Thursday, June 20, 2013

Karlos P. Steinblast

We have to admire these dedicated or perhaps stone-crazy American artists like Karlos P. Steinblast who continued making progressive music into the eighties when it was completely unfashionable and unsustainable.  He even proudly proclaimed it on the cover: "progressive rock" -- pretty uncompromising, or perhaps stoned lacking in sobriety, to fly his freak prog flag so high.   It was a style already uncool by the late seventies as far as I've read.  Yet this record is full of references to how he'll gain fame and groupies, though it hasn't happened yet: dear cadillac-driving Karlos, why not copy Duran Duran? 

When you look at this guy if you're old enough you're taken straight back to childhood and those crazy over-hairy days, those lazy over smokey-and-the-bandit days of stinky herbal park benches endlessly discussing Jimmy Page versus Jeff Beck, while 'Eric Clapton is god'.  His best record is actually the one that came before, the first, called "Hard Rock Vol. 1".  I will post also the third one, "Steinblast and Friends" which demonstrated a bit of deterioration in quality, not the best friends to have around maybe.  Notice that the "I need a woman"  Suite from the second transforms into "I don't need no leash" in the next record, a year later - how many of us men have felt the same way one or two years into marriage?  check out some of the lyrics for that one:
"Woman let me be, and shut your screaming face,
I don't need no leash
I don't need no collar
I don't need the way that you scream and holler"

ouch!  is it even possible to seek counselling at this stage? or advisable?

To focus on the track "Where is Debbie Miller?" is to be taken back to those hazy redolent five-leaved days of 1981 when all was denim and possible, droppable, inhaleable, when big fat psilocybin-fueled dinosaur America still ruled the world of cars with its carboniferous chevys, massive mustangs, trashy trans-ams; it's the story of Debbie Miller, a teenaged girl who witnessed Karlos get run over by a Cadillac: "he's squashed, baby, between two cars!!!" -- when the PO-lice came, of course, she had to run away because she was 'jailbait'.   But here's the best part; halfway through the song, he suddenly starts asking "Where's my kazoo???  Where's my kazoo????"  --and then he plays the kazoo!
I mean you gotta laugh, it's like, what the F---?
On the back of the record, this plaintive little note from Karlos: " Could the DJ's in the Illinois area please play 'where is Debbie Miller' to help me locate her? It's very important! Thank You!"

But yeah, that's what it was like back then in the late seventies early eighties.  People tell me.  The American dream-- Morning again in America.  America the beautiful, America the great, home of the bald eagle and the toupee'd presidents, Stars and Strippers forever.  Come back to the 5 and dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, the Boulevard of Broken Dreams has led you to the Last House on Dead End Street, but now night has fallen and as Mao once said, for us to soon see, " it's never darkest till it's completely black " ...

One must persevere through his singing, it's probably a fifth to an octave below where he should be singing, but his guitar-playing style is very interesting and original, particularly with regards to the use of inverted chords, and sudden fast riffs between the chunky chords, and for this I really love him.  Check out for the perfect example of this, the first part of "I Need a Woman" with its really odd riffs. I think you'll all agree he was highly talented at the GUI-tar.

Yes, I LOVE YOU KARLOS, and I would love it if you would drop a comment here below and tell us what happened to you (and Debbie Miller!)  It's never too late to become famous, and I think you deserve it, even if only in our rarefied, unfemale-populated, progressive circles where you are all too unknown still.  Finally, note the cool message written on studio letterhead I found inside the record, presumably written by the Karlmeister himself, I scanned it and included it.  Apparently he thought this one was better than his first record.

Where is Debbie Miller?:

I Need a Woman Part I:

I don't need no leash:

Friday, June 14, 2013

Larynx - Es War Schon Fast Herbst (GER 1979)

This album was another shocking discovery (which I should credit to my friend Paulo) because when I obtained the vinyl I really had no idea what it was about, although the cover as you can see was highly promising-- the kind of gorgeous artwork one only sees from this time period, a black and grey city resembling a Grand Boulevard, with an orange flock crossing in front.  The music turned out to be stunningly beautiful folk "done to perfection" as the culinary cliche goes with touches of chamber instruments, e.g. flute and oboe.... and shockingly for this type of record, they pull out electric instruments on the second side, including a wonderful roland electric piano to back up some songs.  Overall this might be kind of like a German version of Canadian band L'Engoulevent, although without the advanced chamber music compositional quality.
Another record that was virtually unknown even in the circles of grand collector bigshot fat cats, until I ripped it and thereafter it did the rounds.  Yet always in the back of my mind I wanted it to be heard by the great unwashed masses --  hoi polloi as our friend apps would say.  Because I know a lot of you folk music fans out there would just love this perfect little gem of an album.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Luna Set - Art (GERM 1983)

Last album from this new wave/minimal synth band not yet available, this is from 1983.  I didn't much like the first record (posted long ago on possibly mutant sounds (?)) -- to me it was a bit too simplistic in that minimal synth style, but this is all-out in progressiveness with the songwriting: there are odd touches everywhere, sudden modulations for example in most songs.  I really love the gentle, feminine aspects of the compositions and the absence of jumpiness that to me is such a defect of the genre.  It's very enjoyable and can be listened to over and over again in my opinion without any boredom.  As well, I thought the next record, "Monkey's Midnight Mood'  became a bit too poppy again albeit with the exception of one or two progressive tracks.

Credits for this band can be seen here:
Notice that 'growing bin' discobasso agreed it's their best record.

Please enjoy

Monday, June 10, 2013

Indiscreet - Difficult to Contribute Silence (GER 1985)

What do you get when you combine late King Crimson repetitive riffs (e.g. Lark's Tongue period) with German jazz-rock and wondrous experimental-progressive songwriting?  This remarkable little gem, something discovered by discobasso again as far as I know, from his record store.  There is still one copy for sale there (for now!):

This was a major pleasant surprise for me since there was at the time that I bought it so little information on this record.  Of course now my rip has 'done the rounds' among collectors but I wanted to share it with everyone.

From levgan (rateyourmusic):
"Starts out awesome, with an experimental spoken word piece (basically cut-up voices trying to articulate the album title), it stands true to the high standard throughout although a few instrumental parts may seem a bit aimless/overlong. Still, as far as Teutonic jazz-rock goes, this is definitely above average, with edgy dissonant horns and guitars sometimes propelling it to the Didier (of "Cptn. Coffee" fame) levels. Recommended!"

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Jean-Luc Vignaud - Triptyque Orchestra (FRA 1984)

As you may see at the bottom, compositions are by Louis Vigneron although the album is credited to the sax player Jean-Luc Vignaud.  This is an absolutely awesome big-band-style progressive jazz release that to me recalls the best of Teo Macero in ingenious compositional originality.  The gentleman Vignaud (not Vigneron) was a member of the amazing french ST band Synthesis which I highly recommend to everyone:
(please note there were two such bands in 1970s France with ST Synthesis, the other is a fusion super-group featuring Didier Lockwood, François Jeanneau, André Ceccarelli, Marc Chantereau, Ivan Jullien that is totally different:

It appears on discogs the Vignaud discography is incomplete:
As for composer Vigneron, there is little to no information about him.

I really wish I had heard something like this back when I was a big band jazz fan and was desperate for some compositional complexity beyond Stan Getz, Stan Kenton, and the arrangements of Gil Evans and Claus Ogerman.  I wonder if perhaps Vigneron distilled all his musical ideas into this one record; an entire education in composition and classical harmony seems to pass through one's ears as one goes through the various simply-titled, one-word tracks (Parenthese, Pavane, Pulsar), ending in the magnificent "Stance" -- it's as if we are travelling through worlds of wonder and worlds of fire, reading a novel full of turbulence and chaos before coming out in the end wiser but sad with the knowledge of the profound impermanence immanent in everything in the universe, with music as the ne plus ultra example of the evanescence of everything temporal and existing only in time... and how often have I wondered how the physicist can maintain the mathematical fiction of  'block time' (e.g. a classical relativist) given there cannot be musical enjoyment without some entity physically describable as time as adjunct to some corresponding correlate entity in our consciousness.
Another discovery from the mighty osurec, btw.

On the back cover the following blurb in French:
"A new big band? No, an orchestra with already 4 years' experience and which finally has put out its first record thanks to the hard work of J-L Vignaud.  The music is rich, beautiful, original.  Louis Vigneron  is a very talented arranger with a great future.  He manages to make the orchestra sound very personal, which makes the enterprise passionate.
I had great pleasure in hearing this record full of great surprises.  No doubt this band is among the best."
--Martial Solal