Monday 29 February 2016

Playboy's Ivory from 1973, USA

Mentioned in the Michael Jarrett post, this was the best record Playboy put out-- though in my life I've listened to fewer than three, two to be exact.  It was positively reviewed by Tom in the cd reissue wishlist here.  To me it completely makes sense they would have produced a progressive record as this was certainly the zeitgeist in the early seventies.

"Here we go again, another album that is about half excellent, half dreadful. Starts out promising enough with a heavy organ rocker that wouldn't be out of place on a Uriah Heep album. This then leads into three full plain old woman-done-me-wrong rock songs that are... well... they're terrible. No redeeming value whatsoever, no matter how you try to rationalize it. So of course, from there on out it's prog rock heaven. Get out the organ, Moog and piano and let's play us some complicated ELP style music shall we? Heck, some of the riffs even recall the Italian interpretation of the English famous trio (think Alphataurus, L'Uovo Colombo here). And so it goes throughout Side 2, complete with an Indian bit with sitar, tablas and the works. Sigh. Any chance there's a full archive of this style sitting in a vault somewhere?  Like the Yaqui album we have in the main list, this album was released on Hefner's Playboy label. "

Their opening (with hammond as mentioned above) 'Morning Song' is the Roger Kellaway instrumental which appears on his 1971 masterpiece, "Cello Quartet" (a gorgeous album I've played thousands of times and can never get tired of), with lyrics by the singer, Grant Gullickson.  A nice introduction to the record, clearly.

It's important to note that the majority (so far as I can tell) of songs were not written by the performers.  It's for this reason I think that it winds up being such a mixed bag, with even an electronic-synthesizer track at the end of side a.  I'm not so convinced that the b side is really progressive heaven, more like purgatory?  Note for ex. they trot out Jack Bruce's famous Song for an imaginary western, without necessarily improving on his version, which I don't think is even humanly possible.  (If by chance you don't know about Jack's solo albums I urge you to check them out, his work with Cream was a tiny part of his artistic output-- shockingly he is not known for that at all.  Another total and criminal oversight I blame the music/radio industry for, and it's hard to understand why Eric Clapton, whose solo recordings are clearly inferior to Jack's, was treated differently.)

The closer, 'Time After Time' is a really nice composition though, written as a band effort apparently:

Not bad, overall?

Friday 26 February 2016

AO Part VI.i: Volume 52 by Raymond Guiot [1983]

Classical chamber music here, I thought it might possibly be interesting, but overall too simplistic or baroque for my taste, perhaps about 18th century in style, before the Europeans discovered the beauty of chromatic notes and/or a slight spice of dissonance.  Note that the composer, Raymond Guiot, is different from the Dominique Guiot whose 2 utterly gorgeous library albums I uploaded earlier.

The oboes of Les Estaminets En Flandre {i.e. small cafes} are quite plaintive, as usual:

Wednesday 24 February 2016

April Orchestra Part V: The Italian RCA Series from 1 to 16 [missing 15]

Well I think you get the idea.. really reminds me of my old childhood stamp collection...

Remember these are entirely different from the other April Orchestra volumes 1 through 16, in fact, they are copies of previously available Italian library records.  I don't understand why they had to be repackaged or recycled as AO's.  At any rate it's a real mixed bag with a lot of abstract modern Morricone music in the earlier numbers, none of which I enjoyed, but two albums are real delights, the one stolen from "Romantici," which is the Volume 8, and Volume 13 which returns to fusion, though only for one brief LP:

That was Northern Lights from Volume 13, the first track.  Music is by Puccio Roelens.

From the beautiful album usually known as Romantici, here is Nostalgia Di Un Giorno Felice which was composed by the incredibly prolific OST composer Carlo Rustichelli  and was derived from a 1968 Western called Un minuto per pregare, un istante per morire 

With a very Morricone-like sound, wouldn't you agree?  Hearing this soft ballad I'm tempted to try to find the film, though it was rated quite poorly, possibly explaining why I never saw it before when I went nuts over the spaghetti western genre.

Monday 22 February 2016

Missing AO Pt. IV.iii: Patrick Vasori's Keyboards Music, Vol. 44 from 1982

A pleasant pink this time...  the graphic artists must have been happy with this series.

Recall that Patrick Vasori was the son of composer/arranger/conductor Claude, who was usually called Caravelli on the AO releases.  It was the young'un who composed my favourite AO track ever, Dany's Love Song, from Vol. 31.

Taking a quick glance at his discography it seems he made mostly AO music, appearing in the volumes 16 (a good one), 40, this 44, and the last one ever which appropriately was no. 69 (to come soon).  After this he made another library record called Tie-Break in 1987.  If anyone has a copy please upload it though as I wouldn't mind completing the collection for Patrick.

On this particular record we have all-electronic music, not influenced yet by the 'minimal synth' style that was soon to destroy any proficiency in composition held over from the seventies, and thus, overall, quite a listenable opus, similar overall to the Teddy Lasry albums from later years.

Consider the track called "Connexion:"

For evidence in favour of his progressive compositional skills consider the track called "Fight" which yet again, is indebted to the great Stravinsky's Rite of Spring polytonality:

It's unfortunate that track couldn't have gone on longer, though, overall, this is quite a long album comparably speaking, and by that I mean of course that it actually hits the 38 minute mark.

So I'll let you explore the rest of the tracks...

Sunday 21 February 2016

Some requested library records: Flash Resonances Light Breeze, Atmospheres, World Explorers, Charlotte Detective, Kaleidoscope, Space Resonances, Nostalgic etc.

Cecil Wary's Pop Incidence is one of the best in this series for the prog lover.  I definitely don't have all of them, at some point I should ascertain which are needed and should be ripped.  All the albums above though are well worth hearing, having at least a few good tracks.  Composer Pierre Porte was stunningly prolific in this era, anyone know anything about his stuff?

And aren't those cover photos for Flash Resonance amazing? When I see the shutterstock photographs advertised I'm so saddened by the huge difference in quality from those days.

Saturday 20 February 2016

Alan Feanch & Sylvano Santorio in Flash Resonance: Charlotte`s Adventures (1976)

A quite hypnotically beautiful cover painting showing a short-haired young woman running towards us, complementing the kind of music that, honestly, only the seventies could have created.

The atmosphere is mysterious, melancholy, dark, a throbbing repeated deep bass sometimes plays under bass-played melodies.  The sad tone is appreciable in "Romantic Charlotte:"

Or listen to the synthesizer waves in her "Atlantic Adventure" which recalls such French masterpieces as Michel Moulinié's Chrysalide: 

Composition and musicianship are done to perfection.  I would love to know who is the guitarist as his playing is absolutely heavenly (an acoustic solo finishes off the record)-- none of the requisite information on discogs.  There couldn't be any complaints for this one, except perhaps for the fact Charlotte gets married towards the end of the second side. We are of course then subjected to a wedding march-- a sound which, I think to most of us men, is unfairly traumatic to hear more than once a lifetime, though it does happen to some from time to time...

I suppose I should add that most of the Flash Resonance albums are worth hearing. But by no means all, there are some trashy ones, musically.  The ones done by Chevallier are particularly gorgeous, the Space Resonances I mentioned before, and Atmospheres and Light Breeze (already available, if someone needs I can reup).  And, obviously, Feanch also had a solid track record (so to speak!) for beautiful music.  At some point it would be wonderful if someone could let us know which items are missing from his discography but might be worth checking out.

Friday 19 February 2016

Missing April Orchestra Part IV.ii, Volume 41 by Bernard Estardy from 1982 [lossless]

A very short LP (prob. about half an hour) and with a mixed bag of sole-percussion, synthesizer styles, bits of baroque, and light-hearted fusion, the kind most of us can't tolerate much of.  Not too convincing in the direction of attempting to obtain the missing volumes definitively.  The track called "But where did my melody go" is really missing a melody.  That would have been unheard of in the early seventies AO days, when there was still a premium placed on excellence in composition.  Nor is there any irony, but I suppose there is a tongue possible in cheek in a later song called "It's not nothing, but almost" which in a way disappoints our modern ironic sense by being actually listenable (in a love boat) way rather than being really nothing:

Wednesday 17 February 2016

April Orchestra Part IV.i: Volumes 41 to 51 [41 and 44 to come]

There is no chance I will last past the early fifties in this series as the pain of slogging through so many dozens of tepid albums ever closer to a lukewarm forgetful kind of nothingness, literally more than 500 tracks, is really getting to my sanity.

Quickly:  Volumes 41 and 44 are to come later, they are not included in this package.  Volume 42 with Lucien Attard on the uber-French Accordeon is a bit grating as it lacks in originality.  You will be pleasantly or in my case unfavourably reminded of being back in that country famous for its cheeses, cathedrals, and spectacular rudeness, when you hear this one.  I have little interest in knowing who Attard is after listening to this, nor in returning to his country after my fourth and last visit there.

Volume 43 presents the team of Roland Romanelli and Jannick Top again, we saw them together before to good effect (no. 38).  Note that the former made a chansonnier private press in the seventies and went on to convert, as so many of his countrymen did, to simple upbeat electronic-synthesizer music in the eighties, as well as contempt for everyone non-french/not white.  Thus his album Connecting Flight from the same year is very similar to any output by for ex. Jean-Michel Jarre, Patrick Vian, or even Teddy Lasry.  Didn't like it myself.  (Though not as much as I hated the arrogantly inept staff at Charles De Gaulle airport.  Like so many others with similar experiences, perhaps half the world, I will never go back there.)  On the other hand, this volume has some very pleasant compositions in the usual soundtracking style.  I guess with that team you couldn't go wrong.  Too bad they don't work at the Gare Du Nord, in Paris.

Volume 45 is pleasant as well with at least a handful of listenable compositions, this time from Francis Rimbert and Jean-Pierre Savelli.  The former appeared in multiple AO's as well, most recently in the 36 which again I hated.  Note that he is another exemplar of the synthesizer-addicted Frenchman.  I wonder what it is about fine red wines, electronic keys, and supreme arrogance that fit together so well.

Volume 46 is interesting, called Carmensijazz (the title of one of the compositions), it includes tracks or excerpts from the Traitement Special record I ripped earlier on the second side, the first presenting some mediocre modal jazz, acoustic though not fusionic, from one Christian Pegand.  This gentleman in the same year (1982) made a record called Salut J' Arrive, could be good?  Anybody know?

Vol. 47 was a popular one due to involvement of library luminaries Milpatte (Bernard Fevre) and Serge Bulot.  I believe it was ripped long ago and is prob. well-known to everyone.  Bulot's album Sanctuaire D'ecole to me is one of the best library records-- ever.  This lp is comparatively disappointing.

48 now instead has Francis Rimbert teamed up with Frederick Rousseau.  The latter's career almost started here, and stretched out into the eighties and nineties.  I wonder if his later output was innocuous or interesting?  At any rate, the economic law of diminishing rate of returns applies here and there are only 2-3 interesting compositions in this one.  It would be magnificent if we could chart the no. of good songs versus progression over time of the volumes, as I am relatively certain we'd get a bell curve with its peak at volumes 32-34.  Well, except for the nadir of czech classical music period from 23-30, where there is literally nothing, so I suppose instead of a bell we'd have a punched derby hat, clearly punched for good reasons (a bimodal distribution, perhaps even trimodal depending on how much you like the sound of Philadelphia).
For example, Rimbert's Quai de l'Enigme:

49 and 50 present the team of Romanelli (here called Izzanelli) and Jannick Top (here called Samy Wathson) for some very simple synthetic easy listening.  I wonder what was the reason for all the pseudonyms in library music, for some specific licencing or copyright purposes?  It doesn't make sense as you'd think the reputations of the composers would mean something.  Strangely the first is forgettable while volume 50 is extremely good, another peak to render more multimodal our curve.  The latter's all-out space theme is particularly nostalgic and evocative for me.  The track Patrouille Spaciale (i.e., space patrol) from them is very Stravinskyesque, it reminds me as well of the best of legendary and hugely versatile library composer Alan Hawkshaw (cf. his 1977 Road Forward, another library masterpiece everyone should know):

In Volume 51 Rimbert is now sadly alone and, so deep in the 80s, we can't really expect too much anymore, nor of course do we get it.  I, too, had low expectations going into the Galeries Lafayette and mostly went with my wife to show her the architecture and design.  Little did we know the salespeople in addition to being unhelpful, obviously, that part was not a surprise, would scream at us to clean up after our children, berate us for our baby pulling off his sock and having a bare foot, and prevent us from touching their shoes for sale (and thus from buying any).  Sigh.  Yet let us enjoy the country still from the safety of our record players...

Monday 15 February 2016

Kari Pöyry's all too brief "My Star" EP from Finland 1980

Another gift of our long lost friend...

"Single track, one-sided promo 12'' single / EP-- This is the only release Kari Pöyry did, we all can ask - WHY!"

Full information has been nonetheless included in the database here...

This is a simply gorgeous piece of composed music with an acoustic guitar intro that builds up in intensity to a more chamber-like exposition of dark melodies and strange chords, expressing the love of the artist for his wife or girlfriend in the most tender way.  Really lovely as a post-valentine piece of music.

Note the presence of famed Finnish conductor Saraste who also arranged the strings (and whose career stretches all the way to the present day without interruption, a rarity for us to see here) and the fusionary prog-famous Nono Söderberg whose album "Nono" everyone here should already be familiar with.

Saturday 13 February 2016

Helsinki Kollektiivi 1983 (Finnish Avantgarde or RIO)

I'll quickly interrupt the scheduled posts for this surprise entry of advanced but highly interesting music.  This is a gift from our long lost Finnish friend, now found, like the prodigal son.  To the jealousy of any others we must celebrate his return for "he was lost but now he's found..."  In his words:

I know for sure the press of this album was 168 copies (info from Volanen himself).  Toni Edelmann (b. October 25, 1945 Hamina) is a Finnish composer.

Edelmann started in 1968, church music studies at the Sibelius Academy, but switched to a school music program and graduated in 1972. After graduating, he got a music lecturer from the Theatre Academy. In the period 1977-1978 Edelmann completed post-graduate studies in East Berlin Academy of Arts. While a student, Edelmann became interested in left wing radicalist and represent a singing movement.  Edelmann composed, inter alia, theater and film music, such as "Gilgamesh", which was presented to the Helsinki City Theatre in 1975. His oeuvre also includes compositions and songs based on, for example, William Shakespeare, JRR Tolkien, Hermann Hesse, JW von Goethe, JL Runeberg, Marja -Leena Mikkola, Aale Tynni, Märta Tikkanen and Einari Vuorela texts.

Edelmann was previously married to actress Marja-Leena Kouki. Their son is actor-singer Samuli Edelmann. His current spouse is Kiti Luostarinen.  Toni Edelmann's father was cantor-organist Casimir Edelmann.

Performers on this album are Toni Edelmann and Ilkka Volanen, among others.  To me, compositions by Hannu Hakkarainen are particularly remarkable.   Note the incredibly beautiful cover painting as well.

Tracklist from discogs:

A1 Viuhkoja
Arranged By – Helsinki Kollektiivi
Composed By – Hannu Hakkarainen

A2 Musiikkia Esitettäväksi
Arranged By – Helsinki Kollektiivi
Composed By – Hannu Hakkarainen

A3 Virran Reunalla
Arranged By, Composed By – Toni Edelmann

A4 Juhlahuoneistojen Vihkiäisissä Käytetyn Juhlanauhankatkaisumusiikkia
Band – Helsinki Kollektiivi
Composed By, Arranged By – Toni Edelmann
Piano – Matti Perttula
Trumpet – Matti Riikonen

A5 Kohtaaminen
Arranged By, Composed By – Helsinki Kollektiivi

Composed By, Arranged By – C. Maйкaпap

B1 Populus
Arranged By – Helsinki Kollektiivi
Composed By – Hannu Hakkarainen

B2 Sun Biisi
Arranged By – Helsinki Kollektiivi
Composed By – Tapio Tuominen

B3 Satakieli
Arranged By – Valtonen*, Hakkarainen*, Riikonen*, Björkenheim*, Tuominen*, Edelmann*
Composed By – Toni Edelmann

B4 Hulaluu
Arranged By, Lyrics By – Toni Edelmann
Composed By – Emile Martron
Lead Vocals – Maija Leino


Accordion – Ahti Salomaa
Artwork By – Hannu Rönkkönen
Grand Piano – Toni Edelmann
Guitar – Raoul Björkenheim
Musicians – Ari Valtonen, Hannu Hakkarainen, Matti Riikonen, Tapio Tuominen
Recorded By – Ilkka Volanen (tracks: B3), Timo Toikka (tracks: A1 to B2, B4)
Sleeve, Design – Riku Virtanen

Many thanks to him for rediscovering this lost beauty.  And many thanks to this record for returning our long lost friend too...

Wednesday 10 February 2016

April Orchestra Part III: from 10 to 30, with many missing [1975-1979]

After the Volume 10 in which poor Renaissance man Rameau was trotted out for some unfathomable reason, French conductor Caravelli (aka Claude Vasori) was brought in for some really easy listening in Volumes 11 and 12, which are yet unavailable.  A more promising set appears in Volume 13 with some very entertaining compositions by Christian Chevallier (who created with A. Feanch one of my favourite library albums ever in Space Resonances), consider for ex, his Prelude pour un Balladin:

Volume 14 presents "baroque by swingle" and sounds so unappealing I am thankful it makes no appearance here.  Volume 15 steals tracks from the progressively famous Lard Free of Gilbert Altman (extracts from both their 1973 and 1975 albums).  The team of Caravelli and son Patrick Vasori who composed quite a bit in later editions, appear with some great mood music in Volume 16.

And then of course our poorly helmed boat suddenly capsizes for Volumes 17-19 with the sound of Philly.  The ship recovers-- somewhat-- with Volume 20 in which Shylock's two albums, fabulous complex French prog masterpieces, are ripped off, along with cathedral organ compositions by another library alumnus, Michel Magne.  In fact the subsequent Vol. 21 devoted to Magne's orchestral music was already ripped for prognotfrog 4 long years ago now.

An odd turn to Spanish guitar music with Manolo Sanlucar is featured in Vol. 22 before the bottom completely drops out of the franchise, as Volumes 23 to 30 are devoted almost entirely to orchestral modern music from Czechoslovakia-- with the exception of Vol. 28, also posted in pnf long ago, with its amazing fusion from Jiri Stivin's Zodiac masterpiece and Klapka's Mahagon, as well as a big band called Konstelace Josefa Vobruby.  (Everyone should have that first mentioned.)

Now I love good modern classical music as much as any tweed-pantsed food-stained sweatshirt-wearing old man who goes to the local symphony hall purely to drink those tiny free one-ounce 2% milk containers next to the coffee machine, but the music in the volume that is available, namely 25, is not even well-written and was impossible for me to slog through even with pants pulled up above my belly button.  Have a listen, if you dare.  But I beg you not to request those.

So, available currently are the following: 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, and 28.