Monday 27 February 2017

Sage's Emancipated released Italy 1972

A simply stunning album when taken on its own terms, a vinyl obtained from my friend and shared with the kindness of an open heart-- made all the more generous by the price at which it's sold sometimes...

Despite the crazy, perhaps a teeny bit childish cover, the contents actually reveal soul-pop with some slight progressive moves here and there, a diminished arpeggio here, an odd chord combination there.  There is some information in the database already, and you can see it's relatively popular on RYM.  The high rating is well deserved but oddly enough no one has yet reviewed it, though I am sure someone will soon after today.

So let's go all out with a warm Motown soul embrace on Did you ever wonder:

Of course we're reminded of those oldsters like Jackson Five, Temptations, Marvin Gaye, the earliest Diana Ross, etc.  Note the exceptionally attractive orchestration and the beauty of the harmony vocals.  Then, the end uses a minor second chord switch and bass solo to wrap it all up.  Surprisingly good songwriting on a super-rarity.  That track by George Chandler, who grew up in Alabama, presumably with Charlie Cannon, the other principal songwriter represented here, and together with another yank called Stanley Evans they wrote all the great music for this LP-- which was recorded in Italy.  Odd?

Now let's go to the Garden of Boom:

The best track by Charlie.  And you'll agree it is really a nice song indeed.

Again, check the price of the copy for sale.  Admittedly, it's from Italy, a country in which all records are sold at a markup of at least 500 percent, but don't usually arrive if sent by mail, where the mafia usually builds buildings, and does the garbage pickup for you, or doesn't, fittingly, and the president has orgies every weekend with teenaged hookers (does that even make sense?) ...  and at one time 2000 years ago, they ruled the entire Mediterranean rim like a bathtub's uncleanable scum line but now are reduced to stealing cents from tourists by secretly short-changing them at cafes.  So it's not the usual kind of nation we are accustomed to.

Two in a row straight outta Italy this week. And next week, we're moving on to the former soviet area, where it's even less likely you'll receive in the mail that scratchy overpriced record you bought...

Friday 24 February 2017

Allee Willis's 2 LP Sampler / Compilation from 1979

Again, thanks to the anonymous requester earlier who brought this artist to my attention.  And while I'm at it, thanks to all those who requested some pretty fabulous artists in the lifetime of this blog, most especially the recent finds of Simon and Bard, a totally neglected band indeed.

After the first record from Allee (that song Childstar should've been a megahit!) I was intent on collecting more if more there was.  This particular album with the plain black cover I presumed was privately pressed, since it mostly consisted of demos, but it turns out it was produced by Irving as can be seen on this page.  And that label was responsible for some pretty big blockbusters.

As usual, from the blurb on the back:

"Allee had three top 10 singles in 1979.  EW&F's September, M. Nightingale's Lead me On, and EW&F with the Emotions'  Boogie Wonderland...  [all of which appear here save the latter in a different version.]

"The songs in this two record set include a sampling of successful recordings as well as an extensive group of new songs, which appear as demos and await commercial recording. They represent some of Allee's finest work and give credence to her reputation as a songwriter adept in all areas of popular music."

Of course we are dealing with ordinary songwriting here, and in particular the pop style of the late seventies.  Not necessarily the inventiveness and quirky Laura Nyro edge to the Childstar record.  But that's OK, right?

Or is it? After listening to an hour and a half of this AM radio material I think I am convinced as always of the huge gulf that separates our taste here evident on this blog from popular music (here I invariably picture Celine Dion 'belting out' the smash hit "My heart must go on" and my own heart, of course, automatically having yet another instantaneous & fullstop cardiac arrest even while sitting hooked up to the crash cart as it drops 100,000 leagues downwards in the direction of the core of the earth...)  Anyways, when I woke up and changed those sweaty sheets I came to realize there is a song sample worth posting here, namely this one, called Come What May:

Some quick research shows this song was on a late 70s Patti LaBelle album.  In this case without a doubt the producer went overboard with the AM radio soul dreck on Patti's version and the simplicity of the demo makes it clearly superior.  I like that in the lyrics instead of the conventional type of trite Hallmark / Valentines commentary, the chorus states, somewhat defiantly

"--but I'll never be afraid of who I am, 
who I'm not, 
come what may."

Great track.

Wednesday 22 February 2017

Werup-Sjöströmgruppen's Makten Och Härligheten from Sweden 1973

Out of left field, a shockingly beautiful folk and political rock album from Sweden.  Note the expressive de Chirico shadowed by the Roman Aqueduct Pont de Garde painting.

Some information here.

I Rummet:

The track about the Pentagon is quite delightful too, would love to know what he's saying, no doubt there will be a leak from within that building soon revealing that the Trump administration's Oval Office has moved the Russian embassy there:

Monday 20 February 2017

Dane Finn Savery's Dualism from 1977 [with lossless]

Anyone in the mood for some more serious music?  I know some don't have the bad habit I cultivated of a taste for modern classical, but this does have an admixture of jazz, with many Danish luminaries in supporting positions, but an ungodly 23 minutes is devoted to solo piano, which, as interestingly composed as it may be, is becoming more and more of an abomination to me as I get older-- much like Justin Bieber.

Title track:

Saturday 18 February 2017

The Fents' 1979 EP

The Fents - s/t. 1979 private (EP).
The Fents - First Offense. 1982 VIP (later on the Not Yachting label).

When I first got together with my good friend Jeff in the late 1980s, we did what any two fanatical music fans do: Bring new tunes over to discover. By that time I had a pretty decent collection of rare progressive rock LPs from Italy, Germany, France, Scandinavia, etc... and Jeff possessed a lot from the US, England and Japan. And Jeff was also way ahead of the curve when it came to fusion. I wasn't as keen on the sounds of the 1980s back then, so some of the obscurities he brought over were lost on me. The Fents "First Offense" was one of those albums. A couple of years ago, Midwest Mike sent me a pile of CD-R's and this was included amongst them. That reignited my interest...

There's no question that "First Offense" is of 1982 vintage, especially after taking in the opening track. Funky slap bass, synthesizers and slick production qualities are laid out early and offer a somewhat dubious beginning. Perhaps a First Offense indeed. But The Fents were far more interesting than that, and as the album unfolds, a sophisticated blend of instrumental jazz and rock emerges, with complicated rhythms, smoking solos, and grittier sounds. The band themselves were influenced by some of the leading fusion artists of the day like Bruford, Holdsworth and the Dixie Dregs, and those artists' fingerprints are all over this.

Perhaps even more surprising on this visit with Jeff was his rediscovery of the very rare first EP. This album contains 4 songs, and a decidedly rougher edge - more akin to the progressive rock meets fusion bands of the late 70s. A CD that contains both of these albums would be ideal. The Fents finished their career with the 1987 album "The Other Side", which I understand was pressed on CD at the time of release.  Of interest to modern progressive rock fans, keyboardist Adam Holzman now occasionally plays with none other than Steven Wilson...

Priority: 3

Typical of their Muffins-like happy bussing along is the first track on the EP (to me, superior to First Offense) something called Ladsize, by guitarist Ted Hall:  

Note on the back the thanks given to Immanuel Kant and the laws of physics...
There is some biographical information to be found here.

Bonus, their first full length album, thanks to the blogger who ripped and shared that one long ago...

Wednesday 15 February 2017

Chede Chokra's Shark Move from Indonesia 1971

This album recalls a lot the Indonesian masters Giant Step, led by the great Benny Soebarjda whom I reviewed earlier in two posts.  Of course we aren't going to get the same brilliant songwriting here, as expected.  Here's the closer:

Monday 13 February 2017

At Last! Gianni Marchetti's long sought-after Gimmick (1978)

Like the beautiful old Greek myth of Pandora's box that let out all the ills and evils for humanity, but at the bottom kept the Gods' gift of hope as a way to endure those calamities, for us, it is music that should have been placed at the bottom of the box-- so that we can face the tragedies of our lives with something beautiful and beyond this world, that takes us outside reality to a kind of human-made heaven.  Like I've said before, for us music-lovers, this is the closest we'll come to experiencing paradise.  Because it is created by the human heart, it speaks to us in a way no physical object can, because it is so supremely beautiful in such a nonconcrete way, divorced from the real things we smash into, but made from them nonetheless, it feels like we are intersecting with an imaginary world in a real slice cutting through the soul, directly touching our feelings like the hand of god...

I hate to disappoint everyone here but this album (information here) with so much hope (that 'thing with feathers') is here quite deplucked, after the brilliance of the Solstitium album we have a purely by-the-numbers library franchise, instead of the previous longest day of summer we have the winter nadir with about 17 hours of darkness to deal with.  A track called "Lagoon" is perhaps the closest we'll get to progressive songwriting of the 'April Orchestra 15' sort:

And don't ask me what the cost of investing in it was.

Friday 10 February 2017

More Thermaenius with Copenhagen Boogie from 1982

Notice that on this subsequent album, Pierre Dørge the guitarist/leader shares compositional credits with Irene Becker, pianist (who was present previously).  All the bad habits of the previous instalment are still in evidence and (un)duly entertained: the interminable jams, ridiculous almost joke-like sax solos, live acoustics and in case you didn't have enough of the silliness, overlengthy sides, yet there is a bit more experimentation and complexity to the compositions which is a welcome sound for tired ears.

First notice that each side is named after a cardinal direction e.g. side one is South with its African percussive beginning and the excellent composition on the subject of the peacock (by Becker), ending in the West-- though certainly the leaders of the UK, the USA and soon France will perhaps ignore everything except the North, to their loss, as that first Southern side is quite strong (unlike their economies).  But certainly we cannot the rest of us stand in the way of the coming of the great Middle-aged White Male Race, the future and sole hope of our species (as well as all other primate species who are now all destined for extinction), augmented perhaps with those intelligent robots we have been promised for so many decades, but which we (most of us) won't be able to afford, to 'remotely' adjust the temperature in our houses, to drive us though the traffic jams of our local cities as we go to the bank to deposit money, and to provide men with yet another outlet for their sexual proclivities (because mere unlimited free internet porn won't be enough).

And in fact I can see those futuristic robots being a bit more problematic than envisioned for example if they are enslaved on plantations, fight for emancipation in civil wars, gain the vote, and democratically overturn the human governments and then force us all to be their slaves as revenge-- for the aforementioned white middle-aged man homo medicaucasus it will be especially traumatic.  This is why I advocate for an unbreakable and long on/off switch on all those robot backsides.  Or perhaps we could force them to use those plugs with the three prongs to power themselves, so we can switch all the outlets to the two-holed kind and prevent them from plugging themselves back in if they get too rambunctious...

And perhaps I'm being too kind with a fourth country made up solely of middle-aged white men, namely Russia, which seems so embarrassed about its presence in the 21st century that it has decided with agreeable firmness to go back to the late 1800s with endemic and universal corruption, gaybashing laws, the recent decision that just allowed husbands to beat their wives, the jailing of opposition politicians (something Trump would salivate at the prospect of), the return of medieval serfhood, etc.  On a more positive note, I see today's official presidential tweet reports that bff Putin just declared: "you inspire me make my own mexico wall, but I do in Ukraine, keep nato out!  wait, why not make new berlin wall, where old wall was-- hahaha! Merkel will love this one! I make her pay for it too!!  I cut off russian gazprom!  hahaha!  is good joke when I build it, pravda? come you and me have bottle vodka and carve up old beast of europe between usa and cccp I mean mother russia, yes? big mistake you GIs make in 1945, but we correct it, we carve EU like young lamb! is good young! I like loins area! you like shoulder? chops? I got good unborn lamb--  6 months pregnant, is not abortion if it's sheep yes? is most tender! I once rip from uterus of mother sheep, like non-state journalist, whole! you try yet in Trump palace new york? now show me Ivanka Nordstrom daughter jewelry, I buy some for my 26 girlfriend... hey! you give me deal 50% off? of course, I pay in us dollar!  you think I use stupid ruble? nyet! haha! from swiss bank to swiss bank! what? you use same bank as me? we buy bank now! get rid of swiss! you want switzerland too? OK then I get Poland.  Is beautiful women there.  The Polish woman she love pornographics.  Ivanka she married?"

So here's the (presidential) Peacock in honour of them:

...oh how simple the world was back in 1982, 34 years ago...

Well, let's not forget those fears of nuclear war were pretty terrifying... remember the evil empire and star wars...

Wednesday 8 February 2017

Thermænius Live: Musikcaféen, May 28,1979, released 1980 [by request]

A very unknown band indeed.

From discogs:

Danish Fusion jazz band active late 1970's to early 1980's led by [guitarist] Pierre Dørge. Since Thermænius folded, Dørge, Irene Becker and Morten Carlsen have continued playing together. First as Dørge/Becker/Carlsen and later with Becker and Carlsen as members of Dørge's New Jungle Orchestra that was formed after Thermænius, and the three of them continuously performs as a trio.

This was their first record barely audible as live.  On the verso you will see the band is quite proud of the length of their record sides, with each being at least 26 minutes, presenting us with about 108 minutes of music in total--!

Consider the last two tracks on side A which I didn't split as they run into each other, Praeludium plus Sunrise as representative of their instrumental, improvised and perhaps slightly tentative style of fusion/jazz:

My main complaint would be their propensity to get into usually Eastern, diminished, or minor second style grooves that then drag on for far too long on the same riff or chord change as basis without any constructive development.  I suppose the idea was to provide an exact recording of a bona fide live performance, warts and all, but for that same reason I hate live records.  Too bad it couldn't be edited down to the best ideas.

More to come.

Monday 6 February 2017

The Swedish Ibis in 1980's Sabba Abbas Mandlar

Wow-- what a gorgeous cover drawing, again.

Not to be confused with the mid-70s Italian Ibis of Sun Supreme fame, which is probably far more famous, this Swedish outfit made a fantastic fusionary lava outpouring solidified onto hard vinyl back in 1974 for which I would give them full marks: 1,000,000 out of 100 as the Donald would say (depending on how early in the morning the official presidential tweet goes out), a masterpiece all the way, home run outta the ballpark back home to the fireplace in the den.  Should be taught in universities of the future as a course in how to write progressive fusion.

But less well known is their free jazz 1980 follow up with correspondingly less to offer us.  What happened?  Mystère et boule de gomme.  Notwithstanding, one fine track called Summer Eyes:

And a whole lotta noodling aiming to bore us to tears in our ears.

Friday 3 February 2017

Tears in my Ears from Denmark 1974

Have a look at this one.  Some beautiful instrumental Danish fusion not like the pastry with funky gospel tinges as if Keith Jarrett started jamming with Placebo.

A track called Egozentricks sums up the mix very nicely:

Tears made two other albums preceding this, with the first ST from 1970 being utterly forgettable and the album called Sweet Thing serving as backing band to a beautiful girl by the name of Anne Linnet.

The latter vocal album has some fine moments and is well worth seeking out, with a mix of Mary Hopkins and more driven funky sounds similar to my beloved past discovery Uschi.

Wednesday 1 February 2017

Golden Section Tokyo 1975

For those (like me) who forgot or who wish to remember, the golden section (correctly, the golden ratio) is the Ancient Greek-discovered ratio of the sum of two numbers to the larger of the two, for example, 2 and 3 to 5, then 3 and 5 to 8, etc., and it equals the irrational number 1.618...  In what sense can an irrational number (whose numbers continue on randomly for infinity) have an existence in the real world?  Whether even one infinity has any real existence in this universe is debatable, and math has created for us an endless escalating expanding (to use a tautology) infinity of infinities.  The number (of the golden ratio) obviously does exist, as it can be diagrammatically represented so easily as on the record cover drawing above, is the decimal system numeration the artefact, is the infinity representable in toto somewhere, for example the mind of God, if there is such a being, so that we can say, for example, at a certain point a thousand 0's follow each other?  These are the kinds of fascinating considerations I will surely leave to president Trump in his late-night tweets.

Moving on to the record; in the words of my extraordinary vinyl finder friend:

Kaze was a Japanese male guitar folk duo (1975-1979), and they released 5 original albums.  This instrumental album is made of Kaze's popular songs, and is an enjoyable instrumental soft fusion album, too.   Ichizo Seo was the leader [arranger] of this album. (He worked on some of Kaze's albums.)

There is a nice handful of fabulous library-style easy listening instrumental slightly progressive fusion tracks here, enough of a quantity that over the years that I've known this impossibly forgotten LP, I've built up a serious amount of enjoyment from it.  For example, Tokyo 1975:

On another track a Stevie Wondrous harmonica plays the melody, throughout, you'll be pleased by the quality of the arrangements and the absence of the usual musical cliches, and I'm sure you'll know what I mean by that.

Yet another surprise out of left field, and many many thanks to those collectors who are willing to bring to the light these dazzling sparkling gemstones, to be un-forgotten, just like the golden ratio itself.

Requests down below: