Saturday 30 July 2016

Lars Klevstrand / Guttorm Guttormsen Kvintett ‎in 1978's Høysang from Norway

It gives me such a such a feeling of joy to discover a treasure like this; magnified then by the chance to share it with others who might have a fertile openness to it.

If anyone recalls the album I once posted by Wisse Scheper, Topaz, or the Stefan Nilsson poetry collaboration with Tommy Korberg, Blixtlås - Svensk 70-Tals Poesi from the infant days of this blog, this is very similar, with well-composed and uniquely interesting folky-jazzy songs, mostly piano-based, composed with very high maturity and skill.

The singer and majority composer here (and genius!) is Lars Klevstrand himself, who has quite a discography (he sits far left on the verso scan).  In the band he plays guitar, while the amazing piano work is by Jon Balke, also a composer in the credits.  How sad they are unknown to the world at large (perhaps not in Norway).

Track A6:

I love how the chords, although slightly conventional, passing from tonic in G to C, then the descending pattern: F to E bass for C, Eflat, D bass for G, are played with such delicatesse by the guitar and curlicued piano accompaniment.  Stay tuned till the bridge where a surprising modulation to tonic A major occurs, and subsequently the coda, which uses the Bminor to E7 springboard to launch into F major, then to Aflat under Fminor, to close out into a new tonic of C!  Not an overly complex number but quite enjoyably pretty.

The title track that commences side 2 will really blow you away, unfortunately it's too long to quote here, but stay tuned for that one when you shoot through this, with its myriad turns around the corners from jazz to pop, to a more playful Spanish tempo.  Really stunning tergiversations, and I sure wish I could understand of what Lars is crooning.  Maybe someone out there could help me, there's something about Angelina, obviously not Jolie, thank god, and an anaconda.  Gotta love those snakes.

But I wanted also to present the penultimate track as an example of how outrageously thoughtful these artists can be.  Really, as a once wannabe musician, I can't even begin to understand how they thought up these ideas, and so what hope does google's "deep mind" AI have?  In particular, those opening chords are not just hard to analyze, but I have trouble even understanding how they can connect together and retain such a harmonious movement:

This one is a composition by Espen Rud, btw.  (Who???)

Of course, this music, with its amalgamation of folk, jazz, pop-like songs and even choral (on the last track) didn't really stand a chance, did it?

Wednesday 27 July 2016

Family of Percussion's Moon at Noon [with Albert Mangelsdorff and Wolfgang Dauner, from 1987]

When I noticed the involvement of those other two luminaries of the German fusion-jazz scene on this LP, Mangelsdorff and of course our beloved Dauner, the great great Wolfgang Dauner (all he touched turned to gold), I had to get this one to complete the series.  In past comments I noted that throughout their 5 records, there is a little too much free and too little composition to grind our molars on and satisfy that aching appetite for compositional complexity that gets us going-- with the exception of the Sunday Palaver posted before.  And here too tracks tend to drag on too long, moreover, they are repeat performances of past hits like Dauner's fabulous Trans Tanz (which was on the previous post too, but originally on Changes, absolutely a masterpiece and a half of keyboard prog).  3/5 of the trax are written by the great Mangelsdorff, who is usually a bandleader, but plays trombone by day.  His career stretched all the way back to the sixties, but if I recall correctly, I found most of his output as leader to be too improvised and free to my taste.  One composition is by Trilok, of course, and is really a percussion plus keyboards swingin' number.

In my opinion the most interesting track especially with its eerie muted trombone (?) opener, is the last one, Für E.W. (by Mangelsdorff), closing out the LP with a reflective or meditational exercise in thoughtful shifting scales and surf-like cymbals...

And isn't the drawing on the vinyl beautiful?  And so seventies-- oh wait, this is 1987.  Doesn't matter, unlike the previous two posts, with this record we feel we are back in those groovy seventies again when there was oh so much hope for the future-- and music.
Not so much now.

Monday 25 July 2016

VA Kleeblatt 24 - Jazz Rock (GDR 1988)

More light fusion from the GDR, perhaps less interesting to us in general.  The bands include Flair, Fill In, the awfully named Bossa Nostra, Gin-Chilla.  The final three didn't appear elsewhere, to no one's surprise.  The first track, by Flair:

Saturday 23 July 2016

L'Art De Passage ‎– Sehnsucht Nach Veränderung (GDR 1989)

Jazz-rock from the GDR with a neoclassical Picassolike cover - from just after the fall of the wall.  Though we lost one wall there, we have recently gained so many more: between India and Bangladesh, all around Israel, and soon, between the US and Mexico.  If that one proves a success, perhaps between the US and Canada next, to keep the beavers out.  Will there also be one between the Europa of infidels and the true believers, the 70-virgin blessed?  Surely we can easily imagine a future in which this is the norm, and every land is surrounded by either waters or walls-- perhaps the Chinese will finally finish up their wall too?

But let's look back 30 years to a wonderful time when walls were being destroyed...
This record is a very pleasant mix of jazz-rock and pop with some easy elements thrown in. Note the presence here of Hermann Naehring, the percussionist who made a quite endearing album as band leader or solo artist (highly recommended).  His co-composition in the A4 position (Groovin' Too - Für R.K.) you'll note is stamped with his imprimatur of a gong for the end:

I get the feeling the majority of the work can be attributed to an accordionist called Tobias Morgenstern, who has nothing else in this period in time.

Another mighty fine track, called Jana:

A pleasantly overlong LP too, clocking in at approximately 50 minutes.  Not a minute wasted, however.

Wednesday 20 July 2016

Musyl & Joseppa: 1981's Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzchen (The Girl with the Little Match)

Here's one that came completely out of left field and a welcome surprise from our very good friend in a relatively quiet summer of new explorations.  Of course one couldn't fault anyone when the temperature is so high in the northern hemisphere and the children are out of school and playing in our ears all day...
I had no idea they even existed heretofore, and this duo put out it seems three albums in the period we are reviewing here.  This particular release is just full of the progressive spirit with turbo-crazed compositions and marvellous ideas filled with emotion, while the others on either side of 1981 are somewhat slacking in comparison.

Notice for example the second track, with its fusionoid opening, leading into a very odd chord change indeed, Die Mutter & Der Tod (i.e., mother and death):

The odd thing here is the fact the tonic starts the song then uses the tritone interval up to modulate down a minor second.  And be assured that side b, which contains even superior music, is totally out of this world in terms of its progressive content.  I'll mention the most impressive thing which is the way the music alternates between string quartet, fusion, and jazz-pop.

I'll quote their story from the Austrian rock archive (apologies as usual for google translate which I left verbatim in all its silly robotic AI glory --and we're supposed to trust them with driving our cars??):

Joseppa: Voice / Text 
Paul M. Musyl: Guitar, Flute, Keyboard / Music

Paul Musyl played already in the 1960s with his group "Pauli & We" sophisticated cover versions since pushed ca.1969 who grew up in Afghanistan Joseppa the band. As to the two main protagonists all musicians went different professional paths, which took the two to the occasion to gain experience with different musicians in Germany, Belgium, Holland and the USA.  Back in Austria, they united various forces around and started under the new band name "Musyl & Joseppa" concretely implement their ideas in their own compositions.  1973 produced first LP "Rozz" emerged, an unusual mix of rock and jazz, in equally unusual, varying instrumentation (e.g. String Quartet).  The single "a friend went to America" ​​was coupled, a setting of a Peter Rosegger-poem, the first no wanted, to advertising manager HG Haberl she heard and squeeze as promotional single for the company Humanic let ... the song became a big hit and later used in America as Signation "Radio Edelweiss". 
"Musyl & Joseppa" published more records and CDs, produce for film, television, radio and advertising, organizing annual midnight concerts, composed 1983, the musical setting for the meeting of the Pope with the youth at the Prater Stadium, 1995, the music for interreligious meeting with the Dalai Lama and won in 1999 with the song "No more was "the Peace song Contest in Ireland. 
Many musicians Styrian music scene working with" Musyl and Joseppa "together, which all names would call the scope of this book. 
The out-LPs" Rozz "and" the girl with the Little Match "were reissued in 2010 as CDs.

Having returned to "Musyl & Joseppa" form in many variations and find a string quartet its unique and idiosyncratic sound. 
"Musyl & Joseppa" produce in 1975 its first single, "A friend went to America" ​​(Text: Peter Rosegger), a setting that would not have until HG Haberl, advertising manager, and she heard immediately - in one of Austria bestselling edition of 13,000 copies - produced. Meanwhile, this plate is busily black pressed. 1983 is pressed again for the Peter_Rosegger-year in an edition of 13,500 pieces and is the identifier for "Radio Edelweiss" in the US and Canada. 
At the same time, the first LP "Rozz" published, a plate without compromise and therefore producible only with its own resources. Meanwhile, an unfortunately out of print object for lovers. 
"Musyl & Joseppa" compose among others, the Humanic advertising, which in 1981 was awarded the State Prize for Advertising. 
Movies with music by Musyl & Joseppa received throughout Europe first prizes. 
1978 will find a TV portrait "Musycal "" What makes the wind when it is not blowing. " 
in addition to radio and TV productions of the ORF is a special event for years traditionally become midnight concert on 24.12. to 24, which will be 1983 up recirculation for the sixth time. 
1981 produced the LP "The Girl with the Little Match", a gift from Musyl & Joseppa to disabled children and youth. 
1982 present Musyl & Joseppa her now 3rd album "Barney Leather", a collection of Soundtracks who wrote Paul M.Musyl in recent years for advertising, presentations and short films. 
1983 Pope's visit to Vienna. 
came for the event "meeting the Pope with the youth" at the Prater stadium to the 80,000 visitors who by Television TV viewers around the world reached, compose and perform Musyl & Joseppa "the entire musical accompaniment." 

(from the official biography . Last visit: April 22, 2009)

Note the little comment regarding the release featured here today:

The LP "The Girl with the Little Match", a gift from Musyl & Joseppa to disabled children and youth. 

What's for certain is these artists had a totally uncompromising attitude towards music and composition which surely deserves to be celebrated appropriately in today's more mature (huh?? are you following the Trump saga?) environment.

Monday 18 July 2016

The Great KRAAN's Schallplatten, compilation from 1983 [by request]

This album was an early eighties compilation of their work spread over a double LP, with the later songs slightly over-represented.  (The first and most progressive and raw album was fully ignored, as is so often the case.)

Hopefully the band itself needs no introduction, they managed to sustain an interesting and unique sound throughout the seventies all the way to the 1982 Nachtfahrt after which I confess I dropped out, expecting only eighties pop.  Surprisingly they even made it to wikipedia-fame (but not presumably the Almanach de Gotha), though only in abridged format.  Of course I would recommend hearing all the original albums especially since the earliest ones are under-represented in this compilation.  Of note, I couldn't recognize the A2 track (Berliner Ring), perhaps someone could assist-- was it original for this release?

With regards to Kraan-related material, it's important to be aware of the guitarist Wolbrandt's solo work So Weit which is really just another Kraan album both in sound and artistry.  Being more cohesive, I found it to be just a genuinely adorable and beautiful piece with all the happy energy and wild enthusiasm that so characterizes the band's efforts (just like the so very similar Kjol and Andy Goldner albums ex Exmagma).  However, the others didn't fare so well, as I found "Alto" Pappert (saxophonist)'s albums somewhat inferior, and the bassist Hellmut Hattler's Bassball to be not worth hearing twice.  Or at least so I recall.

Some of these songs should be very familiar, as the very representative instrumental Flyday from the album of the same name indicates...

Saturday 16 July 2016

Feather - Goin' Through Changes (USA, 1980) by request [Arranged and Conducted by Weaver Copeland]

Here's the information.  Someone asked me once for the Feather records and I just remembered recently.  I thought it might be a little too light for my personal taste.

The first track is representative:

The instrumental Summer Song is nice:

Wednesday 13 July 2016

Helvetia + Kedama + Dandelion + Popcorn in the Swiss Daarom Presents Perspectives from 1975

These are all unknown bands from Switzerland, and none of the bands save progmasters Kedama ever released LPs, so far as I know.  The first track from Helvetia is quite enjoyable:

The two tracks from Kedama appeared as bonus on the CD rerelease of all their work, they are brilliant, and everyone should indeed be familiar with them.  Their masterful souls in space-- dig how the mello-strings so perfectly achieve that intergalactic quality:

An interesting document, perhaps not as brilliant as the VA posted before.

Monday 11 July 2016

Frode Thingnæs ‎– Feelin' All Right (1974, Norway) [limited time only dl]

I was quite curious about this one when I saw the utterly ridiculous but oh so seventies pangolin or armadillo (?) cover.  Because of the involvement of an asy listening orchestra it reminds me a bit of the later Freddie Hubbard work, for example Love Connection which he did with master Claus Ogerman (a highly recommended album).
Here the second side is one long track consisting of three songs.  I tried to separate the first and second but failed miserably.  Then the third appears on its own, like a young woman in love with one of those asshole married men constantly wishing and hoping he'll leave but of course, he never does.  And for some reason neither does his wife when she finds out.  It's amazing how far you can go when you're a self-absorbed arrogant middle-aged white man-- and then they complain they are being discriminated against which explains the popularity of hair-overloaded politicians like Donald...

The first and title track:

Friday 8 July 2016

Naima Live Session in 1990 [review only]

A comment from a user asked about the quality of this one of which I was unaware and I was intrigued since of course the ones we posted were from the same years, approximately. And indeed we get once again the beautiful European marriage of classical music and fusion that we always expect from the wonderful EU melting pot long before Britain so rudely decided to brexit.  Consider The Special Light:

And wait till you get to the last track-- a tour de force in truth for modern chamber fusionary composition.  Unfortunately preceding that one there are a couple of throwaway jazz standards or songs in the conventional 'swing' instrumental jazzy style that for most of us is so utterly yawn-provoking.  But these make the final track all the more worth your while.

Given this is a CD I will only have a dl briefly.  And thanks for drawing my attention to this little lost gem.  As a bonus and due to requests I will post a brief trip to planet Ramo too before the powers that be demand it be removed.

Wednesday 6 July 2016

Family of Percussion & Guests in the fabulous Sunday Palaver (Germany 1980)

Peter Giger et cie. made a handful of records of which this third from 1980 is the most accessible, in my view.  Note the presence of progressive luminary Wolfgang Dauner (perhaps that word is insufficient, let's refer to him as German artistic genius with the golden Midas touch, every album he was involved in such as the Et Cetera band turned to musical gold).  But let's not ignore Peter Giger, of Dzyan and subsequently Giger Lenz Maron fame, and Sax player Alan Skidmore (Soft Machine connection there), plus the great Trilok Gurtu.  (The last and least known members Doug Hammond and Tom Nicholas were percussionists as well.)  I guess these all-percussion albums were another odd trend of this progressive period in time, I doubt many such are being made today anymore.

Check the prestidigitation of all sixty fingers from 6 humans in this track:

Amazing?  Unfortunately their other records are not quite as good, with a surfeit of the percussion to which their name is all too deeply indebted.  The first in particular, wherein the band name appears as album title, was all improvised, and mostly drumming.
But thanks to my friend for introducing this little jewel which I would otherwise have eschewed.

Sunday 3 July 2016

Isla from Gerardo Bátiz (1981); plus bonus Arlequin (1982)

The discussion today is about the amazing Mexican composer Gerard Bátiz.  I would be only too pleased to learn many out there have no idea who this is or what his music sounds like.

This record as well as the subsequent Arlequin are pretty much masterpieces of the progressive chamber fusion style, very much like the Sabates material I posted back long ago.  But better.
It's mind-boggling to me how artists can create such beautiful things out of notes and chords we all know but in ways that so stunningly new and original that not even one combination has been heard before anywhere...

Here's the most modernly dissonant 20th-century Stravinskyesque track, and I really love it; it's called Equis:

A more typical latin-fusion plus progressive chamber elements track would be the last, with a very ungainly title, Que Locos estamos, etc.:

Check the wonderful recommendation from Tom regarding his next album Arlequinfrom cd reissue:

Gerardo Batiz - Arlequin. 1982 private.
Very nice, mellow, electric progressive rock album. The wordless female vocals, approaching Zeuhl at times, defines this mature work. Piano and bass drive the music forward, and the contents are highly melodic. At times I'm reminded of some of the "lite Zeuhl" bands coming out of France in the 1980s like Foehn or Musique Noise. I even hear some Joe Jackson, and that's meant as a compliment. For me, it's better than all the aforementioned bands, and comes recommended. Very obscure release.
Priority: 3

Here's the track I think he was referring to with the famed modifier zeuhl, which is actually most similar to the old Aksak Maboul RIO style of composed, classical chamber music (called Para las cebollas ...una historia inconclusa):

In fact I suspect this was written as an exercise in composition at the Mexican conservatory or University where he learned this astonishing craft-- given the similarity to 20th century opera, e.g., Richard Strauss.

I guess that for me, this music just hits the sweet spot so perfectly.  I grew up as a child with classical music thanks to my father but quickly got bored with what seemed simplicity in the predictable sounds of Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven.  So I became attracted to the more complex music of Bartok and Stravinsky, but in my teen years when I discovered Mingus and Miles and fusion I realized composers had taken that complexity and as it were breathed into it the warmth and soul of jazz to make it come alive.  But for many years I was waylaid by peer pressure and rock and pop, even heavy metal, before finally I discovered progressive rock and saw how everything I loved had been collected together already into this beautiful hybrid art, as if in a distillation of all of humanity's artistic skills and emotion in one. The only tragic aspect-- at least to me, not to others I recognize-- is that this perfect hybrid had been perfected 30-45 years ago, and therefore was a limited resource.
But there was so much of it made!!