Monday, June 21, 2010

Otger Dice - Garden of Pleasure (Net 1977)

Sometimes we love an album for no reason other than that we love it, it's the idiosyncrasy of music that makes it so unique. I really really love this one, though I know some out there will consider it banal, some will find it annoying, some will think the singer has too rough a voice, but maybe someone else will agree that it's just impossible to live without and they're willing to listen to it a hundred times from now on, like I did when I encountered it. In style I think it's similar to the Kaz Lux solo album or later Brainbox with basic rock and folk sounds cooked up with a bit of progressive spice to give it some heat for those who want more mental stimulation. Some tracks actually remind me of Jackson Browne from the Late from the Sky period with that cool californial singer songwriter groove off ventura highway. As with earlier posted Memo a lot of my emotional connexion probably has to do with temporal nostalgia, lost childhood.

Let's get to the music first. Actually let's get to the talking about the music first. The first track hits us with a D minor groove and some nice space synth before the hard rock sound of Otger singing all kinds of craziness on "Trashcan:"
"Goin round in circles
waitin for a miracle
instead of the truth
lightning struck me
shattered in my eye
There is a butterfly session in the neighbourhood" (what the--?)
Well, in my opinion it sure beat Mick's lyrics from Goats Head Soup.
The second song uses an ingenious progression (in key of G) involving G maj7, D maj7, F maj7, Eflat maj7. This is the kind of unusual thinking that takes this above average rock. I like how he then puts the melody on top of this odd progression using the out-of-place D maj7 as transitional ('correct' chord should be D7).
"Flim Flam Lover" is a standout track, starts with a lovely electric piano sound (Otger playing I presume), very very reminiscent of Kaz singing on the Akkerman albums. The song could fit in well as more biography of Eli. The smooth quarter note slow rock sound never sounds as good as here with some acoustic and rhodes piano background, very subtle use of nonfuzzy electric guitar and hammond duetting with the singer. There is a beautiful drama to the whole song with guitar instrumental leading into passionate singing halfway through. I like the lyrics on this one too. "He moves out like a flash... hits the road before they do" Oh those free days of the seventies, how long ago they seem now, free love, free sex, could it really have been true and not a dream? (I wouldn't know personally of course having been a child then.)
"Dreammare" reminds me of Jackson Browne's song After the Deluge, not just because it's also in the key of G. The style is in keeping with the piano singer-songwriter stuff from the west coast. Again, it's tragic that music as well written as the perennial 'classic rock' staples is lost to any kind of sizable audience, because it's at least as good as the average Jackson Browne. Maybe what's missing is the simplicity that makes songs like "I want candy" or "I will remember you" such monster hits, people need something really repetitive and childish to enjoy music. Again, same comments I made earlier about the musical artistic 'test of time', which children's music passes but not our beloved progressive which involves real sweat labour and a lot of education.
I grant there are some throwaway blues style songs in here but this is no different from the average rock album with a few filler tracks. Several songs have the unfortunate tendency of relying too much on an I - IV chord progression.

I have trouble finding info on the man, just like with the earlier Memo.
Ratings are terrible on rateyourmusic, surprisingly to me but probably no one else. I really love the country cover with the seventies font. Boy would I love to go fishing in that creek but the way it was in the seventies, not now.


A1 Trashcan 3:00
A2 Bands And Dice 3:38
A3 Flim Flam Lover 4:38
A4 You've Got The Tools 3:31
A5 Dreammare 2:49
B1 Ridin' A Tiger 3:40
B2 See The People 5:43
B3 I Synthesize My Song 3:38
B4 Garden Of Pleasure

Bass - Paul Happener
Drums - David Kemper , Jan Pijnenberg
Guitar - Dean Parks , Eef Albers , Fred Berger
Keyboards, Vocals - Otger Cooymans*
Percussion - Victor Feldman
Producer - Bert Ruiter
Vocals - Anton Verhagen

Flim Flam Lover...


Tristan Stefan said...

apps79 said...

One of the most rare albums around!thank you!

a page with some information by Alex Gitlin:

Anonymous said...

A passionate recommendation Tristan! This is absolutely solid. I may not share your passion for this, but it is certainly not 'banal' or 'annoying' - it's good stuff. Have you had it a long time and if so does it tap into personal memories? That's always that extra dimension to any listening experience, if this doesn't sound too banal! Thanks for the share, MF

Anonymous said...

Thnxs... that was long ago :)

Anonymous said...

Nog steeds kippenvel!!!!
Anton heb ik nog zien optreden in (waarschijnlijk) zijn eerste bandje (even de naam kwijt) en daarna met JUG Session. Hij is een van de meest ondergewaardeerde zangers in Ned.
Geweldige site!!!
Piet van Rosmalen

Anonymous said...

This was one of my favorite albums year ago when I found it in a secondhand bin. Different cover though. I still have the vinyl copy somewhere. A great album. Thanks!!!

Harmonium said...

Please, repost this.
I love that fender rhodes electric piano
It's Dean Parks on guitar
Bert Ruiter, the producer, also worked with Earth & Fire.
Thanks in advance.

isabelbc said...

new link

Unknown said...

Excellent review. I've had this album since it's release and love it dearly. Top sounds - top review!

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