Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tales of the Electric Pong Orchestra 1977

A very interesting description, full of info, was found on amazon.com of all places. I've included it below. This album is from the incomparable and unforgettable osurec via master shige. I pray like the cargo cults of new guinea we will see osurec's return. For those who don't know, the cargo cults occurred when hunter-gatherers on first contact with europeans flying in on airplanes to remote jungle regions brought with them such sensational technology as rifles, radios, telephones, etc. The stone age people thought these were literally sons of gods who flew with wings and worshipped them, even turning the landing strips of their planes into temple and holy areas. Every day they prayed the white gods would return with their magical 'cargo'....

This album I personally found quite interesting due to its compositional quality. The first side is the standout, opening with the ten-minute tales of the electric pong. It starts with typical 70s funky fusion stuff but a well-composed trumpet passage then brings in a fugue-like passage, before the energy heats up again, for a third part that reminds of soft machine's rubber riff period. The last part is an almost atonal schoenberg or stravinsky composition similar to the most adventurous egg compositions with clarinet, english horn, flute. On second listen, I find the second side definitely somewhat dull in its average funk-jazz level. Here is the review:

By Scott Blackerby (Reston, Virginia) (REAL NAME)
Pelican Records was an offshoot of the California-based Baby Grand label. Apparently one of those mid-1970s tax scam enterprises, the Baby Grand/Pelican catalog's quite large, though there are big gaps in the documented catalog.

Written and produced by Dennis Dreith (Ronald Fair serving as executive producer), this is nothing but speculation on my part, but my guess is that 1977's "Tales of the Electric Pong" reflected material Dreith had previously written and recorded for various television and movie projects. Pelican somehow got access to the results, repackaging it as a quickie tax dodge release. Given Dreith's musical background, that might not be a major stretch. He started his professional musical career in the mid-1960s working as an arranger and ghost writer for Hanna Barbera cartoons. That led to composing and orchestrating scores for television films and motion pictures such as Howard the Duck, The Shadow, Purple People Eater, The Punisher, etc. Whatever the story, musically the album featured a collection of throwaway atmospheric instrumentals - I've heard stuff like this referred to as incidental music, that bounced all over the genre map including experimental, funk. jazz-rock fusion, and easy listening moves. Nothing here was going to change you world, but then that was the intent.

- Most of the first side was taken up by the instrumental 'Tales of the Electric Pong'. A three part instrumental suite, 'Tales', 'Interlude' and 'Three' sounded like a cross between Booker T. & the MGs and something that might have been penned for the soundtrack for a cheapy television detective series. Course that only made sense given Dreith's extensive background in television and films. Needless to say, the Booker T. segments sounded a lot better than the television soundtrack segments. rating: ** stars
- Well, say what you will about this album, but the instrumental 'Trio for Alto Flute, English Horn, & Bass Clarinet' was an apt description of the tune ... Very experimental and somewhat atonal, it's almost guaranteed to send rock fans running for the door in a hurry. rating: * star
- Giving credit where due, side two's 'Karuna' exhibited a nice jazz-rock guitar solo and a touch of funk in the mix, but still retained that distinctive television soundtrack feel - easy to imagine the main character detective strolling along a beach thinking about his case ... rating: *** stars
- Another truth-in-advertising cut kicked along by a slinky melody and some of the cheesiest synthesizers you'll ever hear 'Southern Slink' was probably the standout performance. rating: *** stars
- Another synthesizer-propelled number, 'Nrujo' was the kind of jazz-rock fusion background piece you would have heard in a happening 1970s restaurant. rating: ** stars

"Tales of the Electric Pong" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Tales of the Electric Pong (instrumental) (Dennis Dreith)
i.) Tales (instrumental) - 6:04
ii.) Interlude (instrumental) - 1:14
iii.) Three (instrumental) - 4:27
2.) Trio for Alto Flute, English Horn, & Bass Clarinet (instrumental) (Dennis Dreith) - 1:21

(side 2)
1.) Karuna (instrumental) - 5:53 (Dennis Dreith) - 5:53
2.) Southern Slink (instrumental) - 3:01 (Dennis Dreith) - 3:01
3.) Nrujo (instrumental) - 3:11 (Dennis Dreith) - 3:11



Tristan Stefan said...


Anonymous said...

Ooo thanx!!!

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Anonymous said...

'Karuna', an interesting track.

Unknown said...

Hi! Thanks for posting this!

Very nice BLOG!! Congratulations! Very interesting reviews and excellent music
I've a new blog about '60 & '70 rock and i added your site to blog list. you are welcome at:




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