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.


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).


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?)


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.


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!


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!


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!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Slapp Happy : Moon Lovers Nights

Now, here's a little something...
Couldn't believe my ears when i first heard this beautifuly recorded, at times crystal-clear sounding bootleg recording from Slapp Happy's 2000's Japan tour. All the 'hits' are here and more (they even did my fave In The Sickbay). You have the feeling of being there, Dagmar singing in your face. There are two sets so a lot of songs are duplicated, but you won't mind. Just beautiful!
You can find a Slapp Happy discography overview here (and don't miss their incredible lyrics!)


Wha Ha Ha : Shinu Toki Wa Betsu

Recommended issued in mid-eighties two important records by Japanese artists: After Dinner and a compilation from Wha Ha Ha's three album's. Bear in mind that that was more than 10 years before the Japan-craze that still lingers today. In those days we knew nothing obout their music scene. This is a straight reissue of Wha Ha Ha's first album and it sounds today as fresh as ever. Brilliantly played and produced and featuring the great drummer & main man Senba also of Haniwa Chan (does anyone have Kanashi Bali or Haniwa All Stars?). Strange mixture of lounge music/Zappa/some spanish rhythms and experiments. Patented Japanese very detailed and clear sound.


John Oswald : Plexure

This is generaly regarded as sampling maestro Oswald's best work. Split-second samples of several hundreds of widely known hits (from Madonna to Milli Vanilli via Springsteen) but you have no time enough to recognize them. On-and-off available expensive Japan 1993 issue (double-CD price for 22 minutes of music - one can say 'it's worth it' but it will still be too much). A masterpiece of sorts, for sure. Don't miss also Oswald's other site, you can get there (among lots of great reading) a free download of his infamous 'banned' Plunderphonic CD that started the historic judicial battle and a worldwide copyright vs. sampling debate.
Note: Just found out that you can also download his great early Mystery Tapes & Kissing Jesus In The Dark from Ubuweb. Don't miss! Same also on the very interesting Detritus site archives, with some more similar stuff, incl. the truly great Negativland's U2 EP (thanks, Mr.Lucky for this!)


Zga : Riga

One more of my favourite groups. Zga came from Latvia (they've relocated since to Russia) and this is a recent Russian CD reissue of their first (and for me also the best) album originally issued by Recommended in 1989. The tracks were recorded in 1987 and 1988 in a public apartment, played mostly on home-made scrapyard instruments (metal plates, springs, wood) amplified and recorded direct to a stereo tape deck. This is very serious and powerful music, extremely inventive and deserves anyone's attention. The reissue contains also some extra material reportedly from even earlier. Unfortunately it seems that this particular CD is totaly unavailable outside Russia. So, you can get it here. The group is still active and going strong. Thanks goes again to Hrempe for suggesting this.


The Work : See

Third and final studio release by this extremely important group. Somewhat murkier sound than before but here is where they found their singular unified voice as a group. May be their best ever, though it's really hard to pick.

Out now on Cd, don't miss!

Gareth Williams : Flaming Tunes

In 1981 Gareth Williams left This Heat for a 1-year stay in India to pursue some of his other interests and with a notion to continue his work with the group when he's back. That sadly never happened. Instead, here is his 1985 released cassette-only solo outing heavily influenced by this trip. Lo-fi home recordings of great songs in Heat style but mellower, more personal and more ethnic-oriented. This should've been re-released long time ago, along with other works by him - he was making music up to the very end...
Note: Great news at last! It seems that the Flaming Tunes album will finally get the long overdue proper Cd treatment. Check here and don't hesitate to buy! And while you're there, you can also check Matt Leer's beautiful song by song rendition of the entire Flaming Tunes (search for Diamond Age).

It's Out Now!

Bing Selfish : Ego Tripper

Hmmm... Sorry folks for not being able to add the usual comments to these posts last night. To put this right, let's start with...
Your favourite politico/constructivist/existentialist pop star (with an attitude) Mr. Bing himself with one of his earlier attempts to stardom. Cassette only release. An armchair-anarchist, the last of the bohemians, crown prince of avantgarde pop? Enough? And it's all true! Check him out. I think we should be thankful that he's still trying... You can read some more about him here, and please bear in mind that he's just a regular guy, like you & me...