally that 1982 album called "Spielgefährten" I am frantically searching for and have been for the last few years.

Rootschilt made a wonderful America-like song called "Longemer 77":

 As for Tillermann I will present one of his compositions, "Flight Over Pasadena:"

I love it when Germans try so hard to seem like Americans.  Had he ever even been to Pasadena?  Maybe.  These guys alternately sound like CSN, America, Jim Croce, and Simon and G.  I love it when Germans pretend to be Americans, it's so cute.  Notice (from biographical link above) they are still very much active as performers, and I beg them to be gracious to let me post this non-cd album.

But back to their big hit, Colder Winds, which I though was such an apposite track to play at this time of year.  There is so much going for this one little piece of music.  How, but how could it not have been a one number hit at the time, in 1979?  It has that gorgeous danceable rhythm, the nice guitar chord riff easy to hum to with the killer descending B7, and that hook is just out of this world, out of town, out of the ballpark, a home run every day until the end of time, you can just sing to it so easily:

"Colder winds, flowing through my head
Make me stronger, didn't dry my tears
I was turning round, going up and down, but
I'm still a dreamer-- high over the ground..."  

Yes myself and a million other people out there can identify with that refrain.

There is no justice in art if this song couldn't become a hit, none at all, it's just a mean ol' evil devil world that we live in....  where nobody ever gets the credit they truly deserve... let's at least try to make it a hit on satellite radio, may be in Germany... such an incredible song... yes, I'm still a dreamer too, high over the ground...

Friday 3 October 2014

An Anthology of Don Muro compositions (USA 1981)

Here's a wonderful surprise for all those out there looking for a new progressive fusion discovery...

And I can finally say it again, a discovery of the mighty osurec...  This gentleman made an album called "It's Time" before this that I think everyone already has, but this is somewhat better in my opinion, showing a composer at the peak of creativity.  The title of course is tongue in cheek to the point of imitating an actual book of songs.

The music is very similar to David Sancious' instrumental mix of synthesizers and keyboards, plus the occasional vocal song as a throwaway (for us, not the music industry) perhaps for a radio hit?   We open with a nice strong synthesized riff announcing "Here it Comes" 

moving on to a wholly different composition called "Laudate".  Subsequently some very tasty chords explore what is "Inside your Dreams" - a really nice piece that to me recalls a bit Sandy Owen's material in Illiad.  So you will find a great deal of interesting sounds in here, including Hugh Hopper-like fuzz bass on "Good Morning"  (or is it simply a dropped-d tuning electric guitar?):

I love the blurb on the back, too:

"Don Muro has gained national recognition as a composer, performer, and educator.  

As a composer, he has done much to promote the acceptance of the synthesizer as a legitimate member of the family of musical instruments.  He has lef the field in writing compositions for traditional performing ensembles that utilize the synthesizer and/or electronic tape.

In his first album, "IT'S TIME" he employed a variety of musical settings to highlight his unusual talents as well as the versatility and adaptability of the synthesizer.

In this album he continues to develop as a composer and as a performer.  With assistance from Tom Brechtlein [drums], Arnie Lawrence [alto sax] and John Scofield [guitar], he brings forth a cornucopia of musical delights-- something for every palate."

Note that Don a la Stevie Wonder plays all the instruments on side one, including bass, percussion, and guitars.  The others only play on the first track of Side 2, "The Bouncer", with a bit of sax on the others.

Also notice in his discography that he made a CD called "Reflections" in the early 2000s, is it new age or really experimental?  I wonder.  In any case, thanks to the mighty osurec for bringing this record to my attention... I really love it.  Recommended for everyone to hear.

And stay tuned to our show, coming soon we have more upgraded material originally from prognotfrog, more ECM style smooth fusion, more folky material to create some variety for the Ezhevika fans, and another big big unknown progressive rock discovery, which was really music to my ears... of course!

Wednesday 1 October 2014

More Tim Eyermann and East Coast Offering with 1978's Go-Rilla LP

This album features more of that fantastic fusion we love so much with its gorgeously progressive overtones.  Side one was entirely composed by Tim and side two by guitarist Phil McCusker, Jr.  I hate to say it but the second side is more interesting and inventive and listenable.

I was really pleased to hear the very chamber and composed Pastoral Piece in the middle of side 2, reminding me a bit of Coalition's wonderful "Mindsweepers" LP:

Only unfortunate is that as you can see it's only two and a half minutes long and there is nothing similar in the whole record.  Composition by McCusker.

And stay focused-- that last track by him ("The One that Got Away") is really great to follow, with its interesting changes in melodies and chords!