Sunday 30 April 2023

Augustwolf, 1978

They made 2 albums back in the day, this is the first one. Not sure accordingly if I should buy and rip the 2nd. Unknown, and I think self-produced album headed by this musician who seems to have done little else beyond this band. It's a nice lush accessible 70's style pop-folk with commercial aor touches.

Obviously I love this kind of smooth stuff (cf. the later Batdorf Rodney), listen to the Wiseman:

Friday 28 April 2023

Love Craft - We Love You (Whoever you are) 1975, by request

From discogs:

Chicago band formed in 1975 by HP Lovecraft's drummer Michael Tegza with vocalist Lalomie Washburn.

Love Craft released their only album on Mercury Records in 1975, but the record sold poorly and, as a result, the band were dropped by their label and disbanded shortly thereafter.

In 1980, Tegza and Love Craft guitarist Frankie Capek reunited to form a second version of the band, recruiting vocalist Marc Scherer and bassist Mark Gardner to complete the line-up. With a repertoire consisting of contemporary pop music and older psychedelic material, the band garnered some label interest, but broke up before they had secured a recording contract, due to Scherer leaving the band.

Since then, Tegza has become a Pastor and currently lives in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Some lovely funky and accessible rock with vocals, very professionally played, entertaining and with occasionally the song you just want to hear again and again such as Nora:

Or Your Smile:

Note the full and all-out reliance on electric guitars and synths, so enjoyable. The singer (Lalomie Washburn) sounds a lot like Renee Geyer (RIP), doesn't she.

I remember listening to the predecessor band and being distinctly unimpressed.

Wednesday 26 April 2023

Arabesque's Tales of Power, recorded in the 1970s

Here's a great little symphonic prog rock album, with info here, that I was not aware of heretofore.

As it happens it was extensively reviewed on rateyourmusic, consider:

Arabesque is a forgotten band from USA progressive movement from the '70's. The album Tales of power is released in 2002 but containing recordings from 1973 to 1978. When I first listen to this album I was kinda shocked how '70's they sound, didn't know that this pieces are originally composed in the '70's. After digging in their history I found out that they couldn't manage to put on market the album in first place, and Shroom records trace the album and re released him in 2002. The music Arabesque plays is eleborate symphonic prog with excellent musicianship, long instrumental passages and brilliant interplay between guirat and keys. Over this instrumental arrangements the warm voice of August Smarra make this album worth investigate if you are in this kind of music. Sometimes they remind me of Genesis or Camel but not a copy , they have their own sound. All the pieces stands as good , not a weak moment. So a good album, deserve 3.5 stars for sure.

I agree that it's about a 3.5, no higher than that, a bit oversold. The sound of the recording is not ideal at all which for me detracts quite a bit from the enjoyment, given everything is somewhat lacking in clarity.  It sounds also like the great US Cathedral's Stained Glass Stories at times-- but don't get too excited, the compositions are obviously not as strong.  The singer rolls his r's in typical ersatz Genesis style, we have unusual key changes, hammond organ and synths, abrupt rhythm changes, etc.

As the Novelty Wears:

Monday 24 April 2023

Hummingbird 3 albums (1975 to 1977)


British-american band, discogged here, formed in 1974 by Bobby Tench.  

These guys did a nice smooth and easy on the ears mixture of pop funk songs with fusion in a highly technically competent manner.

From the 1st album from the middle of that great musical decade, Horrors is a bright little instrumental with some nice chord changes, love that funk-fusion mix that Brecker Bros did so well:

From the 2nd, Gypsy Sky:

From the last album, Anaconda:

Quite a bit of nice music to enjoy on these forgotten LPs.

Friday 21 April 2023

Etienne Cap Orchestra's Flight of Fancy, requested [flac limited time only]

This outfit created a bunch of library records oddly enough without much information on release dates.

The Flight of Fancy turned out to be good, with some nice moments beyond the library generic.

Title track:

I also found the one he did with the Karel Krautgartner Big Band which wasn't as good.

Wednesday 19 April 2023

Enrico Intra's To the Victims of Vietnam, 1974 [with flac]


Wonderfully subtitled "Opera di musica totale"... A part of this work, one of the more serious composed works by this composer, appeared on the Consonance, Dissonance posted earlier here.  I think it was a wonderful idea to create this, and it's unfortunate that the term Vietnam Syndrome is now so lost from our collective newsworthy vocabulary.

A minor second on some elegiac strings starts this work and appears repeatedly throughout as the thematic idea, a tritone is introduced with the deeper section and builds up to crescendo perhaps offering us a musical representation of the slow but steady buildup of death and war that was a feature of this crazy decadal period when, if you might recall, or ever learned, the thought that countries were like dominos that would topple throughout the world leading to communism taking over everywhere was predominant.  I think we should switch 'communism' with 'autocracy' and get scared again because there's a whole new set of dominos ready to knock over us.

There is a nice mix here of the orchestral, the classical composed stuff that is, with fusion rhythms although it never gets funky or electrified overly. The first movement introduces a bit of fusion but simplistically, the second has a nice atonal piano solo, the third kind of reaches a happy climax with a jazz band and sax solo.  Then there is a kind of throwaway track for me which is the electronic section, basically musique concrete with nothing to hold on to in terms of tonality or melody.

The 5th which is the 4th Movement combines all the preceding strands (piano, orchestra, fusion) nicely into one kind of climax before the Finale just repeats the minor second and tritonal dissonances for the twentieth (haha) or last time.

Still, I would love to know if there's anything as nice as Paopop left in that discography to be discovered!  This was a happy surprise.

Tuesday 18 April 2023

More Enrico Intra: Jazz in Fabbrica (1972) and Improvisations with Markus Stockhausen (2003)

This is not databased under his moniker because it's included as his group on discogs.

The music is more experimental but in my opinion quite beautiful.  His improvisations with M. Stockhausen feature some really lovely moments, for ex. the fourth one:

Sunday 16 April 2023

Enrico Intra, with Momento and Otre il Tempo (1978) and compilation Dissonanza-Consonanza (1999)

Information on his discography here.  The album Momento Intra from 1978 is relatively generic library music with some quite nice highlights, consider the very smooth and soundtracky Nicole:

On the other hand, Otre il tempo is essentially just classical music and to me not worth listening to.  Of much more interest is the compilation of Dissonance-consonance, which definitely has some promising sounds, since it seems to highlight both the commercial and the totally noncommercial music he wrote, even along the lines of atonal modern classical.  A track derived from the 1974 To the Victims of Vietnam, sounds quite good to my tired ears:

Saturday 15 April 2023

Enrico Intra meets Gerry Mulligan, 1976


Another record from Intra, well composed music which is thoughtfully jazzy and fusion in some parts, not either too jazzy or librarish.


Thursday 13 April 2023

Enrico Intra's Paopop, 1975 [by request]

I was shocked that this isn't already available online, digitalized, but I'm happy to be the one to share it with everyone since this guy seems seriously underrated among library composers.  Databased here.

And indeed the music here is splendid making me wonder if there's more to discover we don't know about. It's standard library instrumental, but quite well composed and far beyond the generic.  Or may be I'm wrong and shouldn't be calling it library music at all.

October 6 is so remarkably beautiful it's almost hard to believe:

In terms of the more funky sounds, which I'm sure folks out there will go nuts over, consider Pop Jazz which opens side 2:

Note that he added on here some orchestral arrangements of classical pieces. The Prelude in D from Chopin is totally unlike any classical I've heard, it's even hard to believe it's from him:

As is typical for these Italian records unfortunately it's criminally short.

Again, thanks to whoever out there requested this!

I 'll be back shortly with the more common records from him that are already online.

Wednesday 12 April 2023

Polish Novi Singers ( “New Original Vocal Instruments”)

Almost all the albums feature cover versions of ultra-frequentist radio pop hits including an entire one devoted to Bacharach, of all people.

However with the enlistment in composition of singer Parzynski and famed keyboardist Karolak, who has appeared here before on this blog, the level of composition goes through the roof, as you can tell from this track:

With this kind of writing I don't get why they limited themselves to covers.

I guess there's a bit of that really highly irritating jazz vocal styling a la Urszula Dudziak that I detest but I don't mind putting up with it for a bit of that beautiful electric pianowork from Karolak.

The full database credits for this remarkable album appear on this page.

Monday 10 April 2023

The Curse of Sisyphos, 1983

Great cover drawing, of course.  

Their second album, for me it was somewhat disappointing compared to the first. Starting track:

Saturday 8 April 2023

Sisyphos' Sitting on a Fence, 1984 [by request]

Info here.  This album is noticeably better than the preceding post which came a year later.

Sere Sta 50 mg is definitely bizarre:

Friday 7 April 2023

Sisyphos' Practice in Tolerance, 1985 [by request]


Recall I posted their first album here (so long ago now it almost seems like a dream to me), this is their fourth release as you can see discogged here.  I really loved Mujokan which appeared back here and I still think maybe it's their best work--except for a wonderful outlier which appeared more recently and that I'll present at the end--stay tuned for that one.  I'm going to try to complete their huge and mostly unknown discography as best I can esp. the older albums, not necessarily the CDs from later which you can purchase.

So this album from 1985 is more basic, some standard chord changes and melodies with very little in the way of progressive music. It's all electric guitar based, nothing acoustic nor keyboard.

Amazingly they took the lyrics for the old standard Elvis' Heartbreak Hotel and put it over a doomy Black Sabbathy E minor riff with a totally different melody, to create something truly bizarre which you really have to hear to believe:

Setting aside that oddity consider the track called Dead Duck for the kind of music we're talking about here:

You might agree with me that the songs don't seem as developed as one would like, or as one knows they were able to achieve in the later Mujokan days.  

More to come-- lots more...

Wednesday 5 April 2023

Batdorf and Rodney, part 2

So as you see prior to the OG 3 albums, someone dug up some demo-type recordings Live from Las Vegas in 1970 which are just the two of them plus guitars, very basic and simple, unfortunately for me marred by the poor quality of the sound recording (on two track tape it says), and a live session from 1975 which is also somewhat poorly recorded but does have a band (or just a bassist?) augmenting the sound.  On both of these there are tracks which didn't appear on the original 3 masterpiece official releases so for completists, it's heavenly to find these.  

From the latter, the 'tricky folk tuned' lovely Where are you now my love:

Sounding a lot here like David Crosby.

Then in 2007 they released Still Burnin' which features some more original compositions though mostly replays of old hits.

I want to mention 3 other things, the band Silver which released one album, and which was mostly written by Batdorf (who also penned most of the music for the duo). This album notably went all out into the commercial 70s pop, with keyboards replacing the double-guitars and four-part harmony vocals, for ex. the song about being a musician gives you an idea:

As well, from the VA Earl's Closet compilation (unreleased southern folk tracks from the seventies), Rodney's song about California appears:

Then in a compilation called Portfolio, someone (god bless them or rather 'em) dug up 4 more unreleased demo tracks from Batdorf, one of which is really outstanding, called Play, with its almost ethereally beautiful acoustic guitarwork:

Those 4 bonus tracks are included in the folder for the Live 1975. If anyone wants, I can also upload the compilation but the rest of the songs can be found on the other albums I upped.

God bless those guys, forever and ever...