Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Muffins : Air Fiction

The Muffins' privately released limited edition second album from 1979, recorded live one side in front of an audience, the other in the studio. Made for a special occasion and sold at concerts and by mail order only. Not as polished as their studio albums, it showcases their less Canterbury, more (often rough and/or humorous) improvisational side. It seems the Muffs themeselves are not very proud of this record, since there is not even a hint of a reissue, nevertheless it's a valuable (and long unavailable) part of the history of this great group.
Note: They've fairly recently reformed after a gap almost 20 years long, and are very active - two new albums, a DVD and concerts, so catch them if you have a chance!

Fiction

Various : Iowa Ear Music

Largely forgotten classic of improvised music from 1976, credited to the Iowa Ear Ensemble but it's in fact more of a sampler - tracks from different sources, different combinations of musicians mostly non-related and collected from a lengthy timespan (1967-76) assembled together to make an organic whole. Not jazz, though it got max rating in Downbeat magazine, closer to the free spirit of the Tuscaloosa, Alabama scene of the time (Trans Museq, Blue Denim Deals, Raudelunas). A never reissued artifact from the time when musical experimentation was truly exciting and groundbreaking and also a great listening pleasure.
You can find at Discogs a detailed lengthy account of who played what, where and when on this record.

Iowa

Fred Frith : Peel Sessions

Prime Frith found recently on the net, never knew it existed. 4 elsewhere unavailable electric guitar solos plus one for violin, recorded for John Peel in December 1974 with Dagmar Krause (vocal on two tracks) and a credited but undetectable Anthony Moore on keys. Similar to his brilliant Guitar Solos album, these are explorations beyond the limits of the guitar. Enough said. A master at work.

Freel

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Chris Fraser : Archaeology

The self-released solo album of Chris Fraser (guitarist of Unrest, Work & Play) from 1989. Home recordings of songs, firmly in the great U,W&P style, slowly revealing layers of depth after repeated listening. All instruments & singing by Chris. No commerce, just sincere self-expression & talent. No one makes albums like this any more...

Archae

Friday, January 26, 2007

Monday, December 25, 2006

Officer! : Ossification

Mick Hobbs and a loose list of guests including Felix Fiedorowicz, Andy Bole, Cath Jauniaux, Tom Cora, Zeena Parkins, Georgie Born and the rest of The Work in 14 toe-tappers with arrangements ranging from complex chamber-rock to Incredible String Band influenced folk. And all things between. A couple of cuts with string-quartet backing. As idiosyncratic as you would expect from a gathering of such characters. You know the phrase: Pop music as it should be - meaningful, intelligent and entertaining. May i ask why this is not reissued yet?
Note: Keep an eye on the link below for a promised reissue!

Vinyl out now!

Lifetones : For A Reason

Ok. This is what i've been waiting for. Went through some trouble finding this, gathering it finally from three different sources. An important addition to round-up the story of This Heat, guitarist (and more) Charles Bullen's first solo release from 1983. Six songs done by the man himself, lacking perhaps the sharp focus and intensity of Heat but compensating with added warmth and a more personal angle. Very dub influenced, showing also his interests towards more dance-hall oriented music.
My favourite post so far, dedicated to all dead blogs.

Reason

Amos & Sara : Sara Goes Pop

After leaving the Homosexuals in 1981, the man of hundred pseudonyms, L.Voag (aka Amos) went into a creative overdrive, releasing about a dozen of solo/collaborative albums in the first half of the eighties, mostly ultra-rare hand-made cassette-only releases. For this one (and a couple more of cassette and vinyl e.p.'s) he teamed up with singer Sara and, as the title suggests, this may be their/his most accesible work and a good place to start investigating (here is a very helpful discography overview and a rare in-depth explanatory interview for the interested). His work is completely original and not sounding like anybody else, comparable only to early Residents in approach & excellence. Coloured-vinyl double 7" in hand silk-screened cover, later (or was it first?) released also on cassette with a lot of added material. Glorious lo-fi. Amos is currently working as a member of the excellent Die Trip Computer crew.
Note: There is a similar post to this with some interesting rant, but no music.

Sara

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Various : The Different You

A stand-out in the vast sea of tribute albums, this is an Italian compilation of covers of Robert Wyatt songs. Some old names (Area, Battiato), some new ones (Christina Dona, CPI) and some lesser known ones, covering a good selection of the man's work from all stages, done with care and respect. Some covers got the 'modern' treatment, but it sounds ok. 18 songs in all and a lot of playing here. Featuring Wyatt himself with his own cover of an Italian song.
As far as i know, this was released at the same time as the truly great, not-to-be-missed video documentary on Wyatt titled Little Red Riding Hood.
There is also a good French Wyatt tribute to put up later...

Different

Hans Reichel & Eroc : Return Of Onkel Boskopp

A collaboration between long-time pals Eroc, drummer of German prog monsters Grobschnitt and guitarist, instrument builder and inventor genius Hans Reichel, father of the daxophone. Originally i was pondering on putting up some of Reichel's 'usual' guitar and dax improv albums, but then, this one is for me way stranger than anything he ever did. For it contains some the most straightforward playing you'll ever get from the man. Rhythms with lots of guitar/daxophone and also some violin & accordeon overdubs. At times it sounds like some prog music gone wrong. Or something like that. It was originally released in '86 under the title Kino. Reworked a bit, renamed & two songs added ten years later for this CD reissue. Judging from the look on their faces on the cover pic, they had a great time making it...
Check also Reichel's site, it's one of the funniest & best looking i've ever seen.

Onkel

Hellebore : IL Y A Des Jours

Hellebore's only release, from '84. Sound firmly in the tradition of classic second-wave RIO groups. One of many groups guitarist and keyboardist Denis Tagu played in the 80's (the others were Look De Bouk, Toupidek Lemonade, Szentendre). All instrumentals. Similar to, say, Look De Bouk, the music is deceivingly effortless at the surface, moving from simple to complex and back with ease. Some other references could be Etron Fou, even This Heat. This is one of those albums that mature with time into hidden classics, personal favourites. Also sports one of the best covers of all time, courtesy of the Biota/Mnemonists visual department.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Momes : Spiralling

Kind of a super-group made of half of The Work (Tim Hodgkinson & Mick Hobbs) and half of Unrest, Work & Play (Andy Wake). Sounds exactly as a combination of these two great groups, with a very live, even punky sound. Urgent, demanding. This, their only release, is from 1989 just before the reunion of The Work for the Rubber Cage album.

Spiralling

Peter Blegvad : Peter Who?

A unique promo CD issued by Silvertone in 1990 to augment Peter Blegvad's beautiful King Strut album. Contains all kinds of wonders: songs, demos, interviews, jingles, jokes, rants even an explanation on the pronounciation of the Blegvad family-name, all mixed in a radio-work kind of way. Full length, 42 mins, assembled with the help of Andy Partridge. Witty and intelligent like everything by Peter.

Peter

Joseph Racaille : 6 Petites Chansons

The silent half of the French duo ZNR with a rare 33 rpm 7" issued by Recommended in '83. Spent a whole afternoon cleaning this one up (hope i haven't ruined it)! Short songs in usual tres charmant style with great arrangements, echoing Satie, show-tunes, etc... Racaille is a remarkable character, good news is that i've located some more of his rare solo releases, will post them all in the future.

Chansons

CW Vrtacek : Now Available

Charles Vrtacek (O'Meara) the erstwhile selfproclaimed 'president of the avantguarde' and more recently guitarist/composer of Forever Einstein made this serious/funny parody of The Residents somewhere in the early 80's (when they were still meaning something), around the time of his 1st two fine home-made solo albums Victory Through Grace and Days And Days. Very brief (10+ mins) cassette only rarity. And curiosity.

Available

Some News

Sorry folks, i was away for a while...
The recent change of politics at Rapidshare caused a small panic in blogland, a lot of posts have been deleted. To avoid further trouble i changed to Megaupload (though in the meantime Rapidshare returned with a new address and even better terms, so it seems this all was a false alarm). It works fine to me, no problems up & downloading, so i'll stick with it for the time being. If you are experiencing any difficulties with this server please let me know and we'll try to sort things out.
Now for the real news...
Ad Hoc announced the reissue of the 1st two Work classics, Slow Crimes and Rubber Cage, both remastered, digipacked, etc... Advance orders can be taken at ReR Mega or Rer USA. Megacorp will also soon reissue Picchio Dal Pozzo's Abbiamo Tutti... album. This means that all these will no more be available at this blog. Strong recommendations to purchase these CD's! Same regarding the Faust book, Stretch Out Time 1970-75 which is out now and available from Amazon, or even better, from the source. Not expensive and you'll need it...
Speaking of Faust, their long awaited studio album of new material is finished and should be out in early 2007. Produced by Mr. Stapleton of NWW. You can can get it direct from the art-errorists...
So, that's about it. Take care & keep your ears open!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Schismatics : Vazen Vol

Not to be confused with the Seattle trash/punk band of the same name. This is Han Buhrs' (later frontman of the mighty Palinckx) early group with three vocalists, violin, cello & some percussion. Live recordings with very interesting arrangements and vocal accrobatics to the fore. Kind of avantgarde vocal music. With humour. Rare Dutch CD.

Vazen

Iva Bittova & Pavel Fajt : Bittova & Fajt

This Checzh duo of singer/violinist (and actress) Iva Bittova and drummer extraordinaire Pavel Fajt caused a small sensation in European festival-circles upon their arrival in the late eighties with a beautiful mixture of poetry, folk elements and a distinct Checzh style of songwriting underlined by Fajt's subtle & inventive drumming style. Released in 1987, this is my favourite album by the multi-talented Bittova, who very quickly became a worldwide 'new music' star. She made a couple more albums with Fajt & the group Dunaj and has a pretty rich solo discography.
The Checzh music scene is incredible, perhaps the strongest in Continental-Europe. There are great groups too numerous to mention and well worth of thorough investigation (you can try Tamizdat for this).

Darek

Ne Zhdali : Rhinoceroses And Other Forms Of Life


Long time 'new music' festival favourites from Estonia. No studio record captures quite the wild energy of their live shows. This is their official first album from 1990 (actually, there was a 'real' first called She Ye Ye recorded in 1988 but released after this one) and is a nice try. From the heroic days of Eastern-Block RIO groups. Still active but records very sporadically. Guitarist Leonid Soybelman has also a succesfull solo carreer.
Note: Check Comments section for further download possibilities (Mr.Lucky, where are you?)

Rhinos

Eugene Chadbourne : The English Channel

The good Dr.Chadbourne's early 1978's free-improv big-band extravaganza, after a couple of solo guitar albums. All-star lineup (they're all here: Frith, Zorn, Cora, Williams, Smith, Kondo, Ostertag, etc... all in all some 17 strong including our hero) that sounds like, well, Eugene Chadbourne. There is no one else like him.
Thanks for whoever did this very nice vinyl rip. This was a great find for me, because there is (and won't be) no CD reissue of this historic album. The masters are lost and anyway Mr. Chadbourne seems to prefer an 1981's cassette reworking of it.

Channel

Faust: : V

In 1974, totally stressed out by the tiresome touring & general 'rock lifestyle' their signing with Virgin brought upon them, Faust took a one-year sabbatical to lick their wounds & regroup. In 1975 they gathered in Munich to record material for their next Virgin album. Or they thought so. Virgin by then didn't want to have anything with these troublemakers & cut the money flow. The group even ended up in jail (a first hand account can be read at the Wfmu's, also at the most excellent Faust site) and subsequently fell apart. So, there was no fifth album. But the advance promo tapes came out and that's what we have today as evidence of this great 'lost' album. And it's great, indeed. It's a shame this didn't came out as a proper release, for i think that it would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the first two classic Faust albums. Anyway. There are several versions of this tape in circulation, this one i choosed to put up here for you is the basic promo-tape extended with some more material from the same sessions. About half of this was released in the late eighties by Recommended as part of the 'Munich & Elsewhere' compilation. Here is the whole thing, and more.
After an early-90's reunion, Faust is still active and making great music. In fact, so active that today there are two 'versions' of Faust, both led by core-members, that peacefuly coexist. They were always unique...
Picture: Faust in London's Covent Garden circa 1972/73 with Peter Blegvad & Uli Trepte. Watch out for the forthcoming book!

V

Arcane Device : Improvisations For Feedback

Arcane Device is a pseudo for sound/mulimedia artist David Lee Myers' project of 'feedback-music', music generated by interconnecting the inputs & outputs of several effects devices and shaped at the mixing board. So there are no 'real' instruments. It's a kind of 'no-input electronics' approach pursued by some of today's minimal/electronic musicians, only he pioneered it. But don't be frightened. This is enjoyable and posesses a rare purity of sound. Ghost music?
Improvisations For Feedback was a double 7" released by RRR in '88 and is his first release (i think). It is also included in the CD reissue of his first proper LP Engine Of Myth by Megacorp. I found this out too late, post already prepared & uploaded. So, i did it again... What can i say - buy the CD!

Arcane

Bob Ostertag

On the great Detritus site (mentioned earlier) can be found this interesting announcement that deserves to be highlited:
Premier sample/electronic artist Bob Ostertag is offering on his site all his albums (the ones that he owns the rights to) for a free download. Please read first his spot-on & brilliant argumentation and then browse through the albums. I wish only if more artists could operate on such high level of consciousness... What a guy!