Saturday 29 November 2014

Helena Vondráčková: 1978 - Paprsky

A very unfortunate choice of cover photo reminding me of my tourette-like tic-ridden elder son who can't stop touching his face and nose as my hear his mother yelling at him to keep his hands off his head... nothing to do with the beauty of this vocal jazz album from the former Czechoslovakia...
A beautiful woman though as you will see from the link below.

A particularly fine piece, B2's makova kraska

Don't be deterred by side a, this album has kind of a Jekyll and Hyde thing going, like my aforementioned son, who is sometimes an angel, sometimes a hyperactive demon.  Side b is the more interesting and progressive side.

She has a large discography with a lot of cover songs that we have no interest in whatsoever.

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Traitement Spécial [year unknown ?1985] [lossless and mp3]

More funky French fusion.  Some really nice spicy progressive touches and sudden abrupt or angular Cubist-like hammerings of dissonance with wrenching guitar riffs, reminding me of the classics like Concept or Abus Dangereux or Germans Das Pferd and Kjol.  Notice the composer is the bassist, Mineau, and thankfully (god bless him) the bass solos are kept to the absolute minimum bearable here.  Predictably, some of this material was recycled on an April Orchestra release, viz., number 46.


Bass Guitar [Fretless], Producer, Mixed By – Thierry Mineau
Drums, Co-producer – Serge Viviani
Engineer, Mixed By – Philippe Mercier
Guitar – Jean-Michel Huré (tracks: A2, A3, B1, B2)
Guitar, Co-producer – Jean-Pierre Taieb* (tracks: A1, A4, B3, B4)
Keyboards – Pierre Luc Vallet
Koto, Engineer [Assistant], Mixed By – Kiet

Recorded at studio Prisme, Lausanne.

A particularly pleasing entry by Mineau called Vasco:

I hate to spoil the fun but there is a cover version of a Sting composition (When The World Is Running Down) to close out the record which horrifically I admit reminds me of early eighties David Sanborn.  Anybody out there remember that particular felonious mastermind of TV fuzak who used to torture us real music fans into neon submission back then?

Monday 24 November 2014

Runeson [Nils-Åke Runeson] from Sweden 1974 [lossless + mp3]

Another one of those lost rock albums that really deserves to be better known, particularly among those involved in perpetrating the same endless paroleless crimes of replaying Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, the Beatles and myriad one-hit wonders on satellite radio ad nauseam,  I can guarantee that the songs written here are not in any way as a whole inferior to an album by for example Jackson Browne or David Bowie or any other famous artist from the seventies.

With a powerful hook you could hang an angular comet or cometlander off, the song "I'm not a poet (like Edgar Allen Poe)" is just absolute rock bliss, but notice in particular the use of the mellotron-flute in the second stanza:

Complete information here.

How, how is it possible this record is unknown everywhere else in the world but on these crappy little blogs like here?  Utter artistic injustice.

Thursday 20 November 2014

Charles Fox with Olivia Newton-John and The Other Side of the Mountain, OST 1975 [download available, unfortunately]

When I was a child I had a crush on Olivia Newton-John, the ex-brit Australian with the absolutely angelic voice who became a massive sensation in the seventies, partly thanks to the movie "Grease" and then a lesser karaoke sensation later in the 90s.  I remember well this movie too, because it was so sentimental and the music so ethereally gorgeous, it was hugely popular when I was a kid, due to its tearjerker story of a crippled skier who must rebuild her life, fall in love again of course, and then face the death of her fiance in another accident (sorry for the spoiler there folks).

Anyways with the exception of the title track, which should have been a huge radio hit, the music here is typical symphonic orchestral soundtrack, though still enjoyable for those who have a taste for this seventies fare.  Here's the song I'm referring to:

These albums always puzzled me, even when I was a kid and dug them out of the local library for free, why did people put up with so much orchestral filler when each soundtrack only really had one or two good songs on them?  I guess in those days there was more patience for this kind of material.  Annoyingly, the same song is repeated at beginning and end without any difference.  I guess that's why this record was rescued and bought from the dumpster dustbin slag heap of oblivion.  For a few dollars.

The last line was the best part of the movie:

"How lucky I am to have known someone, something, that saying goodbye is so damned awful."

Tuesday 18 November 2014

VA incl. Wolfgang Dauner, Association P.S., Volker Kriegel, etc. - Stop my Brain, from 1973 [no download sorry]

WOW what an amazing cover painting, again, which is the reason I wanted to feature this release...

Musically there is very little of interest here, Dauner plays an almost ridiculous version of John Lennon's inimitable "A Day in the Life" at least, John's part of that track, not Paul's middle passage, minus the psychedelics that would have made it a little bit more of interest.  Volker Kriegel is kind of phoning in his performance here with some lesser tracks that really don't do this majestically inventive guitarist any justice.  Same for Association P.C.'s Frau Theussien which appeared on one of the studio albums of course.  Dave Pike, George Duke, and Larry Coryell similarly.

Saturday 15 November 2014

Patrick Godfrey's Ancient Ships of Canada from 1979

Wow -- Look at that gorgeous cover drawing! [credited to Miro Malish]

Who is Patrick Godfrey?   Evidently a very talented keyboardist from Toronto, Canada.  Musically this reminds me a lot of Sandy Owen but given its release in the seventies, it's highly imbued with the spirit of experimentation and progressive ideas that was so magically a part of those long ago days.  (There's even a purely percussive track.)  His later record from 1982 doesn't look quite as interesting but someday when I have a surplus in the account I will check it out to make sure.  Even a comparison of the covers indicates the deterioration in inspiration as we stepped over that evil lintel from seventies to eighties.

A terrible, almost criminally mono rip was circulating around heretofore, please upgrade with this crystal clear sounding perfect little keyboard gem.  Notice the amazing harpsichord invention he gets going on 'For Gail' and the superb employment of tritones on the descending chord pattern:

Now that's the kind of intricate, one of a kind music I like to hear!

The last track, which is the title track, builds up a beautiful dramatic crescendo with some the wonderful addition of organs and other instruments, all presumably played by Patrick.  Wonderful stuff, and look out for it.

Thursday 13 November 2014

More from Toronto, Canada: Strangeness Beauty Back to Nowhere 1982

This band with the beautifully poetic name were a Toronto-based jazz/rock/fusion trio made up of well-known session musicians David Piltch (bass), Michael Sloski (percussion), and Ron Allen (saxes, synths, and keys).  Recorded Nova Sound Studios, in Markham, Ontario, July 1982.

They only made this record.   Overall, music reminds me of the hard guitar band The Inserts which made the marvelously edgy and experimental "Out of the Box" in 1983 although, having said that, or promised that, this is really quite a bit more accessible altogether.

I find both the cover, with its pink ground coloring, and the black and white rear photography, utterly entrancing and fascinating.  This art is credited to Deborah Fadden with photos by Murray Pomerance.  Two sides of Toronto, perhaps?

And look at those beautiful young men in the prime of their creative ferment full of the grand hope of experimental and progressive composition ahead of them--  uh, maybe not quite the right adjectives there, try 'boring simplistic' rather, since we're talking about the future in the 80s now...

Here's a great little track called "In Chains:"

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Don Valley Parkway's Swish Timing [sic] from 1986 -- more from Toronto after Martin Springett...

A fusion album in the mid-eighties could be disappointing, could be promising, which is it?
Here's one listenable track in the middle of side A:

Sunday 9 November 2014

Big Island Hawai'i and Mofoya's Send a Message review and download from 1979

MoFoYa = 'More for You' and here we do get a lot indeed.  The cover is a drawing of the Big Island of Hawai'i  complete with two mountains, including what is usually billed as the tallest mountain in the world if you count its foundation below the sea, Mauna Kea (more than twice the height of Everest, apparently).  It's readily visible due to the astronomy edifices built on top, their silver shining like beacons on the snow cap you see when you lie on the beautiful hot beaches...  (And hence the track called "climb the highest peak" at the A3 position.)

First, from popsike:

"Obscure Prog Psych band from Kona, Hawaii. Lots of variety on here. There's great funky wah-wah, mellow prog with flute and female vocals, some trippy treated vocals, synths, loud guitars, soft ones, etc.  Here are 10 tracks of groovy pop-meets psych-meets flowerchild samba rock. 

Female vocalist GAILYVON's spacey Hippie stylings are backed by BILL MONTEI (guitars, synthesizers, strings, & backing vocals); TIM VALENTE (bass, flute); JOHN ALDEN (guitars, vocals); & RONNIE ATWATER on drums & percussion & backing vocals."

This was recorded in Kona, famous for its coffee, a small city on the west side of the island.  Of course I've spoken before about Hawai'i and its friendliness and great beauty, many times before.

Probably the most accessibly gorgeous song is track A4, called "Magic Sands".

Oh how I want to go back to those turquoise waters and white beaches backed with jungle-draped high cliffs intercepted by fresh waterfalls!

Track B2's Transition shows how loco progressive these locals could get when they were in the mood for it:

Now anybody want to go to Hawai'i with us for some ono grinds?  Maybe some spam sushi or a nice big plate lunch full of macaroni salad and kalua pork?  But good luck trying to find this record for sale there-- it took me three years to buy a copy finally on ebay...

And dig those Galaga type old school video game sounds at the very end of the record...

"Don't stray there-- tidepools--  you better watch out..." (B4)

Thursday 6 November 2014

Eric Tocanne Questions d' Habitude...

Not a lot of information about this stunningly brilliant guitarist.  This record seems to be his only work, and it recalls to me the avant-garde jazz of Claude Barthélémy whom I featured before on this blog.  The latter made a number of similar records but his first, the one I reripped and posted, is definitely his magnum opus.

Here we get tons of tritones, dissonances, minor seconds, diminished chords, etc., etc., all the usual textual apparatus of progressive composition on a funky kind of beat that never lets up on the energy level like my children in their post-Hallowe'en zany mania of candy-driven delinquence & dereliction.  All instrumental.  In particular, the first track features some ascending guitar patterns on a swing walking bass that typify this release:

Monday 3 November 2014

Martha Elefteriadu (1980) Kresby Tuší

Another fantastic find from my friend, a Radka Toneff-like dark singer with a bit more exuberance and energy than the former who played with Martin Kratochvíl's famed Jazz Q and with extraordinarily progressive compositions by Michael Kocab, the famed Dezo Ursiny, and others.

From my friend, and bless him for discovering this unknown LP:

Martha Elefteriadu

Comes from a family of Greek immigrants, who fled from Greece because of the civil war and settled in the 1950s in the former Czechoslovakia. Herr mother died early in his childhood, and she grew up in the orphanage for Greek children. Martha, after high school graduation studied medicine, later moved to study Psychology, which she finished at the Charles University in Prague. This album is a reminder of East Europe's Sovjet controlled allowed music! Keyboards sound is horrible, especially solos!

After Carita Holmstrom, Radka Toneff, Petri Pettersson, I didn't think there was much hope of finding another unknown SSW album like this one... really some tracks here deserve to be well remembered if there is any musical justice at all in this ol' world, though as we know, there isn't.

When you check out the credits on discogs, notice that Michael Kocab leads the backing band, that famed progressive jazzist Jiri Stivin plays flute on here too, and that Ursiny provides backup vocals on track B3 which he also wrote, though it's unfortunately not of much interest, sounding like a bossa nova sung by the Andrews Sisters-- not a pleasant combo.

The first song in particular reminds me of Radka's Lorelei composition:

Notice the chords that Kocab used in this song.  Starting with an Esus7, we move to Dmin6 on F base, E half-dim with added 9, then E7, then a stunning jump down to what I think is D♭, which opens up a whole new world of flatted gemlike riches, including B♭ and A, then F and D7 are employed to transition from there back down to the beginning chord of Esus7.  As I've said before, such a unique chord sequence it's guaranteed no human invention had ever used such a series before.  What a joy of discovery to listen to this song and the skill with which Kocab plays a melody atop such wondrous surprises.  So different from the music of today where the standard progressions are used ad nauseam, the same ones that were mastered in pop music 100 years ago already....  And listen all the way to the end of the song, so you can hear the flight of fancy on the synthesizers which recalls to me the best work of Czesław Niemen such as on his Idee Fixe record... What a time that must have been when you could make such uncompromising music on a solo album!

And what a delight to rediscover, so many years later, this lost treasure!

The two sisters together made many albums back in the day:

Saturday 1 November 2014

Head Over Heels from Germany 1983

As usual in these cases the gorgeous cover painting really drew me in.
The music itself is southern or country rock sounding as if it's American, but it isn't.
I mentioned before how cute it is when the Germans pretend they are US.  This is a great example of that odd imitation.

A typical line:

"In Munich you're born, in New York, you're home..." 
I love it!

"The Chance":