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Rhys
Posted on Monday, June 02, 2003 - 09:46 am:   

I've been resisting the urge to start a thread about music (because there are so many elsewhere) but now I've decided to give up the struggle! And here it is!

Anyway, for a start, I found this fascinating site about the history of electronic music:

http://www.obsolete.com/120_years/
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Des
Posted on Monday, June 02, 2003 - 09:54 am:   

Music is so important, one wonders why people bother with writing or painting.
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John Coulthart
Posted on Monday, June 02, 2003 - 10:00 am:   

Now here's a great time-wasting subject to discuss when I'm supposed to be working. You're playing my tune, as it were. I'm a sucker for anything with old sythesisers and I've got masses of the stuff on CD. So much, in fact, I fear I've exhausted most of the prime works considering we're talking about a 20 year period when technology was in a state of flux. I like the Obsolete site. Synthmuseum is another good one as well. http://www.synthmuseum.com/ I've messed around with a lot of analogue synths in the past in misguided attempts to create "music". The software equivalents today don't quite feel the same which is a shame as the real things are now expensive collectors' pieces.

John
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Monday, June 02, 2003 - 10:43 am:   

Electronics are one of those areas I have weird feelings. On one hand, I do work in electronic music. On the other, I hate most electronic stuff. I suppose much of it comes down to the feel and sounds. I like bands that give a human feel to the electronics.

For the sounds, I do like the old analog synths. It's much easier to get good sounds out of them than today's digital synths.

I also love samplers. The ability to start with natural sounds and other instruments and twist them into something unnatural is a lot more satisfying than getting something unnatural sounding from synths.

But I completely loathe FM synthesis (and hence a lot of synths used in the 80's).

-Robert
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John Coulthart
Posted on Monday, June 02, 2003 - 11:32 am:   

I think I was born with silicon genes or something, I've always loved the artificiality of analogue electronics and the music I like most in this area tends to emphasis the artificial quality rather than try to imitate "real" instruments. Someone once described the early (pre-Dare) Human League rhythms resembling "steamhammers in a coalmine". I should also say, for balance, I'll happily listen to hours of John Coltrane as well, I'm not blind to other pleasures.

And samplers are great when used well. There's some brilliant collaging going on from people like John Wall. Makes you realise how creative you can be instead of simply stealing a loop from somewhere.

>But I completely loathe FM synthesis

I agree. The Yamaha DX-7--yak!

John
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iotar
Posted on Monday, June 02, 2003 - 12:17 pm:   

There's a lot of hardware virtual analogs about these days. So you get all of the tweakability of analog with the consistency and reliability of digital. I picked up a Red Sound DarkStar for about two hundred quid and it has been annoying my neighbours quite effectively for the last couple of years. Good fun shoving a guitar through the LFOs and turning everything into uncontrollable wibbling.

Also love lo-fi samplers. The old Casio SK-5 is brilliant - about half a second of eight bit mono sampling and if you loop it you get noisy glitches all over the place! They also did a primitive sampling drum machine, the RZ-1. The lower the quality of yr samples, the better it cuts through a mix. Doesn't matter if it sounds like really drums.

Better get my coat, I'm dribbling!
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John Coulthart
Posted on Monday, June 02, 2003 - 01:10 pm:   

Oops, this has got very technical all of a sudden. Inevitable really, since we're talking about technology. I've lost track of non-virtual instruments since my friend with the synths (and a Mellotron!) moved to the US. Another friend of mine does have a pocket Theremin (oo-er, missus!) which breaks the ice at parties, not to mention clearing the room...

Suppose it's time for a bout of listomania: here's some of my favourite analogue-fests (for today):

The United States of America-(same title) A psychedelic masterpiece
Wendy Carlos-A Clockwork Orange (complete score)
White Noise-An Electric Storm
Morton Subotnick-Touch
Gil Melle-The Andromeda Strain OST (vinyl only!)
Tonto's Expanding Headband-both albums, I suppose
and anything by Kraftwerk

For retro-pop fun Ladytron are okay right now.

John
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iotar
Posted on Monday, June 02, 2003 - 02:23 pm:   

Sorry John, I'm going to sign up with Electronics Anonymous in the morning.

That White Noise album is great and the music from A Clockwork Orange is pretty amazing too. I assume you know Stereolab's stuff? Seeing them live is pretty much a vintage synth rally.

Best noise ever: that descending corkscrew sound near the start of the second half of Stockhausen's Kontakte.
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John Coulthart
Posted on Monday, June 02, 2003 - 03:54 pm:   

I don't mind the technical stuff, just concerned other people might. I used to be able to gab about voltage controlled oscillators at great length.

Got loads of Stereolab. Their tweeness irritates me sometimes, I have to be in the mood but their heart's in the right place when they're not playing that Neu! riff for the 58th time. I bought something they did with Add N to (X) recently under the name Alternative 3. Can't remember what it sounds like so I suppose I should give it another listen.

And I've not heard any Stockhausen for years so I don't remember that sound. I've only got one album: one side is him and some colleagues scraping an amplified tam-tam with bits of metal (like Coil's How to Destroy Angels but not as good), the other is a string ensemble processed through ring modulators (those were the days, eh? I remember when there used to be nothing round here but crumhorns and low-pass filters). There was a funny interview The Wire did with him a few years ago where they played him a selection of contemporary electronica (Aphex, etc). He seriously believed all of it had been pre-empted (and bettered!) by his own compositions in the 60s and they'd all be better off playing stricter attention to his works!

John
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Rhys
Posted on Tuesday, June 03, 2003 - 02:36 am:   

I've been listening to Stereolab lately, this very morning in fact. 'Motoroller Scalatron' from *Emperor Tomato Ketchup* helped me leave the house for work today with a bounce in my step. What works for me with Stereolab is the fusion of funk and cheese... The cheese is spread over the funk. That's treating funk like toast!

Sometimes they sound like early Soft Machine as well as Neu! But without the girl singers I don't know if it would work...

Morton Subotnick is a name I haven't heard for years! The last piece of his I listened to was called something like *The Wild Bull* or *The Heaven Bull* or something... I think it was based on Sumerian mythology? He also did a piece called something like *The Silver Apples of the Moon*...

...Which reminds me of Silver Apples and the remarkable Simeon, the man and the cabinet of valves. Apparently they have just reformed! I can't possibly speculate whether that's a good or bad thing...
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iotar
Posted on Tuesday, June 03, 2003 - 04:06 am:   

Rhys: I believe the Silver Apples have been playing gigs and everything - I've got a feeling that a friend went to see them but I can't remember if they enjoyed them or not.

BTW: My new album is finished - if you send me yr snailmail address I'll put a copy in the post. When I'm less overwhelmed with mailing out this album I'll send you that Slapp Happy live recording and some other bits too.

John: Ah, but you've gotta love a guy who composes for a string quartet with each player in their own helicopter. It's surprisingly listenable too!
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John Coulthart
Posted on Tuesday, June 03, 2003 - 05:08 am:   

>Sometimes they sound like early Soft Machine as well as Neu! But without the girl singers

Well that Robert Wyatt sings like a girl anyway... Similar quality in places, true, but I think SM were in a different league (good feature about them in the latest Wire.)

The maniac Silver Apples took their name from Subotnick's album, as you may know. Part of the handful of bizarre electronic groups of the psych period (a particularly obsessive area for me--1968 is a key year) along with Lothar and the Hand People, Fifty Foot Hose, White Noise and the incredible United States of America, who I can't recommend highly enough. Unfortunately their album, which comes across in places like the Jefferson Airplane jamming with the Krell musicians from Forbidden Planet, seems to be deleted.

Subotnik is an amazing pioneer, a classically trained composer who dedicated himself to creating pure electronic works that could have the same substance as "proper" compositions. The Wild Bull is great (you can get it on CD with Silver Apples). Some of the sounds in it are exactly like bits of the soundtrack for Apocalypse Now and I'm sure that Patrick Gleeson or whoever borrowed a riff for the film score. His third album Touch I have on a DVD collection that's half audio and half video interview. You also get a free CD-ROM composition called Gestures that you have to play yourself by moving the mouse across the computer screen to trigger samples. Doesn't work as well as some of his other things but this guy is still innovating at an age when most musicians are relaxing with their trout farms.

Stockhausen: yep, he's certainly on his own planet! Let's not forget the Can/Kraftwerk connection, either. And he's on the cover of Sgt Pepper!

John
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iotar
Posted on Tuesday, June 03, 2003 - 07:40 am:   

I think there's often an Astrid Giberto element in Stereolab, especially that One Note Samba vibe which is inevitable when you mix bossa nova with Neu-ish motorisms.

I agree about Soft Machine but only in the fucked organ explosion sorta vibe. Stereolab never really losen up enough to get particularly jazz.
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John Coulthart
Posted on Tuesday, June 03, 2003 - 09:01 am:   

>I think there's often an Astrid Giberto element in Stereolab, especially that One Note Samba vibe which is inevitable when you mix bossa nova with Neu-ish motorisms.

Yes, well they do tend to (ahem) "borrow" from all over, don't they, especially song titles, although they're not as brazen in that area as Primal Scream. Maybe this is some Proudhon-esque "property is theft" thing from Laetitia. BTW, I listened to that Alternative 3 thing mentioned above this afternoon and it's not much cop which is why it made no impression.

John
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Des
Posted on Tuesday, June 03, 2003 - 10:29 am:   

Treating the thread title as read (Musing on Music), I have to say I am essentially a classical music fan ... it has so much to offer and most people I know turn a blind ear to it.
My own definition of classical music below(something about which I am more passionate than writing editing reading...), though I am musically illiterate as far as its technicalities are concerned:-

A shapeless area (defaulting towards an aspirationally cultural & predominantly exact art form) within the universal, uncompartmentalised, wholly accessible language of sound commonly known as music: encouraging spirituality and/or various permutations of all human emotions -- centring on and radiating from the serious deployment of an ostensibly organised pattern of acoustic sounds as produced by orchestral instruments and voices (performed normally by established or qualified interpreters/musicians, from one to very many). The question of taste and the unknowable relativities of disharmony and harmony are no part of this description, because such affective considerations differ from individual to individual. I shall tailgate any preconceptions...

In contrast my definition of pop music is;

A shapeless area (defaulting towards a popular art form) within the universal, uncompartmentalised, wholly accessible language of sound commonly known as music: encouraging dance, hummability, 'musak', soundbites of perceived 'aspirational cultures' and/or (when taking itself seriously) various permutations of all human emotions -- centring on and radiating from the deployment of an ostensibly organised pattern of acoustic and non-acoustic sounds as produced by computers, instruments and voices (performed normally by qualified and unqualified musicians, from one to very many). The question of taste and the unknowable relativities of disharmony and harmony are no part of this description, because such affective considerations differ from individual to individual.

But where does one become the other? Why have we ghettos in music? As I said when Rhys started this thread: music is so important, why do people even bother with writing and music. The famous quote goes something like this (Aristotle? Walter Pater? Moorcock?):-

"All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music."


Des

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John Coulthart
Posted on Tuesday, June 03, 2003 - 11:22 am:   

"All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music."

The quote was from Walter Pater, paraphrased ironically by Moorcock substituting "music" with "muzak".

>encouraging spirituality

Er, whose spirituality exactly? You mean Western people. Or do Muslims feel "spirtual" listening to Mozart's Requiem as well? This is one of those loaded terms that applies values often accrued historically to the partial development of an artform that, by implication, excludes other areas of the artform from having those values.

>the serious deployment

Another loaded term. Is only classical music allowed to be seen as serious in application or intent?

>But where does one become the other?

Well all over the place these days and most jazz of past decades fits your definition of classical ("serious", "spiritual", trained musicians) exept that jazz has always had the one element that classical music has no time for (although it used to): improvisation. "Classical" and "pop" are now opposite ends of a vast spectrum where the tendency to apply labels breaks down entirely because there's so much cross-pollination going on. Most of this isn't reflected in mainstream music just as most of the writers on these boards aren't represented in the mainstream book world.

>Why have we ghettos in music?

Ask the marketing men. I agree with Bill Laswell (a great cross-pollinator) when he said that all music in shops should be in the same racks, listed A-Z.

John
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Des
Posted on Tuesday, June 03, 2003 - 11:41 am:   

"...jazz has always had the one element that classical music has no time for (although it used to): improvisation. "
*******

Well, much modern classical music (e.g. Ades, Turnage, McMillan, Penderecki, Roberto Gerhard etc, even Reich, Glass) has the *feel* of improvisation; which is half the battle.
I agree with the a-z point at the end of your message.
Des
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Des
Posted on Tuesday, June 03, 2003 - 11:47 am:   

">encouraging spirituality

Er, whose spirituality exactly? "
**********

Well, spirituality, in general. Hard to place myself between the ears of others. Perhaps one can learn to feel the 'spirituality' in Mozart's Requiem, whatever the basis of one's life before the experience. Or spirituality is inherent in the music, and doesn't need to be learned.
My definitions were for discussion and open to many loopholes.
Des
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Tuesday, June 03, 2003 - 11:51 am:   

John - funny you should bring up the issues of spirituality and culture. I was recently talking about that with friends. I went into a CD shop and saw the "Spiritual" section, which dealt exlucively with Christian bands. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, while quite spiritual, was relegated to "world music", as were Buddhist chants, the Master Musicians of Jajouka, and a whole host of music that is quite religious, but not Western religion.


I've given up on labeling music, since labels rarely make sense. You've got bands that defy labels (like Dead Can Dance). Plus there are labels that just don't have meaning (emo - if the music is supposed to be "emo"tional, wouldn't almost all music be in that genre?). You've got genres that appear under multiple names (much of 90's "post-rock", had it been released in the 80's would be called "dream pop"). There's so little sense to it.

I don't quite simply music into 2 categories, I need a 3rd: Good, band and mediocre (stuff that is neither good nor bad).

-Robert
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Des
Posted on Tuesday, June 03, 2003 - 11:54 am:   

">the serious deployment

Another loaded term. Is only classical music allowed to be seen as serious in application or intent? "

******************
I agree with your implication. I was merely defining Classical Music as neutrally as possible. There is much that is both serious and delightfully non-serious about pop music, by intent and application. Serious is always the intent for Classical Music (I guess), right or wrong, but the result can be non-serious in the *listener*'s ears (as with Prokoviev's quirky Classical Symphony!). But that brings us to the Intentional Fallacy, perhaps...
Des


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iotar
Posted on Tuesday, June 03, 2003 - 03:50 pm:   

Ah, Dead Can Dance - that's easy! They're goffs, innit!
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liz hand
Posted on Tuesday, June 03, 2003 - 04:54 pm:   

I'm coming late to this thread, but it's nice to see that Lothar and the Hand People have made their mark. A boyfriend of mine used to go see them perform in someone's garage at the Jersey Shore: a garage with a theramin! The same boyfriend and I discovered that an eight-track tape of the CLOCKWORK ORANGE soundtrack, cued to a silent videotape of METROPOLIS, made an eerily perfect soundtrack for the Lang movie. I should get the CD and try it now to see if it still works.

Anyone remember Tonto's Expanding Headband? They used to get airplay along with Lothar et al on WNEW in NYC, back in the very early to mid-1970s; the dj would then segue into early Kraftwerk. And, once, the Shaggs.

Zali, I *like* Dead Can Dance (esp. the early stuff). Will you still be my webmaster?
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John Coulthart
Posted on Tuesday, June 03, 2003 - 05:58 pm:   

Hey, a Lothar fan! Their albums sound a bit primitive now but then I tend to think of them as representing the primitive end of the psych/electronica thing anyway, along with Silver Apples and their "we play the same drum rhythm forever" style. That they played in a garage makes them garage electronica! Very apt, thanks for the story. You'll notice I mentioned the great Tonto above.

I got Metropolis on DVD recently but haven't tried watching it with any other music. I'll have to give Clockwork Orange a shot although it's hard to think of anything else listening to that music. BTW the remastered CD of Clockwork sounds incredible. Wendy Carlos has an exceptional and informative site at http://www.wendycarlos.com

>Ah, Dead Can Dance - that's easy! They're goffs, innit!

More than that, they're Visigoffs, I reckon.

John
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iotar
Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 12:51 am:   

Liz: Oh I like Dead Can Dance too but it remains that they be goffs. I know a Lisa Gerrard clone - looks like her, is also called Lisa and she's a goff too.

Of course I'll still be yr webmaster - if I'm allowed!

Was TONTO The Original New Timbral Oscillator that appeared on a Steve Hillage album?
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John Coulthart
Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 03:38 am:   

>Was TONTO The Original New Timbral Oscillator that appeared on a Steve Hillage album?

Yep. (From Goffs to Hippies in one fell swoop.) Tonto also worked with Stevie Wonder on a number of records so I guess that restored some cred for them.

John
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liz
Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 04:12 am:   

John -- sorry I missed the Tonto ref! The perils of getting too excited and reading too fast. I heard Lothar's "Space Hymn" online after the Challenger went down, the first time I'd heard (or thought of) the song in years. Kind of encapsulated an age, for good or bad. And certainly primitive, but I have a real sweet tooth for that kind of 'so bad it's good' stuff (my initial typing read 'so bad it's god," which I guess works too).

I wouldn't necessarily recommend playing CLOCKWORK ORANGE to anything else -- we just did it because our copy of METROPOLIS (this is in the early 80s) had no sound track, and we wanted music for it. Has anyone seen the restored METROPOLIS? one of my favorite movies. I haven't -- living in the boonies (and using an older iMac) I often don't have access to new movies/music unless I actually buy it, which can get expensive. But everything I've read about the new version sounds great.

The Original New Timbral Oscillator: they just don't come up with catchy names like that anymore.
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Rhys
Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 07:00 am:   

If Dead Can Dance are goths (and I concede that they are) then they must fall into a fairly small subset of gothics -- the subset of Troubadour Gothic perhaps? Or maybe Mediaeval Catalonian Gothic?

Rather unfairly I always associate Dead Can Dance with the Cocteau Twins. I always thought of the Cocteau Twins as goths, even long after their *Garland* days. Ethereal Gothic... Or even more paradoxically, Rococo Gothic???

How far can Gothic be pushed before it stops being Gothic? Would it ever be possible to have Sunny Gothic as a viable genre?

I regret to say that I've never heard anything by Lothar or the United States of America. They are just names to me, unfortunately, like so many other bands. Probably the most obscure band I like to beat the gong about are Brainticket, who sometimes sound a bit like Gong, but often don't.

By the way, I agree that the Stereolab and Soft Machine have more differences than similarities but the beginning of so many Stereolab tracks, with the pulsing organ and fast bass runs, always makes a light in my head switch on which says Soft Machine. 'Percolator' reminds me of 'Pig' for instance...
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 07:58 am:   

Maybe my definition of gothic is a bit narrow - mainly it relates to the early 80's death rock bands. I'll say the first DCD disc was gothic, but stuff like Aion (mostly medieval), Into The Labyrinth & Spirit Chaser (world music) hardly seem gothic to me. Play Bauhaus and DCD right after each other and then say if they are the same genre. I've always concidered DCD a genre unto themselves.

As to how far gothic an be pushed, that depends on how you think of gothic. Voltaire (the musician) has done some bouncy and happy sounding folk music, and some consider him gothic.

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iotar
Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 10:28 am:   

Perhaps we could just describe gothic as any music made by goths? The definition of goth has stretched so widely. In the heartland we might see The Sisters, The Mission and the Neph and then looking back to the roots there are bands like Bauhaus, Siouxsie and even arguably Joy Division. But then as time goes on we see the gothic styling and ethos in industrial (Ministry, 242?), faux-early music (Dead Can Dance, Mediaeval Baebes?), apocalyptic folk (Current 93) and so forth.

Basically it's just a kinda dark romantic post-punk thing. And why don't you seem to see goffs wearing paisley anymore?
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John Coulthart
Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 11:50 am:   

>Has anyone seen the restored METROPOLIS?

That's the one I've got on DVD and it's incredible. The most complete print I've seen, running at the proper speed (silent films are often projected too fast or too slow) and the quality of the picture is awesome to behold. Made in the 20s but looks sharper and clearer than a lot of films made 20 years later.

>Probably the most obscure band I like to beat the gong about are Brainticket

I've still to get round to them despite having masses of Teutonic music from that period. Cottonwoodhill, right?

>And why don't you seem to see goffs wearing paisley anymore?

I saw the Sisters in 1983 and Eldritch was indeed wearing paisley. A lot of the early stuff had psychedelic roots, didn't it? SoM covered Gimme Shelter, All About Eve were kind of hippy goths, Southern Death Cult wished they were The Doors, etc. The Banshees covered Dear Prudence and Severin (a previous employer of mine) did that Glove thing with Robert Smith. This was all happening before psychedelia became one of the many areas of plunder for bands in general. When it all became defined as "Goth" that set things up as an identifiable cultural style for future disaffected youth to choose from. Paisley doesn't fit the graveyard ethic does it? It implies the world might not be as doom-laden as it seems.

BTW, iotar, you were missing the whole field of Black and Death Metal in your list of goff evolution. Current employers of mine, Cradle of Filth, are four-square in the midst of this.

John
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iotar
Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 12:10 pm:   

Ah yes, I find the cross-fertilization of metal and goth weird. Not because they're all that different but more in the sense that goth people and metal people were quite separate in the eighties. As far as I can remember goths didn't listen to Sabbath. Perhaps that was just where I was growing up? Thrash was more inspired by punk and the NWOBHM - there wasn't such a glam look to thrash. I think goth picked up metal via glam - Bauhaus melting into Bowie.

Hold on: why am I still going on about this?

Anyway, as I seem to say anytime that Rhys mentions Brainticket: Brainticket are fab!

Which brings up another tangent: ever since the revival of interest in Krautrock in the nineties lazy music critics have taken to using the term Krautrock to describe anything with an austere minimal spaceyness. What about Amon Duul 2? Baroque, lush, convoluted, surreal. What they really mean is "It sounds a bit like Neu! doesn't it?"

That bloody Julian Cope, eh?

Rant over.
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John Coulthart
Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 01:11 pm:   

Most of the current metal scenes (which are legion) seem like inevitable extrapolations from old trends. So Black Metal came via Sabbath and Venom, apparently and has become goth by default simply because there's only so much you can do with black clothes, white face paint and "I'm so vampiric, me" attitudes. None more black, indeed. Happily the Filth boys have a sense of humour.

I try to avoid the term Krautrock, simply because to Germans you're talking about cabbage music if you do--but I suppose we're stuck with it. You're right about critics, they now apply that dumb word "motorik" to anything with a vaguely Neu-ish rhythm. Not Julian C's fault, he's a great enthusiast and that Krautrock book of his is fabulous. Funny you mention the mighty Duul as I've been listening to them all week having bought all of their CDs again (they came out on Mantra in 1991. The new lot are properly remastered and include the singles as well.) I love them to death, Yeti is one of my desert island discs. Another funny thing is I've always thought of them as Gothic in a very Teutonic way and this perception goes back way beyond the goff hoo-har (first heard them in about 1979.) Beneath the Max Ernst track titles you've got lyrics like "Go to Edgar Allan in the tower of sleep" and "sunk cities are rising from the sea"--always makes me think of Call of Cthulhu. And the incredible scary album covers, especially for Wolf City which is a thousand times more Gothic to me then anything I've seen from lace-wearing pseudo-Vampires. What a band. You should tell MJH to take a look at the back of Dance of the Lemmings. I'm sure that's the Shrander sat on that couch. (Eek! That makes it even more scary!)

John
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iotar
Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 01:28 pm:   

I was picking up old Amon Duul 2 albums in mint condition for peanuts before Cope blabbed his mouth off about Krautrock and then the album prices rocketed.

But yes, those first three AD2 albums: Phallus Dei, Yeti and Dance of the Lemmings are absolutely brilliant. Like a Phillipe Druillet (Another HPL fan) comic as music. The next two, Wolf City and Carnival in Babylon, are far more considered affairs - Carnival is the perfect Sunday morning album, after that they became a bit patchy. But I'm still *so* in love with Renate circa 1972!

I'd forgotten about the horses skull on Lemmings. I'll keep that in reserve if I ever need to scare shit out of MJH!
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GabrielM
Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 02:03 pm:   

>>If Dead Can Dance are goths (and I concede that they are) then they must fall into a fairly small subset of gothics -- the subset of Troubadour Gothic perhaps? Or maybe Mediaeval Catalonian Gothic?


It may not be that small. The aspect of DCD you highlight is part of what some people would call gothic folk. Like the New York band Unto Ashes, for example:

http://www.projekt.com/projekt/product.asp?sku=PRO00117&dept%5Fid=10

I think DCD was in fact a fairly diverse outfit and there was both that "medieval troubadour" sound as well as the sound that people associate with Cocteau Twins (one of my favorite bands, as you know.) "Ethereal" certainly captures it; the Projekt label, which puts out a lot of Cocteau-influenced material, also likes you to use the term "ambient gothic", which I thought was bizarre when I first heard it but I've now grown used to.

Labels, ain't they fun?
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John Coulthart
Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 02:13 pm:   

>Like a Phillipe Druillet (Another HPL fan) comic as music.

That is absolutely spot-on! Makes perfect sense to me as I discovered The Duul and The Druillet at the same time, when Heavy Metal was reprinting loads of great European comics in English. If he didn't do a picture of sunk cities rising from the sea he should have done.

And Renate is a goddess...

John
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iotar
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 01:22 am:   

I discovered Duul around the same time my mother moved to Paris. So she'd bring over all these Druillet and Moebius books whenever she came back to London. I remember putting Phallus Dei on the stereo once when she was over with a French boyfriend - he looked disapprovingly at the stereo. I handed him the album sleeve and he said, "Ah, les foux allemandes!"

I've only seen one Druillet image that was *directly* HPL related but there's plenty of tentacle-headed monstrosities in the opening pages of Yragael.

Actually, now I think about it Magma are also Druillet as music.
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John Coulthart
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 05:53 am:   

Druillet was in the Heavy Metal Lovecraft special from November 1979 with some illustrations showing pages from the Necronomicon and a photo of HPL compared with a picture of a Deep One. In another book I have a portrait he did of Lovecraft (HPL as stone head with Deep One fins floating over monstrous city of impossible angles and unnameable horrors.) As you say, virtually everything he's done is Lovecraftian anyway, even his Elric comic and adaptation of Flaubert's Salammbo. At this point I might direct interested parties to my own Lovecraft comics adaptations, which can be seen in Creation's The Starry Wisdom and my own Haunter of the Dark collection. Call of Cthulhu was drawn almost exclusively to the accompaniment of Rubicon by Tangerine Dream and Magic Realism by Jon Hassell.

Enough self-promotion. Back to les French. I've got an album with a Druillet cover: East/West by Richard Pinhas. Cover pic is from Salammbo but looks great as a sleeve image. It's also the best album I've heard of his and has Norman Spinrad ranting on a couple of tracks. Got a couple of Heldon albums as well although they never seemed all that interesting. Just to make sure we've now alienated everyone from this increasingly obscure conversation, whither Bernard Szajner? He made some great electronic albums in the early 80s, did something with Howard Devoto (I think) then vanished. One of his was a Dune "concept" album--I've got another along similar but unrelated lines by Pinhas. Neither are much cop but it maintains this French/SF/music theme. None of them have the lunatic energy of Magma, of course. Did you know snooker's Steve Davis is a big Magma fan? He's a Deep One, is that Steve...

John
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iotar
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 07:06 am:   

Ah yes, apparently Steve Davis paid for Magma to come to this country once. I saw them playing at the RFH (or was it the QEH?) a few years back and Paul McCartney was in the audience. Also the only gig I've ever seen where one of the roadies was applauded for swinging a big boom mic across Christan Vander's drum kit in time for the great man to launch into a bout of alien yodelling!

Never heard any Bernard Szajner (See, you've lost me too!) but I take it he's part of that French cosmic jazz-rock conspiracy. To bring in another tangential link: did you know that Frank Herbert and Jack Vance co-owned (and built) a boat? The Vances and Herberts used to take holidays together. I can't think of any music that epitomises Vancean (perhaps the Ozrics when they're not being too annoying? Maybe the Ozrics are sorta comedy Karkashton?) but the perfect visual complement to Vance *has* to be Moebius. I don't think he's ever done a direct Vance comic but he does that whole exotic ambience just right.

(Sorry Rhys if I'm diverting from the original purpose of this thread!)

Oh, and I might well look up yr Haunter of the Dark collection. I remember the Black Sword and Zones covers you did for the Hawks - great covers, just a bit of a shame that the band were going through a dodgy phase at the time!
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Rhys
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 07:37 am:   

"Sorry Rhys if I'm diverting from the original purpose of this thread!"

No apologies! This is all great!

Hmm, 'The Original Purpose' is a pretty good name for a band, come to think of it!

I have an idea for what may turn out to be a really funky (and strange) piece of music. It could be my very first proper composition... I think I might be ready to discuss it, if anyone's interested? I'm fired with the idea of actually making it happen!
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Des
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 07:52 am:   

What does 'funky' mean?
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iotar
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 07:53 am:   

Sounds good! What's the plan?
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iotar
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 07:58 am:   

Des: In some contexts it means that it smells bad.
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Rhys
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 08:06 am:   

Tell you what, I'll try to write a coherent outline of my idea tonight and post it here tomorrow...

What does funky mean? That's a difficult one. A 'funky' sensation is one that's a bit like walking in very comfortable shoes, but it's also slightly cosmic. And there's an oiled, almost Mayan element to it... Imagine being a Mayan priest, stripped naked and rubbed down with sweet smelling oils, wearing an elaborate headdress made of feathers and jumping down from a low flying spacecraft with spring heeled slippers into the centre of a crowd of lust filled girls...

That's quite funky.
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John Coulthart
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 08:12 am:   

Szajner is probably tangential to the Franco jazz-rock/prog world. His best album, Some Deaths Take Forever was an electronic concept album about people on death row (suck on that, Alan Parsons!) Mainly keyboards and his own hand-built synths but he had guitars and bass on there as well from some of Pinhas's regulars. A heavy album; wish I had the CD as my vinyl copy is knackered. He also made a genuine scientifiction musical instrument: an electronic harp with "strings" made of lasers that triggered synth sounds. Jean-Michel Jarre used it as a gimmick for a while.

More French Lovecraft music: Magma copyists Univers Zero did a track based on The Music of Erich Zann. Not very impressive, just the sounds of someone scraping a violin!

Moebius and Jack Vance--that would be terrific. I love The Dying Earth, might be a bit dark for Moebius, however.

And you've finally rumbled my Hawkwind past. One of the cover designs I did was a direct steal from Druillet. I felt I was vaguely justified as Barney Bubbles did the same in the 70s. You're right, the albums from that period are very ropey indeed--even Dave Brock didn't like some of them! I was but a callow youth so I suppose I have a slight excuse.

Bring it on Rhys. I'll resist the temptation to rain on your parade (The Rain Parade, another great band!) and tell you it's probably been done before somewhere.

John
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 08:27 am:   

Let's hear that idea Rhys.

I've been coming up with odd ideas I want to try out, but I'm not sure if any will be completed.

1) A measure by measure song - the song starts being written by one person. That person writes one measure, then sends it to the next person. That person writes the next measure and sends it to the next person, etc. After some arbitrary length, the song is considered done.

2) A project inspired by Changing Hands by Jansen/Barbieri/Takemura. In their words:

The recording evolved continuously over a period
of some months with the exchange of multitrack
tapes back and forth between London and Kyoto -
editing, overdubbing, recomposing, de-composing
and even erasing elements of the music with each
exchange. In collaborating with Takemura in this
indirect way, whereby we never actually met or
propositioned ideas, we ventured into a rather
experimental area of composition, and the
various musical directions that emerged from
this made it a unique and satisfying project to
work on.

This project would take a similar idea, sending music back and forth, editing, overdubbing, erasing, recomposing until all parties involved are satisfied with the results.

3) Remixing. In this project, a completed piece of music would be contributed by each member. The other members would remix the music. The idea is not to do simple remixes, but to do a complete remix, where something new is created out of the music.

4) Independent music writing. Each member involved will contribute music on one instrument (drums, guitar, keyboards, bass, or any other
instrument). This music will be written before hearing anything the other musicians write. The music will then be pooled, and each member will try combining the various instruments together into a song. The combination might not be the entire piece of music, but may be partial or
rearrangements.

5) A randomizable EP. This would be 20-30 minutes of music, broken up into 30-120 second tracks. The tracks should make sense no matter what order they are played in. The goal is to hit random play and have a coherent piece of music for any random order (not something totally disjointed, like the other randomized projects I've heard).

Ideally, this would also have lyrics that could be rearranged into any order and still make some sense.
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iotar
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 08:30 am:   

Oh *that* laser harp!

Yeah, Moebius would probably be best doing Vance's planetary romances. The Moonmoth, obviously, and the Alastor books. There *is* actually a French artist doing a Tschai adaption at the moment. And, and, and I just remembered that I've seen a cover from an old magazine with Druillet doing a cover for a Vance story. Can't remember which one - I've got a feeling it was a Demon Prince story.

As to the Hawks: I'm one of those people who think they were finished when Bob left. But that Zone's cover was fab - probably the best thing on the album. Which cover was nicked from Druillet?
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Des
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 08:31 am:   

I must be quite funky, then.
Actually, in the early eighties, I did much improvisation on a Casio organ and, often, accompanied by my then two youngish children (flute, percussion, piano, clarinet etc.) Much of it was Glass-inspired. In fact one of the pieces was called 'Padgett Weggs', after which I eventually entitled my first published story in 1986.
Is that funky or is that funky?
Des
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iotar
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 08:34 am:   

Robert: I've wanted to do something like idea 5 for a while. It'd work best as a minidisk, because they have nice seamless random and shuffle features. I did a minidisk where I spoke all of the phonemes in the from of a dictionary into a minidisk and then played it back on random - it was a little jerky but with a bit of echo and a drop of wine you'd start to hear words coming out of it. "Hoover" was the most common.
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Rhys
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 08:39 am:   

My project is a variation of the Chinese Whispers game... But it's much more complex than that!

In fact its title is 'Whispers in Curly Slippers' because the musicians should wear curly slippers while they play...

That's just an incidental detail. Tomorrow I'll outline the whole thing!

Ooh I'm excited!
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iotar
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 08:41 am:   

I have some gold curly slippers. With they do? I'll try to remember to take a photo of them.
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Des
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 08:45 am:   

BTW, all those funky improvisations I did in the early eighties are still on cassette!
Des
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John Coulthart
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 09:04 am:   

Mike Moorcock pointed me to a web page a while back that had a Druillet Hodgson illustration which I'd never seen before.

>As to the Hawks: I'm one of those people who think they were finished when Bob left. But that Zone's cover was fab - probably the best thing on the album. Which cover was nicked from Druillet?

I agree about the Hawks. I only met Calvert once, he was very smartly dressed but seemed to be living on the same planet as Syd Barrett. Actually, for me, classic Hawkwind ends in 1975 with the departure of Lemmy. But the Calvert era was great as well. And I'm pleased you like Zones, it's one of the few I can bear to see in the shops! Mike M is on it as well. The Druillet steal was on the back of the egregious Text of Festival, one of the albums that even Brock disparaged. That back picture is okay (apart from the UFOs) but my front picture is an appalling travesty that Dave Brock thought was great. I made a mistake at the beginning of sending him stuff saying "I could do you things like this" and he went and used them as finished artwork! We live and learn.

John
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 09:10 am:   

iotar: Hoover was the most common? Are you familiar with the Voices of the Apocalypse sample set? It's a choir sample that samples each vowel sound and each consonant and lets you arrange them into words. The clips I've heard sounded great.

Anyway, I hadn't considered minidisc, but that might work well. Maybe mp3s on a player with crossfades would work even better.

I figure the random project is the least likely one I'll try, just because it will be the most difficult to do well.
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GabrielM
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 09:54 am:   

The NY Times mentions today a site where you can "play" Harry Partch instruments. The site is apparently the Internet companion to an ongoing public radio series focusing on 20th century American composers such as Ives, Cage, Reich, Crumb and others. I recall the San Francisco Symphony did a fairly daring (by US standards) concert series featuring these composers a few years ago and the radio programs will be featuring those same concerts and adding interviews and the like. Sounds interesting, at least.

http://www.musicmavericks.org/
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iotar
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 10:22 am:   

>>Hoover was the most common? Are you familiar with the Voices of the Apocalypse sample set?

Robert: No, I've never come across that - sounds brilliant! Apologies if this joke doesn't make any sense if yr in the States (I have no idea about vacuum cleaners in the US!) - but I've got a feeling that the minidisk was trying to tell me to do more housework.

>>Actually, for me, classic Hawkwind ends in 1975 with the departure of Lemmy. But the Calvert era was great as well.

John: Well, I was going to trace it to the end of the UA era and the departure of Lemmy but then I remembered about Calvert's skewed pop take on the Hawks. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't but I've got a bit of a soft spot for Bob. I *think* I might have seen his last gig: The 100 Club in Oxford Street with The Starfighters in 1988(?) - enormously energetic performer. Overawed! I giggled all the way home like a big girl!
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Des
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 10:36 am:   

Talking about Hoovers, Sir Malcom Arnold is one of my favourite symphonists: his canon of nine symphonies is absolutely fantastic. I could go on all day about this British composer (who also composed a lot of film music, like Bridge on The River Kwai.) Anyway, hoovers? He composed this, too:


A Grand, Grand Overture (for three electric vacuum cleaners, electric floor polisher, rifles & orchestra), op. 57 (1956)


Honestly.

Des
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iotar
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 10:43 am:   

Wow! That's really as British and 20th C music gets! I wonder if the rifles were used to shoot the cleaning appliances or the orchestra?

There was this French film I saw years ago on telly about this composer with insomnia. Everything was conspiring to keep him awake - noisy friends playing cards, car horns, revving motorcycles - and then when you finally hear the piece that he has composed there's a motorcycle with a horn and all sorts of noise-making implements in the orchestra.

Anyone know the film I'm talking about or did I dream it?
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Des
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 07:43 am:   

I was wondering what the longest piece of music you've got on CD. I love long sprawling music, like Mahler and Bruckner symphonies, Havergal Brian's Gothic Symphony that lasts about 2 hours I recall, Wagner's Parsifal, Philip Glass's Einstein on The beach ...
Well, the longest I've got is a solo piano piece called Opus Clavicembalisticum (1929) by Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji (1892-1988) which lasts 234' 23" over 5 CDs. Performed in front of a live audience by Geoffrey Douglas Madge.

BTW, I have also got some more Sorabji piano music on CD which is inpsired by the stories of MR James!

Des
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John Coulthart
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 09:00 am:   

>I was wondering what the longest piece of music you've got on CD.

Wagner's Ring Cycle--14CDs. Always wanted to hear the Havergal Brian. See, the Gothic is never far away.

John
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Des
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 09:22 am:   

It's almost like cheating to quote the Ring Cycle as the longest piece! ;-)
These are separate operas in my opinion, that have been brought together and performed over several evenings at Bayreuth. Used to love them. Must get back to them. What do you think of Parsifal, which to me is some of the purest music ever written? Philip Glass operas are similar.
Des
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Des
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 09:48 am:   

Re Havergal Brian's Gothic - I've got this on CD. When my son visits I might try to get him to burn it for you. Or is that infra dig to burn?
Des
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John Coulthart
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 09:51 am:   

True, I cheat... sorry. However, there are lietmotifs that carry over from one opera to the next so they're not that separate. Unfortunately my set is a live recording so you get the sounds of opera elephants clumping around the stage mixed with the music. Got to get the Solti set one day. Parsifal is great as well, don't have any copy of that at the moment. I like Einstein on the Beach a lot but I'm not so keen on Glass's more recent ones. My favourite music of his are the Koyaanisqatsi and Mishima soundtracks.

Nice to see someone mention George Crumb above, one of my favourites in the contemporary classical world.

John
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Rhys
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 05:08 am:   

I love George Crumb. His *Ancient Voices of Children* led me to the poetry of Lorca...

Gabe M (see above) led me to the poetry of Neruda...

My nose led me to my destination -- which is where I would have laid my hat down (to claim it as home) if I'd had a hat.

I'm rambling because I've been walking in the hot sun without anything to drink!

I still haven't outlined my composition yet. Sorry. It's coming. I've just been pushed for time.
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Des
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 05:09 am:   

I can see what you mean by the leitmotifs, but carry-over leitmotifs happen in all walks of life without cohering discretely.
Have you heard Nicholas Maw's long symphonic work called Odyssey? If you like Crumb, you'll probably like Maw.
Des
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 06:02 am:   

George Crumb is great. Haunted Landscape is one of the few pieces of music I think is actually creepy. Horror movies should look to that for soundtrack ideas.
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Des
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 06:45 am:   

And a lot of avant garde modern classical composers should look to horror film scores for inspiration, too!

Creepiest music? The Isle Of The Dead by Rachmaninov.
Saddest music? The Curlew Song Cycle by Peter Warlock.
Happiest? Some of the movements in Brahms symhonies.
Most uplifting? Carl Nielsen's Espansiva symphony
Des
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John Coulthart
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 06:56 am:   

Hard to beat Bartok for creepiness. Maybe Penderecki, which is why they're both used in The Shining. Isle of the Dead is good (based on one of my favourite paintings) but can't hold a candle to Bela (my favourite composer over all.)

BTW, Crumb has a website: http://www.georgecrumb.net/

John
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Des
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 07:06 am:   

Bartok's String Quartets and Beethoven's late string quartets are probably all time favourites of mine. I presume you are thinking of Bartok's Celeste, Percussion thing (title?) when you refer to creepy. I certainly agree.
Penderecki's symphonies and his Threnody for The Hiroshima Victims are certainly horrifically haunting.
Frightening: Some of Kancheli's symphonies where the CD cover warns not to have volume too high initially, because they start quiet and then suddenly burst your eardrums with awesome nightmares of sound.
Des
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GabrielM
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 11:54 am:   

>>I love George Crumb. His *Ancient Voices of Children* led me to the poetry of Lorca...


I wonder whether I can get a different recording of that piece. I like it a lot, but when the female soprano opens her mouth her accent is so atrocious it ruins it for me. All I can think of when I hear it is of Monty Python singing, "Las llamas son mas grandes que las raaaanas."
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Rhys
Posted on Sunday, June 08, 2003 - 09:08 am:   

That's because you're a Colombian show-off, Meester Mesa!

:-)
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GabrielM
Posted on Sunday, June 08, 2003 - 11:43 am:   

Hey, I'm just trying to suspend my disbelief here! It's like when Charlton Heston, playing a Mexican detective, tries to speak Spanish in TOUCH OF EVIL. Great movie, but I've taken to fastforwarding through that scene.
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Luís Rodrigues
Posted on Sunday, June 08, 2003 - 12:26 pm:   

Inverted-question-mark, downday aystah lah leebrrarrreeah?
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Rhys
Posted on Monday, June 09, 2003 - 03:44 am:   

¡Sussssspendaaaaa su incredullllidad!

What the heck do I know?

I now imagine some ancient Egyptian sitting in his tomb saying, "That Philip Glass! I like his AKHENATON but the accents are terrible!"
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iotar
Posted on Monday, June 09, 2003 - 05:36 am:   

Was Koyaanisqatsi pronounced correctly? Any ideas?

Bad accents: Eliot's French accent on a reading of The Wasteland. Embarrassing! He hasn't got any better by Four Quartets - each time I get to "entre deux guerres" something twists inside me... in a bad way, y'understand?

While we're here: bringing us back to music. The fake American accents on Spacemen 3 albums are always worth a giggle but I wonder if Americans would actually recognise them as American accents?
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Des
Posted on Monday, June 09, 2003 - 07:53 am:   

My reading of the Four Quartets is the best one (with music improvised by me in the background) Circa 1983
Des
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iotar
Posted on Monday, June 09, 2003 - 08:30 am:   

How is yr French pronunciation?
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Des
Posted on Monday, June 09, 2003 - 09:11 am:   

A trifle Proustian. Des
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Rhys
Posted on Monday, June 09, 2003 - 10:13 am:   

I tried to dip a Madeleine in a cup of tea once but she wouldn't fit...

I licked her anyway. Can't say I was reminded of anything but I'd certainly do it again.
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Bill B.
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 12:01 pm:   

Speaking of Robert Calvert (as someone was far above), what I wouldn't give for a copy of his novel HYPE! I've been searching bookstores both real and virtual for about seven years now with nary a copy turned up.
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iotar
Posted on Wednesday, June 18, 2003 - 09:52 am:   

I found a copy in a junkshop in Kentish Town - still haven't read the bugger. I'll post here if I ever find another copy.
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Rhys
Posted on Monday, July 14, 2003 - 03:26 am:   

Hopefully the project I talked about ages ago, *Whispers in Curly Slippers* (my first composition) will be ready for me to post here by the end of this week.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 11:02 am:   

What ever happened to Whispers in Curly Slippers?
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Rhys
Posted on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 03:42 am:   

Whoops... It has been on the back burner for four months...

I guess I ought to stop procrastinating and deliver the idea.

Thanks for the reminder, Robert!

Talking about *music* in general, my favourite albums of the year so far are Natacha Atlas' Something Dangerous, Susheela Raman's Love Trap and Morcheeba's Parts of the Process...
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Bill B.
Posted on Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - 10:47 am:   

To update my situation described in my June 17 post: I just got a copy of Robert Calvert's HYPE! I love ABE's wantlist matching feature...

My favorite album of 2003 is only a half album, "Cheap Songs Tell the Truth" by The Music Lovers.
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Rhys
Posted on Monday, January 26, 2004 - 07:24 am:   

FAVOURITE ALBUM COVERS

In an attempt to resurrect interest in this thread -- before I finally get round to explaining the piece of music I mentioned all that time ago -- I thought I should raise a subject which has long interested me...

...namely the best album covers ever issued.

Does anybody out there have any particular favourites? Many deluded moons ago, when I thought prog-rock was an extremely agreeable thing I loved the artwork of Roger Dean -- his covers for YES were the pussy's jimjams to me! I also loved Giger's covers for ELP. Best of all, however, were certain King Crimson covers -- especially IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING (with its giant face), LIZARD (with its intricate scrollwork) and LARKS' TONGUES IN ASPIC (an album I still rate very highly!)

Later I developed a taste for the 'cool' covers put out by the 4AD label, especially those for the Cocteau Twins -- VICTORIALAND in particular.

Now I like cover art which is a bit more spicy and sexy, Los Amigos Invisibles' VENEZUELAN ZINGA SON or Natacha Atlas' SOMETHING DANGEROUS, for instance.

However, I'd be hard pushed to think of a better album cover than Osibisa's SUNSHINE DAY, which is almost a story as well as a picture.

Anybody else got any favourites???
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Bowen Mendenhall
Posted on Monday, January 26, 2004 - 12:06 pm:   

I enjoy the album art of my favorite band, Hella. I think I'm too much a child of the compact disc to appreciate musical packaging, though.
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Forrest
Posted on Monday, January 26, 2004 - 01:23 pm:   

Call me old fashioned, but I've always liked the old YES album covers. So I'm retro . . .
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Monday, January 26, 2004 - 08:09 pm:   

Looking through my CD collection, I don't see many discs that have cover art that I love. I think the musicians I like just have different taste in artwork.

The ones I like are Psychotic Waltz - Live and Archives (disturbing Bosch influenced painting).

Solefald - In Harmonia Universali (a somewhat Hellish image of gears and people in chains).

Ved Buens Ende - Written in Waters (indistinctly drawn figures writhing in pain).

Something all of them have in common is they are painted (not digital art), you can see the paint in all of them, and all are rather unpleasant looking. It's not that I'm looking for unpleasant scenes, it's just those are the ones I have (since I have a strong metal background, that's where it comes from).

Besides those, I do like the Dirty Three's covers (Van Gogh inspired).

There is definitely something appealing about the simplicity of Lark's Tongue, but it's not something I'd rate as a favorite.

Oh, and I like the cover of my album :-)
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GabrielM
Posted on Monday, January 26, 2004 - 08:48 pm:   

I've always had a particular appreciation for the Blue Note jazz album covers, which were very cool and sleek and had a very recognizable look to them.
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Rhys
Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 - 07:15 am:   

Yes, Blue Note! Marvellous stuff...
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Rhys
Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 - 07:21 am:   

I love Putumayo covers... This is one of my favourites:

Coffee Lands

Colourful and slighty daft... The music is extremely good too.
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james kramer
Posted on Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 03:18 pm:   

"Hopefully the project I talked about ages ago, *Whispers in Curly Slippers* (my first composition) will be ready for me to post here by the end of this week."

There was an album put out a few years ago called Chinese Whispers which featured Stereolab and various other bands sending each other music and remixing it.
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james kramer
Posted on Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 03:22 pm:   

"Call of Cthulhu was drawn almost exclusively to the accompaniment of Rubicon by Tangerine Dream and Magic Realism by Jon Hassell."

If you like fourth-world Hassell-type stuff check out Mo Boma-Jijimuge and Myths of the Near Future 1, 2 and 3 on Extreme records. Very cool stuff, and some of the song titles are taken from JG Ballard stories.
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Rhys
Posted on Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 05:19 am:   

Anybody going to WOMAD (in Reading) this weekend?

I am. And if you are and want to meet up for a drink or whatever give me a ring (or text me) on my mobile at the following number:

07800941919

I'll be there early tomorrow to catch the first acts and I'll be staying until late Sunday to catch the last!
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Rhys
Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 03:59 am:   

The glorious Natacha Atlas has just released a 'Best Of' album... This will almost certainly be my favourite album of the year...

natacha

I heartily recommend this to everyone!
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Robert
Posted on Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 10:32 am:   

Do you have the new Susheela Raman disc yet? I saw it was out in Europe, but it won't be out in the US until next year.
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Rhys
Posted on Wednesday, September 28, 2005 - 06:51 am:   

Hi Robert.

No I don't have her new album yet. I loved her last album, but I see that the reviews for her new disc haven't been quite so good. Nonetheless I'm sure I'll be buying it soon!

I'm still trying to get hold of Dissidenten's 'Instinctive Traveller', which for some reason seems to have become rather elusive!
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Robert
Posted on Wednesday, September 28, 2005 - 09:44 am:   

I picked up Love Trap based on you mentioning it, and I really like it. Salt Rain is pretty good too. I haven't seen any reviews of the new one yet.
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Rhys
Posted on Sunday, November 20, 2005 - 10:42 am:   

I'm excited because I might be going to see Susheela Raman in concert next week here in Madrid!
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Bill B.
Posted on Monday, January 09, 2006 - 11:02 am:   

Hello Rhys,

Bill B. here, popping up on your message board every two years or so as is my custom. My wife and I finally got to go to concerts again in 2005, and took in a small number of wonderful performances: Peter Murphy, Duncan Sheik (with the amazing Gerry Leonard, a.k.a. "Spooky Ghost" on guitar), Puffy AmiYumi (with our kids), Bauhaus, and Al Stewart. For 2006 we are hoping (probably futilely) for Washington-area shows by The Music Lovers, Cousteau, and James Grant. An Erik Truffaz or Jon Hassell show would also be lovely.

And not that anyone asked, but here is my problem with most of what is presented (marketed) as "world music": it's too damned happy! The 1980s saw some excellent rock/worldbeat hybrids that tended more toward mysterious than happy, e.g. CCat Trance, Eric Random and the Bedlamites (esp. "Ishmael"), Anne Dudley & Jaz Coleman's "Songs from the Victorious City", Dissidenten as mentioned above... But my real point, if I have one at all, is whatever happened to CCat Trance and Eric Random? Any info would be greatly appreciated.
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Rhys
Posted on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 - 06:35 am:   

Hello Bill.

I didn't really get into worldbeat until the late 1990s so all the 80s stuff I know I've heard retrospectively. Some of it, to be honest, sounds a bit thin. Dissidenten still holds up, of course.

I guess I'm done with 'mysterious'. I liked mysterious when I was younger but now I'm happy with happy, not deliriously happy with happy but reasonably happy, let's say satisfied. I like jangly, jumpy, funky: I like wistful too. I like music (Suba, for instance) that manages to be upbeat and wistful at the same time.

Belle Lumière from the Comoros Islands are very mysterious, to these ears at least. As for Ccat Trance and Eric Random I thought they were synthesizer acts like Cabaret Voltaire? No? I have no idea what happened to them. They were obscure at the best of times.
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Bill B.
Posted on Friday, January 13, 2006 - 08:12 am:   

I will have to look into (or listen into) Suba and Belle Lumiere, I haven't heard them before. You are correct, Ccat Trance and Eric Random did start out as synth acts (and Eric Random was a CV collaborator), but they branched out unexpectedly into much richer music. And then they disappeared. LTM has reissued some of Eric Random's early electronic recordings, but none of his later (and better) stuff. Maybe someday...
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Robert
Posted on Monday, March 13, 2006 - 06:52 am:   

I've got Music for Crocodiles now. It's not grabbing me the same way Love Trap did, but there's some really good stuff on there.
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Rhys
Posted on Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 04:35 am:   

Fair enough Robert. But she was amazing live (I saw her last November in Madrid) and did many songs from the new album. I recommend catching her live if she's ever round your way (wherever your way is!)

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