Wednesday 31 January 2024

Amazingly another Jerzy Gorka Artkiestra (masterpiece): Struktury from 2008


Do dreams really come true?  In this case, yes. 

My friend magically found another work from him that is almost as compelling as the earlier Drugie, posted back here as a holiday treat (amazingly, that link has still persisted after so many weeks, like a henna tattoo, despite the best efforts the AI deleter/ 'destroyer of worlds').

The first track is a 'side-long' piece of music filled with spoken passages, and it would be great to remove those to focus on the music, but no matter, it's amazing to hear something so well-composed in today's much debased / degraded / senescent Taylor Swift and The Weeknd (of whatever) world, as if we were back at the Garden of Eden selecting vegetables to pluck and cook a divine meal with. It would be nice as well to have some background regarding what this work is all about, and probably someone can enlighten us in comments below.

Tylko Spokoj, indubitably sounds like something off a late seventies progressive fusion LP:

A track translated as Thoughtlessness on Five


Gotta love that dissonant and meandering riff, full of energy and intriguing originality, played in quasi unison with bass, a drum, and synths!

As foretold more information from our dear knowledgeable contributor:

Jerzy Górka Artkiestra is a project from Poland founded by the former drummer of Golem, Jerzy Górka.

The original ten-piece formation (in 1998) returned with only 6 former members after the dissolution of Golem in 2004.

One year later, the album „Struktury“ (= Structures) was released.

"Struktury" is an album inspired by the book "Kalkwerk" by the famous Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard. The first track: "Świnie vel Kalkwerk“ (= Pigs aka Kalkwerk), which lasts 23 minutes, uses recitations from this novel.

Unfortunately, I cannot translate the content of the quoted passage.

Thomas Bernhard is generally considered to be a provocateur and a nest-soiler.

His literature is like a rollercoaster of emotions.

He dissected the Austrian soul without moralizing. He elevated the tirade of hatred to an art form, Bernhard could rant passionately, he saw idiots, liars and Nazis everywhere. It was upsetting, it hit the mark, it caused scandals and international attention.

It can be assumed that the text used in Struktury is "typical Bernhard".

Monday 29 January 2024

Some more Masabumi Kikuchi: Hairpin Circus (posted before), With Gil Evans, End for the Beginning, But not for me, One Way Traveller

Nice Magritte reference in the above album cover.

Of course as few would recall, I posted the brilliant OST album Hairpin Circus, from 1972, back here long ago.  I really loved that one and the thought that the composer put into the more emotionally resonant fusion, the variety of sounds which of course is typical of good soundtracks (but not the typical recent Hollywood orchestral ones, yikes).

The remainder was not so impressive unfortunately, a little bit more ordinary, earlier, in the modal jazz tradition, later, in the funky fusion with boring improvs tradition. I think surely Susto is the highlight of the later Kikuchi.

Madjap Express from the One Way Traveller album:

Friday 26 January 2024

Masabumi Kikuchi in Susto, 1981 with flac

A beautiful cover painting indeed...

In discogs here, this is from 1981 and later in his career but he was quite prolific. The style is advanced fusion with some funky elements and quite similar to the preceding post of Kohsuke Mine.

Consider Snow Line:

Wednesday 24 January 2024

Kohsuke Mine in Out of Chaos (1974), Solid (1975), Sunshower (1976)


From discogs:

Japanese jazz and jazz-fusion saxophonist. Born on February 6, 1944 in Tokyo. Released his debut leader album in 1970 on japan jazz label Three Blind Mice (also TBM first release).

He left the clarinet program at his high school to turn pro in 1962 with the Blue Seven. In 1969 he earned accolades as a member of Masabumi Kikuchi 's quintet; a year later he released his first record, Morning Tide. He studied in the US for a time in the seventies, and returned to Japan in 1975 with an interest in fusion, recording Sunshower and other records as a founding member of Native Son. He worked with many jazz musicians, including Masabumi Kikuchi, Mal Waldron, Gil Evans, and Sadao Watanabe. He has more recently recorded with a standard quintet and with Masahiko TogashI's J.J. Spirits

Alias and bands: Kosuke Mine Quartet, Mine Kosuke Quintet, Kohske Mine, Native Son, Four Sounds

Recordings: Mine (1970); First (1970 with masabumi kikuchi,larry ridley,lenny mcbrowne ), Second Album (TBM 1972), Daguri (1973), Yellow Carcass in the Blue feat. Kimiko Kasai (TBM 8), Out of Chaos (1974), Solid (1975), Sunshower (East Wind 1976), Major to Minor (1993), Duo (Verve 1994), In a Maze (Verve1995), Balancez (1997), Rendez Vous (2004), Killing Floor (2004), Plays Standards (2008), With Your Soul (2011) + LPs from band Native Son (1978 onwards) and Four Sounds (90')

In his discography he appears in multiple forms or groups making it hard to discern what albums were released in the magical fusion period of roughly mid seventies, nonetheless these 3 that I found are quite impressive. As one might expect from the paucity of tracks on each album (typically 3-4) there is a lot of that improvisation typical of true boredom oops sorry I meant to say, true jazz. 

There is quite a bit of fusionary exploration but also some laid back meditative stuff with those long melodic sax lines that recall old movies like Taxi Driver.

I was a little worried about the track called Sunshower which so often is a cloying ballad type of representation but his shows some really dissonant funky riffs and intense energy with the synths shimmering a la Herbie Hancock adding that lovely summer sound (which we are so missing at this time in the Northern section of this spheroidal planet):

Note from this particular release page that the track was written by Kohsuke.

Monday 22 January 2024

Heavy Metal Sextet, 1984


From discogs:

Polish jazz fusion group formed in 1982 by Mariusz Bogdanowicz. The band suspended its activities in late 1984 but reformed in 2011.

On the dial from jazz to fusion, acoustic to electric, these guys are dallying a little too much on the former side than I'd like, esp. on side 1, despite the name, which turns out to be entirely misleading really. Was it a joke or ignorance?

Here's the terminal track, and in my not so humble opinion the best one, Chwytna Pieta, by Bodganowicz

Friday 19 January 2024

Jorg Neissner's Date, Germany 1982

Apparently his only album, he was a German guitarist. 
The work contained herein is electric guitar-based instrumental contemporary jazz plus hints of fusion with occasionally some atmospheric sounds and more composed, creative fusionary elements.
His Seagull, who is reflective, meditative and a bit melancholy and lonely, sounds very much unlike any seagull I have ever seen myself near to any body of water to speak of and in fact they are customarily screechily annoying, insistently aggressive, and given to sociopathic bullying, in my experience:

Missing Song, for something a little more hyperthyroid:

Tuesday 16 January 2024

Japanese Arakawa Band Part 2 (Beast Must Die, Hard Boiled)

The movie for which this is a soundtrack came out in 1980 and from IMDB the plot sounds a little interesting, would be nice to see a synopsis posted as well. Even for an OST it's an odd mixture of classical Chopin, orchestral boring tracks, and a bit of fusion, as on the title track with the great Arakawa Band:

Hard Boiled (1981) is for sure the fusionary masterpiece for this group, with Shadow starting things out and boy does that classic (not classical) electric guitar plus flute combo sound beautiful to these ears, wherein here it can be heard on youtube. As for the rest of the album it for the most part is up and down in greatness but has some nice tracks worth hearing and the energy level is really, much appreciated. Especially for those like me living in the Northern Hemisphere working our way through the cold, cold winter.

Monday 15 January 2024

Japanese Arakawa Band Part 1 (Lena, Bamboo)


Discogged here, this band was led by saxophonist, composer, bandleader Tatsuhiko Arakawa
Brief bio:

Tatsuhiko Arakawa (荒川達彦) is a Japanese flutist, saxophonist, composer and arranger. Born September 12, 1944 in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture.

Started his professional career in 1964 as a member of the Blue Coats Orchestra with Shigenori Ohara, then in 1967 with Tadao Kitano and Arrow Jazz Orchestra. In 1970, he formed his own quintet. In 1974, he traveled to the United States to learn how to arrange music, eventually returning to Japan in 1978. He formed The Great American Music Band in 1979, which was renamed to Arakawa Band in 1980.

Sadly the band only released 3 albums (you can add a 4th which is the OST in the next post) from 1979 to 1981 which however are perfectly played and really quite beautiful.

From the Lena album, I selected Funky Fanky & not just from the music but from the name itself you can glean an idea of what the music is like:

From Bamboo which is for some reason distinctly inferior and less fusionesque, the title track:

Saturday 13 January 2024

Another Children of the Mist, by Yellow Autumn 1977


I guess these unknownsters made only one album back in the later 70s when folky stuff like this was getting a bit unfashionable, and even odder is that they sound a lot like the much earlier Comus. In this case describing the music as 'crazy psych' is a bit more apposite though it could've been a little bit crazier for the purposes and tastes of this blog.  Some aspects resemble Jethro Tull too like so much Renaissance-styled folk from the era (well, 1977 is a bit late for this style).  Anyways, for that reason I thought it held quite a bit of interest for us.

The oddly titled Mithril Melon with both female and male vocals mixed up:

The Comus-like aspects  on the song called Energy:

Thursday 11 January 2024

Aditus - 2 (VEN - 1979)

 Over 14 albums, Aditus' style has ranged from symphonic prog to pop. This record, though, is fusion. At times, it's not far off from Tristan's Solaris post.

Wednesday 10 January 2024

David Anderson's Children of the Mist, 1971 as requested


Really it's impossible to know what you're going to get with these old folk albums which sometimes blow us away even though they're invariable described as 'crazy psych' when promoted / advertised.

However, a really beautiful cover here.

David Anderson only made this one record, back in 1971.

First track and title track:

Sunday 7 January 2024

Burning Men Solaris Super Session 2 (1978), by request


Thanks for requesting this, all you who did so, because it turns out this is by far the best album.

There are only 5 long tracks with one cover version (Feel Like Making Love) but the instrumental fusion is really lovely to look at here.  Note the involvement of many Japanese jazz/fusion luminaries such as Isao Suzuki and Kohsuke Mine the sax player. It wasn't long ago I featured the former in a bunch of posts that I really loved, back here for ex. The latter played on the amazing OST for the racing movie, Hairpin Circus, remember that one?

Title track, which starts off this wonderful party, and here I hear distinct hints of the mid-seventies masterpieces in this style featured on the LPs of Herbie Hancock esp. with the layered synthwork:

This time I'll really put limited time only owing to the rarity of this recording, although go ahead and request again and again, as it seems the AI deleting comments is always a little step behind us such as was the case with Deep Blue and chess grandmasters, though it will be soon enough in our very near future, as the tech bro visionaries warn us, when AI will overtake us-- unfortunately no chance AI will help us solve the political problems we are facing in the future, in fact I believe they will make some of them worse (eg war), and I'm pretty sure those are the problems that will eventually defeat us in the end...

Recall the other Burning Men albums were posted in comments before but I'll repost here.

Friday 5 January 2024

Bassist Witold Szczurek in Basspace, 1984

Here's a lovely masterpiece that most have known about from before. The compositions are intricate, involved, complex, occasionally dissonant, and unbelievably emotional as well. As I always say, the bowed bass playing or perhaps cello sometimes adds a very plaintive sound to just about every melodic structure.

The opener, White Song

Fifteen Questions:

Note that he made a simpler, contemporary jazz type follow up which is not as good although it does feature quite complex compositions too.
And wow, another year over...

Wednesday 3 January 2024

Om - Solar Wind, 1981, from Japan


Going into a new year again I'm actually quite shocked there is still music to post here. 

Of course in the last year I cheated a bit by posting more recent music which I shouldn't have--and whose links were duly removed by that AI going around blogger for copyrights, god bless computer intelligence (as I said about covid-19: who needs yet another threat to human civilization, we already have enough to deal with).

But a couple of years ago I thought I was for sure going to run out of music to find and post but it was not to be. It's true that in English speaking countries it's rare to find something new but all over the world as we saw there are musicians and composers who forged the most amazing creative art, witness these fusion albums that I never heard of, from Japan, and I gather most of you had never heard of either. In the end it's more a matter of knowing what to look for, because really where are we going to look? Discogs is not too useful so I have to rely on people's recommendations, which is why I encourage you to provide more of those, some of them have been extraordinary to say the least (e.g. Yuri Chugunov). Who knows where are the lost music might be, still undiscovered?

Thanks to everyone who helped find these.

And let's look forward to more great unknown music not just for next year but for years to come...

The only album, which came out in 1983, from this astonishing group that is best succinctly described as a Japanese Oregon, a discovery from my friend to whom I would have to give profuse thanks for the finding... A little more info on this page, it's difficult to tell who to give compositional credit to. How tragic, again, that this music is totally lost to time. Even in the early 1980s of course it must have been highly unfashionable listening and to be honest, puzzling to even imagine what appreciative connoisseur would have enjoyed this mixture of complex chamber music with ethnic jazz, playing professionally and beautifully by highly competent musicians of course.  (I think I would've but it was utterly out of reach for me since Japanese art music was not available in the last bit where I grew up.) 

As a taste consider the track called Samarkand (which to remind you is a city in Uzbekistan):

Can't resist posting another wonderful track called Pan's Fountain:

The whole album thus is like this. I've posted similar stuff all over this blog, with the mildly ethnic chamber music folky compositions, my favourite is still French LBC Baobab and US Lothlorien. So I guess, favourites would be a better word.

Monday 1 January 2024

Ulisses Rocha in 3 (Alguma Coisa, Casamata, Caminhos Cruzados)

From database:

 Brazilian guitarist born on November 23, 1960 in Rio de Janeiro. He was a member of the guitar trio D'Alma, started playing Brazilian jazz but gradually moved in the 90's towards a more new age, ambient influenced music, also experimenting a lot on the sound(s) of his instrument. He is also performing a lot on classical guitar.

Actually we already encountered him before in connection with the all-guitar band D'Alma (with Geraissati, here). Obviously, I was led to these after the post of Workshop in Rio.

I was stunned by his first solo album, Alguma etc., which although not quite as great as the Andre G. stuff is almost as good, and lacking any of that oh so rote and conventional Brazilian / Latin / Bossa Nova crappy bouncy dumb rhythmic circle of 5ths poppy style.

Title track from that first one:

I stopped listening to these after the first 3 albums, perhaps I shouldn't've. Who knows?