Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Walkie Talkies - Surveillance 1980 (UK)

This album features the amazing Dave Stewart who guests on almost all of the tracks, which are all written by Dave Fuller. At the time Stewart was working with Brubeck. In fact a good point of comparison would be the band UK. It's very varied, all over the place stuff, with even some reggae, but enough progressive elements to make it highly interesting for us. A 'discovery' from the mighty osurec, we present you with a new and crystal clear rip today.

For canterbury fans, note that the beautiful and amazing Amanda Parsons sings on track 1.

From rym, some dead-on reviews:
"This is jazz rock music, with modern keyboards. The keyboards are varied, rythmic, floating, solos. There are some very interesting moods made by Dave Stewart. The acoustic guitars are omnipresent. Well, the songs are unequal: the lead and backing vocals are very disappointing. They are really not able to produce any catchy and/or addictive mood. Every time you hear a voice here, it is dramatically bland. The electric guitar is well played, but it lacks so much presence and originality: it sounds like the dull sound of Daryl Stuermer in the late 70's!! When the guitars are not solos, they are really good. The longer tracks at the end of each side are better: no vocals on them. They are quite loaded and even progressive. Dave Stewart can produce very urban keyboards sounds here. There are some fretless bass parts, and some Camel's eighties clean guitar notes. Sometimes it can sound a bit like Alan Parson of the 80's, but definitely less catchy. The drums are very good."

"Rob Spensley, a rock solid bassist, and Dave Fuller, an acoustic guitarist who succeeds in sounding power-assisted, gather around them a number of distinguished hired hands to produce music that touches several bases. Along the way you get high-flyin' harmonies, spacey synth sounds, healthy dollops of jazz and even a smattering of Police style reggae, performed to a high standard. Even so it's unlikely to get within sniffing distance of the charts. Are all the groups from Guernsey as confusing as this ?"


Side 1
Whose World Is This?

We Tell No Lies
Spin It Out

Side 2
Cover Up
Man On Cobo Bay
Dangerous Dancing

String Trio of New York - Common Goal 1982

Stunningly good and criminally underrated trio that performs composed chamber jazz. In the liner notes Duke Ellington's quote "beyond category" hugely applies to this ensemble.

Honestly, I cannot say enough good things about this band. It is a total mystery to me why music this beautifully composed and advanced is not played worldwide in the symphony concert halls that dot each city of the world with thousands of eager musical listeners. It is beyond ethically wrong that compositions so good are rare to the point of being sometimes impossible to find. (Not so much the case with these guys as with others, but the String Trio certainly suffers from being too unknown even among jazz circles.) I love these guys!!

I would be very happy if this post publicized the group so it could be better known everywhere.

From wikipedia:

"The String Trio of New York is an American jazz chamber ensemble.

The group was founded in 1977 by bassist John Lindberg, violinist Billy Bang, and guitarist James Emery. Though they initially worked on improvisational playing and on their own compositions, they eventually began taking on commissions, as well as doing arrangements of other jazz musicians' works. Their debut album was issued in 1979, and the group maintained the same lineup through 1986, when Bang left and was replaced by Charles Burnham. Burnham was replaced by Regina Carter after his departure in 1991, who then left in the mid-1990s. Diane Monroe then joined the group through 2001, after which Rob Thomas joined.


First String (Black Saint Records, 1979)
Area Code 212 (Black Saint, 1981)
Common Goal (Black Saint, 1982)
Rebirth of a Feeling (Black Saint, 1983)
Natural Balance (Black Saint, 1986)
As Tears Go By (Newedition, 1987)
String Trio of New York & Jay Clayton (West Wind Records, 1988)
Time Never Lies (Vintage Jazz, 1990)
Ascendant (Stash Records, 1991)
Intermobility (Arabesque Records, 1992)
Octagon (Black Saint, 1992)
Live Au Petit Faucheux (AA, 1993)
Blues...? (Black Saint, 1993)
An Outside Job (France 1993) (Radio France Tours, 1993)
With Anthony Davis (Music & Arts, 1996)
Faze Phour: A Twenty Year Retrospective (Black Saint, 1998)
Gut Reaction (Omnitone Records, 2003)
"Frozen Ropes (with Oliver Lake)" (Barking Hoop Recordings, 2005)


San San Nan:

Extensions and Exceptions:

Friday, February 24, 2012

Merlin "Merlin"(German sympho, 1984 )

If you like Renassance ,Curved Air,Earth & surely like this album.
Real German symphonic rock gem featuring fantastic crystal female vocal.
They released the second album "Vanish to the Moon" in 1989,but she wasn't there any more....

Side A
1. Picture song (3:26)
2. Utopia (4:08)
3. It Can't Go Wrong (4:29)
4. You Know That ... (2:25)
5. Seven Drinks- (3:06)

Side B
1. Berlin (2:23)
2. Vineta (5:00)
3. Real Good Man (2:32)
4. The Heap (2:21)
5. The Typical Way (3:22)
6. Adventure! (3:31)

Christiane Schwab ....lead vocals,flute
Nikolaus Wolters ....piano,key
Marcus Haase .....all guitars,bass guitar
Christoph Zimmermann....ds.sax

Recorded at Blackfield Studios,West Germany,September,1984


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

George Gruntz - 2001 Keys Piano Conclave (1974)

After the last highly popular post with its pages and pages of comments we go back to the funky fusion everyone seems to love. An exceptional record featuring keyboardists George Gruntz, Joachim Kuhn, Jasper Van t'hof, Martial Soial, you know you can't go wrong with these talented musicians. Each track features one composition by one of the all-stars, you'll hear some outrageous funky riffs but also incredibly progressive passages, quite a bit of group improv. Kuhn reprises Intermission from his Association PC days. To me the highlight is "They're coming, they're coming" which starts slow and atmospheric with a rocket launch through dark dark space before hitting some streams of solar wind then building up to a huge thick sound with mellotronic strings, kaleidoscopic electric keys over a deep and slow bluesy riff, as if we're crashing at light speed through a star cluster in the centre of andromeda galaxy, in an incredible crescendo.

Thanks to the mighty osurec for this record. One must mention the ridiculous cover, possibly one of the worst any progressive record has ever had, ever. Stay tuned, we go back to northern Europe for more funky jazz-rock soon, before we revisit the US for aor and fusion, for forgotten chamber jazz-rock (my personal favourite sub-genre), back to switzerland for more soft sounds, and through it all we will hear from master shige with his rarities.

A1 Flight 6-2A-A5 5:03 - Written-By - Fritz Pauer
A2 For Dennis 5:48 - Written-By - Jasper Van't Hof
A3 They're Coming, They're Coming 6:38 - Written-By - Gordon Beck
B1 Suite For Harold (Dedicated To Harold Rhodes) 6:58 - Written-By - George Gruntz
B2 Intermission 10:53 - Written-By - Joachim Kühn

Arranged By - George Gruntz
Electric Piano - Fritz Pauer, George Gruntz, Gordon Beck, Jasper Van't Hof, Joachim Kühn, Martial Soial
Electric Pirno - Joachim Kühn
Executive Producer - Brigitte Frits, Johann Fritz
Harpsicord - Fritz Pauer, George Gruntz
Mellotron - Jasper Van't Hof
Organ - Gordon Beck
Piano - Fritz Pauer, George Gruntz, Gordon Beck, Joachim Kühn, Martial Soial
Producer - Frans Kabelka, Wilfried Schreib
Synthesizer - Fritz Pauer, George Gruntz
An ORF Production.
Directed By Stefan Prokesch
Engineerd By Hans Stanek

Edition And Direction Of The TV Production Frans Kabelka.

Flight 6 - 2A:

They're Coming:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Michel Estellet-Brun: Grande Cathedrale de Beauvais, Pop Organ and Percussion

I often wonder about the set of all humans who love progressive rock. How many exactly are there? Is this set larger than the set of those who love modern classical music? In my mind I think the intersection of those who love rock, jazz, and classical music would constitute this set but I get the impression many have no liking for either jazz or classical and have some other reason for enjoying progressive. It's obvious very few can enjoy modern classical music, but they may yet outnumber us, because of its importance in musical education in universities and the musical establishment. So if we could examine all musical tastes all over the world? Well, to begin with we have to exclude anyone without a certain basic musical education, and those without demonstrable access to it, which clearly excludes half of our 7 billion population, including most if not all those who live in south asia and China (apologies to those who disagree). Our set continues to diminish by orders of magnitude because not everyone even has a taste for music, let alone recondite music, and many prefer other things than rock. It is obvious that the average individual has no patience for complicated chords, melodies, or dissonances. Working even more against us is the unfashionable quality of our taste, which removes a couple more orders of magnitude. What are we left with? Probably a nucleus of about a few tens of thousands up to ten to the 5th distributed obviously mostly in N America and Europe, for population reasons alone. Our ten power 9 is reduced to a mere 50,000 folks, who drift in and out of fandom depending on demands of work and family. Because I'm sure there are few hardcord prog fans who are fans for a whole lifetime. (Even I couldn't say as much.) To an anthropologist from another planet with intelligence, it would be the height of shocking surprise to discover then that this small group is splintered with vicious infighting into smaller subgroups that rarely if ever communicate, considering their evident outnumbered status.

When I was a child I puzzled constantly over the paradoxes of set theory, the obvious one we learn: A cretan says, "all cretans are liars"... is he lying? (must be, he's a cretan, but then, if he's lying, they're not all liars--?) What about Bertrand's set of all sets that are not members of themselves? Is it a member of itself? The barber who only shaves those who don't shave themselves: does he shave himself? Only recently did I start to fully understand the mathematical solution to these self-referential paradoxes, which is the nucleus of Godel's incompleteness: any system complicated enough to include this kind of self-reference (eg arithmetic, languages) must of necessity contain paradoxes, which cannot be solved within the system itself: they must be resolved outside of it, either by defining paradoxes away (in set theory, by definition a set cannot be the bertrand set) or creating a meta-language within which a solution is created (eg all cretans except when making this statement, are liars). Does this mean, as some believe, that physics and all natural law cannot be encapsulated in equations because perforce there will arise incompleteness or self-reference? Only some physicists believe yes, many mathematicians believe so, I think the average person would say, definitely it must be so. Any system complicated enough to have self-reference will be paradoxical. Consider the case of humanity-- we have an influence on the entire planet, which is clearly a physical or chemical system. One person (eg Bush) had the power through his belief system to doom the planetary biosphere. On the other hand, it didn't have to be so-- had Al Gore been elected, it might have turned out totally differently. Here is the paradox: humanity destroying itself despite the insights of its own intelligence.

Enough introduction, what I'm getting at are these two albums of highly complicated music from Michel Estellet-Brun. I was often shocked on trips to France to hear organ improvisational music on entering their magnificent cathedrals (this architecture being another art form that is among the greatest-ever human achievements). The sublime sound of an artist creating these waterfalls and tapestries of modernistic music are absolutely unforgettably transcendental. Inevitably you stand transfixed, not able to see the keyboardist, but feeling him with your whole soul... Clearly this is a motivation for the spiritual to feel in contact with the empyrean or to be in touch with god. This tradition of cathedral organ improv is still highly valued in Europe, and both albums today are features of Estellet-Brun's creativity. The first record, 1977's Beauvais cathedral (the tallest nave ever, it collapsed twice and was never finished) on side 1 features compositions by contemporary composers. Side 2 is entirely his improvisations and is the more interesting side. The album pop organ and percussion (oddly enough, it's in English) was recorded in the abbey of Royaumont and has been mentioned in different circles before, note the following positive comment from rym:

" A pretty extraordinary find, this French library duo presents an uncompromising behemoth of a sound, all organs and percussion as advertised on the sleeve, but you'd never crave for more instruments being included. Rather than playing it safe with melodic pop ditties a-la Jean-Jacques Perrey, Michel Estellet and Gerard Berlioz are obviously entering the upper echelons of human creativity with their mutant cobwebs of drones and oscillations - who would have thought a simple organ could sound as otherworldly as that? This truly defies categorization, drawing slight reminiscences only to the Futura label classics (such as Jean Guerin album) and maybe to a couple of notorious 1970s outsiders such as Don Bradshaw Leather or Sohrab Keyaniyan."

Right on the money there with the only caveat that one must mention this is in the tradition of cath. improv. I don't think the title was meant to be ironic, as mentioned by others, because the liner notes on the back are so serious, on the contrary I think the record company was seriously deluded and thought they could trick more people into buying this record with the title as given, referring to both artists as very young kids. Possibly they were horrified when they heard the result-- realizing it was unsaleable. Then again, this was early seventies France, and there was a lot of open-mindedness musically (and sexually). When I have some more time I will translate the liner notes in this post. They run along the lines of, "these brilliant young kids have produced a record of improvisations for you in the abbey of Royaumont. Note that the tracks as listed on the back are mixed up as per the record, and in total there are 10 tracks not 9. To me this means the record was released quite hastily. Additionally note that the first track cauchemard [sic] was misspelled on the back of the record, a horrific mistake for the french. The soprano singer is named Jeanne Mere, a perfect name for this religious record.

I hope there are others in the same set as me who will enjoy this somewhat difficult but beautiful music, and I hope this remarkably creative and talented artist achieves some belated fame for his work.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Syn "Cast the First Stone " (1980,USA,Renaissance-like pop prog)

Syn "Cast the First Stone " (1980,USA,Renaissance-like pop prog)
Sometimes we feel that the album is the masterpiece as soon as looking at the front cover of the album.
Syn's "Cast the First Stone" is the good example for the third eye myself.
Some years ago,I listened to this album's mp3 for the first time and loved very much as well as the front cover...Yes ,really one of American prog gems.
But unfortunately,it was mono rip and not so good sound.
Since then,it has been my long dream to rip from an original album with clear excellent sound quality.
The dream has come true at last.
Enjoy, mates !!!

I remember that I wondered why Annie Haslam sang in this album when I first heard Gloria's voice.
Gloria's voice sounds like Annie's.
Such as Benoît David's voice sounds like Jon Anderson,doesn't it ?

1-Take Me To Heaven (3:52)
2-It’s Gone (3:15)
3-Home To You (4:49)
4-Calling (4:06)
5-Cast The First Stone (1:21)
6-All Around (4:16)

7-Radioactive Nights (4:22)
8-Without You (4:24) ...I could not remove some noises.!I know my limitations.
9-Second Time Around (4:55)
10-Set The World On Fire (3:53)
11-Stoned Country Jam (2:03)

total time....41:11

SYN is :
Marc,alto sax,per,vo
Phillip Britton...bass,mandolin,flute,tenor sax,vo
Duane Loeper...key,violin
Randy Paxson....ds,cymbals

Recorded in Philadelphia,PA,from November,1979 to May,1980

track 6

Friday, February 10, 2012

J F Murphy (1970)

The last of the highly underrated Murphy's output for us to feature herein(chronologically the first), this one is the best in my opinion. It was put out by a very young man and has an incredible variety of songs and styles. It's very common in the fields of music and mathematics to see someone's best output in his twenties, in the case of records there is another factor which is that the first often contains years of songwriting material distilled and perfected from repeat practice.

There are three big 'radio hits': Sad September, which is an incredibly beautiful acoustic song (we know it from the live Murphy and Salt album), the Pawnbroker song with its erratic almost progressive chord changes (you'll never hear those chords on a BS and T album!), and the second last song, Hey Artie, from the Laura Nyro school of composition. As in Nyro's work you hear sudden stops, tempo changes, modulations to related keys, a conversational style to the lyrics. The song has a similar motif to "first born" -- the friends know more about god than the church (catholic) they are forced to go to... Notice near the end the song basically in C major alternating with F major, finishes a phrase with a high sung G sharp (the 9 on an F sharp minor chord)-- wow! Again this to me demonstrates what a skilled and original songwriter he was. What about the lyrics? Well we're talking 1970 here:

"We'll have a smoke and save the world...
Take me up, bring me down, burn my verses to the ground,
Artie and me know better 'bout where it's at...
Hey Artie, ain't that right?"
Charming in its sixties naivete, right?

And because this is a young man's work, it is full of inventiveness and creativity. What I love about Sad Sept. is that starting as an ordinary song in B major, he quite abruptly modulates to F sharp major with the chromatic descending bass, then equally abruptly goes to A flat major, moving into various chords before returning to the tonic B. Still the melody flows through it all seamlessly... Any songwriter would say to themselves, how does he do it?

Notice as another ex. in track 3, Buy my Morning features a really odd phrase: the stanzas start with a double-time sung sentence, the flute adding a beautiful other layer to the melodies above, the end of the first stanza has an odd down-one-chromatic-note ending. Totally against the tin pan alley or FM AOR radio rules.

So what about the man himself? Nick Drake was rehabilitated from complete obscurity some 10 years back thanks to a VW commercial and features in Rolling Stone-- can we bring back Murphy to the prominence he deserves as a really creative songwriter? I really hope so -- I love this guy!

Arranged By – J. F. Murphy, Vinny Vesta
Bass – Gene Perla, J. F. Murphy
Drums – John Dzubek, Mickey Earle, Ralph Jones (2)
Engineer – Don Casale, John Bradley (3)
Flute – Joe Parrino
Guitar – J. F. Murphy, Joe Parrino, Sam Brown (2)
Harmonica – George Christ
Percussion – George Christ, J. F. Murphy
Piano – J. F. Murphy
Producer – Vinny Vesta
Vocals – J. F. Murphy

A1 It Don't Work That Way
A2 Sunny Goodtime, It's A Rainy Day
A3 If You Buy My Morning
A4 The Pawnbroker
A5 Brother
B1 Ship
B2 Soft September
B3 Standing At The Crossroads
B4 Hey, Artey
(All written by J F Murphy)
B5 Nobody Loves You (When You're Down And Out)
(Written-By – Cecil Grant)

Now stay tuned because we have a lot of excellent material coming down the pipeline, not just from myself, but from (of course) master shige, the mighty osurec, and the beautiful princess of progressive Isabel, and with the help of friends we just might get to the bottom of the big bag o' rare gems.... someday

The Pawnbroker

Sad September

Hey Artie

Toto Blanke - Somewhere in Time 1981

Does this artist need an introduction?

When my wife saw it in the mail she actually said, "Is that another Toto Blanke?"
Alas-- when I looked at her, the grin on her face made it clear: a name she had heard me say many times before, had become a very dry kind of joke...

In 1969 legendary belgian percussionist and jazz bandleader Pierre Courbois founded the first European 'Rock-Jazz' group, Association P.C.. This famous ensemble, winner of the Down Beat Poll, existed until 1975 with Toto Blanke, Sigi Busch, different key-boarders, including Jasper van 't Hof, Joachim Kühn and Sigi Kessler.

Thereafter Toto Blanke left to create his own jazz-rock ensemble, Electric Circus, which produced the following albums: ST, Live, Friends, Family, Belladonna. These have all been featured before with the exception of the last one, which will follow soon. To me these albums constitute a textbook on how to create progressive jazz-rock, along with his other masterpieces, Spider's Dance, and Tales of Tomorrow. What a glorious period he had in the seventies!! Thereafter in 1981 Toto Blanke returned to his roots as it were, or mellowed out with age perhaps, with more acoustic guitar material, starting with the featured album, Somewhere in Time.

There are (to me) two throwaways, Ellington's tired old standard Sophisticated Lady (although it's played really exquisitely), and Hermeto Pascoal's Ne um Talvez (famous thanks to Miles Davis' cover). The rest is duet acoustic guitars battling out some incredibly ingenious compositions from Toto, sometimes descending into the abominable jazz 'circle of fifths' chord changes...

The highlight is a song dedicated to the pianist Stu Goldberg (although a more appropriate ded. would be to Ralph Towner), with chords and melodies so complex I have trouble following even a few notes without the utmost concentration...

This song goes to the heart of what progressive means to me. Starting with a harmonics-played Cm9, some very angular chromatic riffs descend into all kinds of unusual and complicated chords. Not only the notes but how he plays the guitar is remarkable and special, as I said before reminiscent of genius ecm guy Ralph Towner's style of strumming in an oceanic, wavey way.

And with the album Belladonna, that's it, an amazing decade of incredible progressive European music comes to an end ... How to explain this efflorescence of brilliance?

In these few years from 1970 to 1981, the world witnessed the height and utmost perfection of what human musical ability can achieve: combining the old European stream of learned classical music and hundreds of years of sonic experimentation with musical instruments, with the robust and improvisational jazz tradition, along with the powerful backbone brought by rock and electric instruments, artists crafted extreme excellence that for all time will be the greatest music any human being can ever hope to hear...

Something you Said:

all links will be up shortly

Monday, February 06, 2012

Difference - "Different Ways" {Norway} [1975]

Difference ga ut en av 70-tallets beste popplater med ''Different ways'' (1975), som vanlig preget av nydelige harmonier
Dannet Trondheim, 1967
Oppløst 1980
Difference ble startet høsten 1966 av fire unge trøndere: Arne Jacobsen (gitar), Ivar Gafseth (orgel), Ivar Fjøseide (bass) og Knut Solem (trommer). Tre av disse ble med til neste utgave av Difference, som inkluderte bassisten Erling Mylius og gitaristen Snorre Tømmerås, som begge kom fra gruppen The Missing Links. Missing Links vant for øvrig NM i Rock i 1966, og hadde gitt ut singelen «Movin'»/«My Oh My». I tillegg fikk Difference nå egen vokalist, Tore Johansen. De fikk platekontrakt med Triola i 1967, og fikk nasjonal berømmelse med singelen «Tree Of Love». Bandets vokale harmonier vakte betydelig oppsikt.

Året etter skiftet de plateselskap til RCA, og gitaristen Arne Jacobsen sluttet. Difference utga fire singler til i løpet av 1968, blant annet den nydelige «Ballad Of A Broken Heart», men så ble de oppløst. Mange av medlemmene var deretter innom Asmund Bjørkens Orkester.

Difference startet opp igjen i 1974, med flere av medlemmene fra de tidligere besetningene. Knut Solem spilte trommer, Ivar Gafseth spilte orgel – disse to er de eneste som har vært med i bandet hele veien. I tillegg var Tore Johansen vokalist, Erling Mylius spilte bass og Stein Olsen var ny gitarist. Difference opererte nå med blåsere: Kalle Holst på saxofon, Asbjørn Bakk på trompet og Einar Horgmo på trombone.

Nye plater ble det også, nå på Mercury-etiketten. I 1974 kom albumet Difference, i 1975 Different ways. I 1977 kom samlingen Jubileum 1967–1977.

Blåserrekka forsvant etter hvert, og i 1978 sluttet også Tore Johansen og ble erstattet av Ingeborg Kaldager, og enda en gitarist ved navn Jon Petter Westerland. Denne besetningen utga ikke plater, og ble oppløst i 1980.

Herrene Gafseth, Mylius og Johansen dannet senere Travellin' Strawberries, som sto for musikk og alle rollene i den svært populære TV-serien The Julekalender (1994). Kjente sanger fra denne er «It's hard to be a nissemann» og «The Støvel Dance». CD-en fra serien solgte mer enn 150 000 eksemplarer. Påsken 1997 sto de for TV-serien Prinsesse Gullhår og de tre omreisende trubaduerer. De har alle tre vært engasjert ved Trøndelag Teater, hvor Gafseth har vært musikalsk leder. Gruppen feiret sitt 40-årsjubileum på Trøndelag Teater 29. september 2007.

Deler av biografiene i Rockipedia er basert på materiale hentet fra boka Norsk pop- og rockleksikon , samt biografier skrevet av Rockheims egne medarbeidere. De opprinnelige verkene kan leses i sin helhet på Mediateket .

- Tore Johansen (vocals)
- Knut Solem (drums)
- Stein Olsen (guitars, various percussion)
- Erling Mylius (bass guitar, congas, various percussion, vocals)
- Ivar Gafseth (organ, piano, electric piano, moog syntheizer, accordian, clavinet, vocals)

A1 Lady Universe
A2 There's a Light
A3 Good Lovin' Tonight
A4 Dead Man's World
A5 Feelin' Lonely
A6 Elin
B1 (I Need to Get) A Hold on You
B2 We Didn't Make It
B3 Land of Love
B4 When the Curtain (Of Night) Falls
B5 Goodbye

We Did Not Make It

Land Of Love

Thanks to Oddleif!!! :o)

link in comments...

Azzy Fly (1976,Japan,HR,Psych,prog)

Azzy Fly (1976,Japan,HR,Psych,prog)

record number....LLX-3100

This is a  mysterious Japanese mega rare HR,psych,prog album. 
I know nothing about this band

Side 1 is HR side.
Side 2 is prog side.

Some say that this album is boring,but I don't think so,because the lyrics
are definitely druggy and weird,so this sound is enjoyable very much  with strange imagination.

This WAV file is not my rip from the LP.
Both track list and members are not known....
If you have any information,tell us ,please !

Side 1
1.  3:18
2.  3:05
3.  5:09
4:  3:15
5.  5:06
6.  4:07

7.  9:39
8.  7:22
9.  5:47


Sunday, February 05, 2012

Cosmic Debris - While you're asleep (1983)

The second effort from this obscure prog band is much better than the first, featuring a huge variety of sounds and styles. In fact they abandoned the electronic tendencies of the first album; self-titled 3-7 K; and I think levgan was right on the money with his statement of 'high dynamic' which is applied for the first (and of course only) time to this record. I disagree with some of the more critical comments because I think this is really out and out progressive -- it don't get more prog than this. You will hear Dauneresque free piano solos, melancholy ditties, experimental sounds, odd tempo changes, mashed up chords, everything you need for diverse aural positive praxis. It never ceases to amaze me how different opinions can be in this field, because I can listen to this record a dozen times and still hear something totally new and unexpected in it, but others will state it's only worth one or two. At least they must concede as a concept album this truly succeeds in evoking the dream-state of shifting and drifting sounds and images without repetition or concrete footings.

From the mighty osurec files of course, I'm very grateful we have this rip to get a taste of this music. Tracklists kindly added in comments section. I expect a new rip might surface soon because it's just such a great album -- a fabulous cover painting obviously evoking the dream state. And why exactly do we sleep? Well, surprisingly we don't know, we sleep because we have to -- we die if we are sleep deprived sufficiently long. A very rare inherited syndrome of progressive sleeplessness leading to death is currently being studied to unearth some possible genetic causes. Some of the mysteries are that no compound or factor or process has been found requiring regeneration during the quiescent state despite considerable study, and there is no correlation between sleep duration and metabolism, body size, or cerebral wet weight (through species). So a recent interesting evolutionary theory has it that sleep is simply to double an organism's lifespan -- since all animals are either nocturnal or diurnal, we can conserve energy by becoming inactive temporarily each day when there are no survival chores to be done as in food-seeking or shelter-building. A simple test of the hypothesis would be to study deep-sea fishes to see what their circadian rhythms are. (Perhaps one of the collectors on rym could help us with this.) This is a classic example of science thinking outside the box for solution-seeking... It goes without saying dreaming is even more of a puzzle, pace the Freudian interpretation of dreams as wish-fulfillment, most neuroscientists believe REM dreams are the random actions of a brain busy doing something else biochemically restorative or synapse-adjustment automatic -- but what? well with this record, we can discover what the brain is up to while you're asleep...

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Forest - We Are Just Watching Time (Germany 1981)

Now look at that incredible cover, a drawing credited to Gabriel Herschdoerfer. I believe this is meant to be the controls of a nuclear power plant, based on the fact this is the year 1981. (Or it could be a wayne's world fantasy basement of a tv and stereo system on the wall, who knows.) In this year Ronald Reagan declared it's 'morning again in America' (I love the irony of those words) not realizing, with the hindsight we have today, that it really was the evening setting sun, with a last burst of colour and clarity closing in on the american dream in advance of a coming nightfall that we are just stumbling into now. This was the american century-- the century that oil built, just as this will be the century that oil destroys.

And yet, what a load of hope there was back then for the future, before aids, before the tylenol cyanide murders, before wall street masters of the universe, then the savings and loans scandals, before the moral majority, before global warming broke big, before Iran-Contra, Nicaragua, the Sandinistas, before the Berlin Wall fell, before apple and home computers, before the first Bush and the Iraqi wars, long long before napster ...

Here's a really rare private pressing from Germany with some really nice rough hardish rock, just a few touches of raw punkness, referring to Iggy Pop or presaging the proto-alternative of the northeast late eighties, powered by the twin guitars of songwriters Bodo Gross and Manfred Mletzko. Germany was truly an inexhaustible mine of good rock and jazz in the seventies. Will we ever get to the bottom of it? I really doubt it, for social rather than any other reasons...

8th of March:

Miles Away:

Thursday, February 02, 2012

J F Murphy and Free-Flowing Salt - Almost Home

If I had my way
I'd take my first born child
Teach him all I knew
Just to try to keep him wild
Only if I had the things I need to keep him wild

Here's a great song for scrutiny and I'll try to explain why I think it's brilliant. There are two big riffs not just one, a descending chromatic riff and an ascending one on a scale of C7 +9 played on harmonica, but then notice how at the end of the stanza the electric piano plays some really out-there chords going back up again that chromatic scale, as if to climb back up the roller coaster. And what makes this song really special in my opinion is just that it's really really catchy. It's original, and well-written, and it's saying something we all understand -- "I need to keep him [my boy] wild." Too bad that it has those religious overtones, going on to mention he wants to teach him his own god... but again, he keeps the christianity low-key so it's very subtle. I had suspected that last illusion with the "friendship that bites" was about Judas and Jesus, but he's not in your face about it. Listening to the lyrics, it's difficult to get very much of the religion. Was this song too progressive or different to make it as an AM radio top 40 hit? Why is it too late for it to be a hit on satellite radio today?

The song structure leads me to suspect, along with the long 'Trilogy' that starts up side B, that this guy had quite a bit of musical education. There you'll hear some minor second dissonances which are actually played descending chromatically on the piano in the background to a jazz jam-- quite a surprising and bizarre thing. The patterns and melodies on part a) "lifeline" are really very progressive and it's truly a shame Murphy didn't go farther in this direction.

There is a lot of variety again on this record, with folk songs, rock songs, jazz-rock, the old bagpipes make their obligatory annoying appearance (because Murphy's origin was scottish?). On "Almost Home" he sounds very much like Joe Cocker barrelling out a very emotional soul-ride home. Very abruptly some high-sustained fuzz guitars carry the tune out on some unusual chord changes with a long sustained A major at the end-- totally unexpected ending! On Battle Hymn of the Republic we get the necessary anti-Vietnam anthem which was omnipresent in records from the 1965-1975 time period.

The last track, Where has the laughter gone, a break-up or near break-up song, features for sure Murphy playing acoustic guitar, notice what interesting chords he has selected, with some inversions on the third. In the chorus a few additional, completely unnecessary but beautiful chords transition from the (I think) D to G chords. Really nice ending to an outstanding, undeservedly-forgotten album.

On the Clowns song from "Murphy's Law" he almost presages 'send in the clowns' from Sondheim with his "where are those clowns, those marvellous clowns, on this day that I need them so much..." and today I really needed exactly this for my entertainment and endless, free-flowing joy.

First Born

Trilogy (A Lifeline - B The Example)

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Murphy's Law - Urban Renewal 1975

Well, this is why I do this, finding a treasure of a record that has apparently been completely lost to time...

Here's a really special treat and discovery for all of you out there, a fabulously well-written rock album with progressive touches. We remember the beautiful and generous Ipanema Isabel discovered this group with her post of Murphy and Salt and their huge hit Last Illusion, a song I've now sung something like a million times: "friendship is the only beast that's never been known to bite until it's dead" (cf. here:
Well, it turns out that songwriter Murphy actually put out 5 albums in total, and this is his last big record, a swan song featuring what sounds like an artist at the peak of his powers.

First off, we can't move on without mentioning the incredible photos of this band, in their full-on neanderthal seventies attire and facial hair. The latest DNA studies do confirm that homo sapiens interbred with the neanderthals some 60,000-20,000 years ago (mostly in Europe), with some 4-5 percent of our DNA being actually from them. Interestingly, our species also interbred with an obscure group, another distinct species of hominid, called the Denisovans from central Asia and Siberia. Perhaps this is the final explanation for the continued existence of mullets. Anyways, I defy anyone to look at the back cover of the record without laughing out loud-- it's impossible. I think Murphy is the one with the lambchops. Notice how the others are mostly wearing tanktops ("wifebeaters")-- how attractive! And why is the guy with the potbelly and baseball bat standing in front? Is he standing guard over some philly steak sandwiches? I defer again to my wife's comment which you've heard before, "they were all stoned back then..."

It turns out the music on this record is actually very good, although the first comment I heard from my wife was, "Is that a cow mooing on that song?"
Yes, we're talking about the seventies here, and of course, there will be a cow mooing on one song. Note also the last song on side 1: "beer barrel polka" I think it's safe to pass this one by without even a listen, of course what we have here is the band members drunk and stoned attempting to do a polka while falling over each other-- pretty much de rigueur for this time period.

I've said this so many times before, it boggles the mind that satellite radio and FM radio play the same oldies over and over again when there are songs equally good and undiscovered to hear-- what's wrong with these people, they never want to hear anything new? Hours go by before I ever hear anything I haven't heard before. But here we have several really tuneful, perfectly executed rock songs with a lot of dynamism and enough original hooks and chord changes to make it eminently interesting and constantly new with some left over to hang up 4-5 jean jackets. And all of this barrels on with the force and energy of J F Murphy's fantastic singing.

Pay attention to the first track on side B because it's the progressive instrumental masterpiece, showing how good an arranger and writer this guy was ("Doze Jazz Guys"). The last track on the album is Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story in a medley, plus Gershwin's Rhapsody thrown in for good measure, but really I would say he does a pretty good job of it-- it's not quite as good as Stern Combo Messien's Rhapsody though (on their live album). Of course, SCM is an all-out prog band. Murphy is responsible for all the writing and arranging, as far as I can see.

I would like also to hear from the man himself, we've heard from many artists on this blog, mostly complimentary comments relating to their pride in their work resurfacing. I personally think J F Murphy is a great, great songwriter, who should stand along the other great songwriters rock in the seventies produced, like Jackson Browne, etc. His gruff baritone voice in particular really is perfect for this style. And what is he doing now I wonder?

Bass – Russell Warmolts
Design – Earl Klasky
Drums – John Reilly
Engineer – Jack Sherdel
Guitar, Trombone, Flute, Vocals – Joe Parrino
Harmonica, Chimes, Other [Vibes], Percussion – George Christ
Producer – Jimmy Jenner
Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet, Bagpipes – Ron Allard
Vocals, Keyboards, Twelve-string Guitar, Rhythm Guitar – J.F. Murphy

A1 Bagpipes
A2 Mad Monk
A3 Those Magnificent Clowns
A4 Bushwackers
A5 The Seabird & The Flying Dutchman
A6 Almost A Take (Beer Barrel Polka)
B1 Doze Jazz Guys
B2 I'd Rather Be
B3 Somebody To Believe In
B4 Usin' You
B5 Urban Renewal (Medley From West Side Story)

Those Magnificent Clowns:

Doze Jazz Guys: