Walter (Wendy) Carlos – The Well-Tempered Synthesizer (1969)

FrontCover1Wendy Carlos (born Walter Carlos; November 14, 1939) is an American musician and composer best known for her electronic music and film scores. Born and raised in Rhode Island, Carlos studied physics and music at Brown University before moving to New York City in 1962 to study music composition at Columbia University. Studying and working with various electronic musicians and technicians at the city’s Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, she helped the development of the Moog synthesizer, the first commercially available keyboard instrument created by Robert Moog.

Carlos came to prominence with Switched-On Bach (1968), an album of music by Johann Sebastian Bach performed on a Moog synthesizer which helped popularize its use in the 1970s and won her three Grammy Awards. Its commercial success led to several more keyboard albums from Carlos of varying genres including further synthesized classical music adaptations and experimental and ambient music. She composed the score to two Stanley Kubrick films, A Clockwork Orange (1971) and The Shining (1980), and also Tron (1982) for Walt Disney Productions.

In 1979, Carlos was one of the first public figures to disclose having undergone gender reassignment surgery.

Wendy Carlos02

The Well-Tempered Synthesizer is the second studio album from the American musician and composer Wendy Carlos, originally released under her birth name, Walter Carlos, in November 1969 on Columbia Masterworks Records. Following the success of her previous album, Switched-On Bach (1968), Carlos proceeded to record a second album of classical music performed on a modular Moog synthesizer from multiple composers, including Johann Sebastian Bach, Claudio Monteverdi, Domenico Scarlatti, and George Frideric Handel. Its title is a play on words from Bach’s set of preludes and fugues named The Well-Tempered Clavier.

Upon its release, the album peaked at No. 199 on the US Billboard 200 chart and was nominated for two Grammy Awards.

Wendy Carlos03

In 1969, during the unexpected commercial success of her debut studio album Switched-On Bach (1968), Carlos and her friend, collaborator, and producer Rachel Elkind started work on a follow-up using the same formula as Switched-On Bach: performing selections of classical music on a modular Moog synthesizer. Carlos planned to record an “ambitious 19th-century work”, but the lack of sufficient multitrack recording capabilities at the time did not allow such an undertaking. Ideas for Carlos to record her own compositions seemed “untimely” and was shelved for potential future albums. The two decided on a “new switched on Baroque album” featuring multiple composers, including Johann Sebastian Bach, Claudio Monteverdi, Domenico Scarlatti, and George Frideric Handel.

Like Switched-On Bach, the album was recorded on an 8-track Ampex tape recorder using numerous takes and overdubs. Carlos chose pieces from Handel’s Water Music suites as the music contained passages that suited to the limitations of the Moog synthesizer.

Wendy Carlos01

Canadian pianist Glenn Gould spoke about Carlos’ rendition of Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G major: “To put it bluntly, the finest performance of any of the Brandenburgs—live, canned, or intuited—I’ve ever heard.”

The Well-Tempered Synthesizer was released in November 1969. It peaked at No. 199 on the Billboard 200 chart and was nominated for two Grammy Awards. In February 1974, Billboard reported that the album had sold around 200,000 copies in the US. (by wikipedia)

The soundtrack of my life (Steve Morse, Deep Purple):

Steve Morse

Pressed for a sequel to Switched-On Bach, the unexpectedly hot-selling breakthrough album for the synthesizer, Wendy Carlos temporarily shelved plans to move out of the 18th century and instead came up with an album that is, in some ways, even better than its famous predecessor. Her instrument rack had grown larger and more flexible and her technical abilities even sharper in the year since SOB came out — and the improvements are audible in the thicker harmonies and more sophisticated timbres, all without losing the zest and experimental zeal of the earlier record. Here, she revisits J.S. Bach and imaginatively translates the music of Monteverdi, Handel, and especially Domenico Scarlatti into the electronic medium. Excerpts from Monteverdi’s “Orfeo” and “1610 Vespers” serve as the gateway and closing benediction, respectively, to this collection, and four Scarlatti keyboard sonatas are given dazzling treatments (the sonata in G became well-known in the ’90s on a Christmas TV commercial). There is a mini-suite from Handel’s “Water Music” at the center of the album, and the densely orchestrated yet still dancing treatment of Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No. 4” serves as a signpost as to how far Carlos had come in only a year. (by Richard S. Ginell)

BackCover1Personnel:
Wendy Carlos (synthesizer)

Wendy Carlos04

Tracklist:
01. Orfeo Suite (Toccata; Ritornello I; Choro II; Ritornello II; Choro II; Ritornello II) (Monteverdi) 3.22
02. Sonata in G major, L. 209/K. 455 (Scarlatti) 1.42
03. Sonata in D major, L. 164/K. 491 (Scarlatti) 3.55
04. Water Music: “Bourrée (Händel) 0.48
05. Water Music: Air (Händel) 2.47
06. Water Music: Allegro Deciso (Händel) 3.01
07. Sonata in E major, L. 430/K. 531 (Scarlatti) 1.56
08. Sonata in D major, L. 465/K. 96 (Scarlatti) 2.31
09. Brandenburg Concerto #4 in G major: Allegro (Bach) 8.06
10. Brandenburg Concerto #4 in G major: Andante (Bach) 3.37
11. Brandenburg Concerto #4 in G major: Presto (Bach) 4.46
12. Domine ad adjuvandum (from the 1610 Vespers) (Monteverdi) 2.22+
+
13. Stereo Alignment Tones 0.10
14. Well Tempered Experiments (Wendy Carlos talks about her / his music) 9.08

LabelB1

*
**

Faithless – Sunday 8PM (1998)

FrontCover1.jpgSunday 8PM is Faithless’ second album, released on 28 September 1998. The album contains the hit singles “Bring My Family Back”, “Take the Long Way Home”, and “God Is a DJ”. The album reached #10 place in the UK charts. In 1999, Sunday 8PM was one of twelve albums to make the shortlist for the Mercury Prize.

In 1998, there was a special release in the Netherlands: The Pinkpop Edition, which included a bonus CD with four live recordings (“God Is a DJ”, “Bring My Family Back”, “Do My Thing”, and “If Lovin’ You Is Wrong”) from the Pinkpop festival of June 1998.

In 1999, the album was re-released as Sunday 8PM / Saturday 3AM, containing an extra CD with mixed versions.

The image on the album/CD cover is the Bluebird Theatre in Denver, Colorado, United States. (by wikipedia)

Faithless01.jpg

The second album from U.K. electronic dance collective Faithless, Sunday 8pm has neither the rampant grooves nor the arrogant idealism to qualify it as anything more than a random, standard dancefloor record with redundant beats and hoary ideas. Clearly, though, more was intended; the theme running throughout Sunday 8pm is one that celebrates club life with an almost religious enthusiasm. The dreamy soundscapes here alternate between elegantly spiritual (and very new age) drifts and dull, tuneless forays into spacy nowhereland — and the occasional misguided R&B trips lack soul (not all that surprising, considering the coldness of this band’s electronica). The one keeper is “God Is a DJ,” eight minutes of club worship that repeats the refrain “This is my church” so relentlessly that you begin to wonder if the Faithless altar includes a turntable and synthesizer along with the usual celebratory offerings. (by Michael Gallucci)

Booklet05A.jpg

Personnel:
Sister Bliss (keyboards)
Jaime Catto (vocals, guitar)
Maxi Jazz (guitar, vocals)
Rollo (electronics)
+
Rachael Brown (background vocals on 02., 03., 07.)
Dido (vocals on 09., background vocals on 03.)
Debbie French (background vocals on 06.)
Andy Gangadeen (drums on 06.)
Boy George (vocals on 06.)
Sudha (drums, percussion)
Dave Randall (guitar)
Imani Saleem (background vocals on 06.)
Shannon Stewart (background vocals on 06.)
Pauline Taylor (vocals on 07., background vocals on 10.)
Ibi Tijani (programming on 01.)

Booklet03A.jpg

Tracklist:
01. The Garden /Rollo/Sister Bliss) 4.26
02 Bring My Family Back (Maxi Jazz/Rollo/Sister Bliss) 6.22
03. Hour Of Need (Catto/Rollo/Sister Bliss) 4.36
04. Postcards (Dido/Catto/Maxi Jazz/Rollo/Sister Bliss) 4.01
05. Take The Long Way Home (Catto/Maxi Jazz, Rollo/Sister Bliss) 7.13
06. Why Go? (George/Rollo/Sister Bliss) 3.57
07. She’s My Baby (Maxi Jazz/Rollo/Sister Bliss) 5.49
08.  God Is A DJ (Catto/Maxi Jazz/Rollo/Sister Bliss) 8.01
09.  Hem Of His Garment (Randall/Dido/Maxi Jazz/Rollo/Sister Bliss) 4.07
10. Sunday 8PM (Rollo/Sister Bliss) 2.43
11. Killer’s Lullaby (Maxi Jazz/Rollo/Sister Bliss) 6.08

CD1.jpg

*
**

Booklet01A.jpg

Chorus Of Tribes – Myth (1998)

FrontCover1.jpgChorus of Tribes is New Age music project from the UK. Símon Hulbert wrote all the tracks found on the project’s first and only album, Myth (1998).Chorus Of Tribes – Myth is a relatively unknown new age / ambient album from Etherean Records.

The album was released in 1998 in the UK. The album has a rather ironic story behind it. Late 1997 it was released as a bootleg across the internet and various p2p sites as an album by “Deep Forest and Enigma”, and not by “Chorus Of Tribes”.

Who dubbed “Chorus Of Tribes” to “Deep Forest and Enigma” is unknown, but musically it recembles the two artists in a fair amount, which makes the assumption understandable. This made some people confused, and the album was later rejected as any form of collaboration between the two famous new age artist groups from both sides. However, the songs on this album, independent of whoever made it, became more or less famous. In 1998 it was released on the label Etherean Music.

Now, musically the album is impressive. Into Morocco and Rain Song remain two of the most relaxing and best New Age / Tribal songs Símon Hulbert.jpgI’ve heard. The mood changes a great deal over the course of the album, from almost pure trance to groovy chilled beats, and tribal chants accompanied by soothing beats and vocals.

If Deep Forest and Enigma is up your alley, then this is just for you. (by www.last.fm)

Myth is a union between tribal vocals, instrumentals and popular dance music. Strong tribal/techno rhythms, featuring samples from numerous African tribes. Myth creates a musical hybrid between roots Africa and contemporary electronic.

BackCover1.jpg

Personnel:
Símon Hulbert (all instruments)

Booklet02A.jpg

Tracklist:
01. Into Morroco 6.05
02. Inception 7.09
03. LoLo 5.16
04. Rain Song 7.21
05. Ikkijungle 2.52
06. Lullaby 5.59
07. Marakesh 5.59
08. Shackera 5.03
09. Hiyahiyahey 4.16
10. Myth 2.53
11. New Dawn 7.47

Music composed by Símon Hulbert

CD1.jpg

*
**

Booklet01A.jpg

Syrinx – Same (1970)

FrontCover1.jpgI found a very personal review about this debut album of Syrinx:

It’s hard to describe what a deep and massive impact I got from this record. Syrinx were active only for two years from 1970 to 1972, but their legacy contains 2 LPs and one 7inch and it’s really indelible. I will try to tell you about the first Syrinx’ album, which is their best in my opinion. I’m trying to avoid this dusty, flacid and absolutely useless word Record in this occasion. The trio of maestro John Mills-Cockell, Alan Wells and Doug Pringle created a stream of Universal energy, powerful, tender and intimate at the same time. All seven songs-pearls are the embodiment of eternity, hope and despair. And what is the most intertesting: the album sounds absolutely solid, it is the canvas of the highest mark, which can be viewed from any angle, you can wallow in it, as in a waterfall. You feel yourself in the place, where some sort of ritual is happening, you hear quiet whisper of the wind, gigantic mountains are talking about ancient times, forest is echoing. Syrinx LP is the album of size of the Life for me.

Syrinx

You will back to it again and again after the first listen. There are absolute freedom and purification along with the feeling af unbelievable drama and otherworldly eternity at the same time in the Moog-messages of Mills-Cockell. Their music is from the era of real emotions, Syrinx are drawing their masterpiece not about pointless and pathetic emotions. The song of Syrinx is about Eternal. (by krossfingers.com)

BackCover.jpg

Personnel:
John Mills-Cockell (keyboards, synthesizer)
Doug Pringle (saxophone)
Alan Wells (drums, percussion)

Booklet

Tracklist:
01. Melina’s Torch 2.59
02. Journey Tree 4.51
03. Chant For Your Dragon King 10.26
04. Field Hymn 1.49
05. Hollywood Dream Trip 4.59
06. Father Of Light 2.03
07. Appalosa – Pegasus 11.17

Music composed by John Mills-Cockell

LabelB1.jpg

*
**

Single1.jpg

More about Syrinx here

Syrinx – Long Lost Relatives (1971)

FrontCover1.jpgFormed in Toronto in the late ’60s, Syrinx was John Mills-Cockell on keyboards, Doug Pringle on saxophone, and percussionist Alan Wells.

Mills-Cockell had worked with Kensington Market, recording the AARDVARK album with producer Felix Pappalardi, before moving to Vancouver to join Hydro-Electric Streetcar. He connected with percussionist Wells, and with the support of Pappalardi, they recorded the first tracks for a new album. Moving back to Toronto, the two reconnected with Pringle, who had earlier partnered with Mills-Cockell for art performances, and Syrinx was born.

Mills-Cockell formed the group with the idea of blending what he had learned in classical music with world music influences and the psychedelic pop rock that was running rampant at the time. The first Canadian groups to employ Moog synthesizers in live performances, they were playing the Toronto coffee house circuit when Bernie Finklestein, who’d just started up True North Records, caught them live and signed them to a deal in 1970.

Their self-titled debut was released that summer, running rampant with synthesized pop that blended eclectic sequencer rhythms and world beats, more often than not courtesy of conga drums. All instrumental and trippy before its time, the record featured several extended tracks, like “Appalosa-Pegasus” and “Chant For Your Dragon King,” both running over 10 minutes each, as well as the eerie “Melina’s Torch” and “Father of Light”, that made it one of the most experimental records of the ’70s anywhere.

The group toured intensively during the early ’70s, playing on bills with Miles Davis on the Bitches Brew tour, and Ravi Shankar in Montreal, and took on ambitious projects writing music for the National Ballet of Canada and the Toronto Dance Theatre. The band’s bigger than life, if not somewhat operatic approach to rock, got the attention of CTV television executives who were looking for someone to write a theme song for a new series, “Here Come The Seventies.” Syrinx was hired, and wrote “Tillicum” or the occasion.

Syrinx.jpg

The exposure led to their second album, LONG LOST RELATIVES in ’71, a record that almost didn’t happen. While laying down tracks at Magic Tracks Recording Studios, an accidental fire destroyed much of the studio and all the equipment inside. Undeterred, the band carried on when fellow musicians decided to hold a benefit show for them, cramming over 2,000 people into a the St Lawrence Market hall. They rented time at Eastern Sound, Thunder Sound, and Pathe-Humphries studios to finish the album.

The record was produced by Eugene Martynec again full of forays into the pop realm, often producing opuses over eight minutes long. “Tillicum” was released as a single, and entered Canada’s RPM chart in the top 100, eventually peaking at #38. Other tracks included “December Angel,” originally conceived for Peter Randazzo’s solo dance with the Toronto Dance Theatre. That song, along with “Syren,” “Ibistix,” and “Field Hymn” made up the composition called “Stringspace.”

They got some additional exposure performing on CBC TV’s program “Music to See,” and added Malcolm Tomlinson on drums and vocals for the upcoming tour that saw them play throughout Ontario and selected dates throughout Canada, and shared the stage with the likes of Deep Purple and a roster of international acts at the Strawberry Fields pop festival.

The band quietly folded in 1973 and everyone went on to do outside projects. Tracks from both albums were given a new life in the new millennium, when club DJs began sampling them. Alan Wells passed away in 2010. (by johnmillscockell.ca)

Syrinx2

A masterwork which against all odds, prevails up to this day.

Against the odds of sharing their name with 2 other bands (one of them is also included here in PA), being way, way ahead of their time music wise and coming from a not exactly “Electronic nor Avant Garde/RiO” country like Canada in 1971 (Tim Hecker and Aidan Baker came much later ).

Not to make a big fuzz, but this work would have been by far, more appreciated in the more “open-minded” , Avant Garde and RiO sub-genre.

It deals a fair amount of synths and electronics, but basically, its music structure is not exactly electronic-like based or better yet, it is the perfect balance between both sub-genres (although the RiO spirit outweights the electronics.)

John Mills-Cockell who makes his synths sound like “real” strings (not joking), headmaster of this SYRINX, had an electronic project in 1968 which went by the name of “INTERSYSTEMS” , which only release appeared the same year, by the same name. So it is undisputable, that Syrinx has an “electronic” upbringing.

Syrinx3.jpg

But bandmate Doug Pringle’s bold, , strong yet subtle saxophone lines, makes this kind of “magic blend” happen. In short, in this, their second 1971 last release, they went for all the marbles. (of course the percussions of Malcolm Tomlinson and Alan Wells (deceased November 3, 2010), build up this alternate structure.)

Daring, original, genial, well balanced, way ahead of their times in both sub-genre’s musical composition language and absolutely unpretentious. The mark of the true geniuses

*****5 “flawless” PA stars in both sub-genres. What else can you ask for? (by admireArt)

A great highlight is “December Angel ” and this tune sounds a little bit like the titeltrack of the TV movie “Twin Peaks”.

BackCover1.JPG

Personnel:
John Mills-Cockell (keyboards, synthesizer)
Douglas Pringle (saxophone, bongos, bells, guiro)
Alan Wells (congas, timpani, gong, tambourine)
+
Vair Capper (orchestral percussion)
+
string section:
Hohn Dembeck – Berul Sugarman – Stanley Solomon – Ronald Lurie – Sam Davis

Booklet1.JPG

Tracklist:
01. Tumblers To The Vault 3.30
02. Syren 6.00
03. December Angel 9.00
04. Ibistix 8.07
05. Field Hymn (Epiloque) 2.55
06. Tillicum 1.54
07. Better Deaf And Dumb From The First 2.54
08. Aurora Spinray 3.30

All tracks written by John Mills-Cockell – Douglas Pringle – Alan Wells

LabelB1.JPG

*
**

Pierre Henry avec Spooky Tooth – Ceremony (Messe Environnement) (1969)

FrontCover1

Pierre Henry (9 December 1927 – 5 July 2017) was a French composer, considered a pioneer in the musique concrète genre of electronic music.

 

Pierre Henry was born in Paris, France, and began experimenting at the age of 15 with sounds produced by various objects. He became fascinated with the integration of noise into music. He studied with Nadia Boulanger, Olivier Messiaen, and Félix Passerone at the Paris Conservatoire from 1938 to 1948.

Between 1949 and 1958, Henry worked at the Club d’Essai studio at RTF, which had been founded by Pierre Schaeffer in 1943 (Dhomont 2001). During this period, he wrote the 1950 piece Symphonie pour un homme seul, in cooperation with Schaeffer; he also composed the first musique concrète to appear in a commercial film, the 1952 short film Astrologie ou le miroir de la vie. Henry scored numerous additional films and ballets.

Two years after leaving the RTF, he founded with Jean Baronnet the first private electronic studio in France, the Apsone-Cabasse Studio

Among Henry’s works is the 1967 ballet Messe pour le temps présent (Dhomont 2001), a collaboration with choreographer Maurice Béjart that debuted in Avignon (Rubin 2001,[page needed]). In 1969 Henry collaborated with British rock band Spooky Tooth on the album Ceremony.

Composer Christopher Tyng was heavily inspired by Henry’s “Psyché Rock” when writing the theme to the popular animated cartoon show Futurama. The theme is so reminiscent of the Henry’s song, it is considered a variation of the original.

Henry died on Wednesday 5 July 2017 at Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Paris, at the age of 89.

Pierre Henry performs live.

Ceremony is a 1969 album by progressive UK rock band Spooky Tooth in collaboration with French electronic and “found-object” composer Pierre Henry. The album takes the form of a church service. A Pierre Henry-free version of the closing track “Hosanna” with different lyrics appears on 2015 Universal release ‘The Island Years 1967-1974’ under the title “When I Get Home.” The release also includes an alternate take of “Have Mercy” (also without Henry) and a session outtake titled “Shine a Light on Me.”

The album is considered by singer and songwriter Gary Wright to have ended the band’s career. “Then we did a project that wasn’t our album. It was with this French electronic music composer named Pierre Henry. We just told the label, ‘You know this is his album, not our album. We’ll play on it just like musicians.’ And then when the album was finished, they said, ‘Oh no no — it’s great. We’re gonna release this as your next album.’ We said, ‘You can’t do that. It doesn’t have anything to do with the direction of Spooky Two and it will ruin our career.’ And that’s exactly what happened.” (by wikipedia)

Single
Rare single from 1969

It’s fair to say that Ceremony: An Electric Mass is unlike any other release by an English band normally rooted in the blues. Think of it as Spooky Tooth’s version of Concerto for Group and Orchestra by Deep Purple, in which, after two or three promising blues-based rock releases, one member of the band somehow convinces the others to go for a wildly ambitious, experimental concept album. Jon Lord persuaded Deep Purple to dive into the deep end, and Gary Wright convinced Spooky Tooth to welcome acclaimed French composer and musique concrète pioneer Pierre Henry for this electronic mass. Henry’s atonal arrangements don’t fare too badly against Spooky Tooth’s piercing guitars and bluesy wail, although Wright left the band after Ceremony (just as Lord never had the same influence on Purple again, leaving Ritchie Blackmore to lead them on to heavy metal glory). (by Mark Allan)

Front+BackCover1

Personnel:
Pierre Henry (synthesizer, electronics)
+
Mike Harrison (vocals, keyboards)
Luther Grosvenor (guitar)
Mike Kellie (drums, percussion)
Andy Leigh (bass, guitar)
Gary Wright (vocals, electronic organ, keyboards)

BookletA1

Tracklist:
01. Have Mercy 7.51
02. Jubilation 8.25
03. Confession 6.53
04. Prayer 10.50
05. Offering 3.26
06. Hosanna 7.33

All tracks composed by Pierre Henry and Gary Wright

LabelB1

*
**

Pierre Henry2
Pierre Henry (9 December 1927 – 5 July 2017)

Paul Brookes – Steps from Beyond (1978)

FrontCover1This is a real strange record, a sort of disco psychedlic funk !

Very nice Electronic Music. The second side is a multi-part suite that reminds a bit on Tangerine Dream, but very unique, with no sequences, relying on Rock rhythms instead (a bit similar to what is heard on “Bent Cold Sidewalk”). Also reminds on the sountrack to “Mystery of the Third Planet” in places – you know, sort of a cosmic, nostalgic sound. Side A has some Disco influences and is much weaker overall. (by spacewalker)

Bought it because it has  psychedelic looking cover-art and it was very cheap but musically it is just some boring arty/farty synthesizer dominated late 70s  track spread over The a-side and b-side. (by purpleoverdose)

Unfortunately I found no informations about Paul Brookes, sorry.

Illustration

Personnel:
Paul  Brookes (all Instruments)

BackCover
Tracklist:
01. Steps from Beyond – part one 17.14
02. Steps from Beyond – part two 17.36

composed by Paul Brookes

LabelB1
*
**

Jon And Vangelis – Private Collection (1983)

frontcover1Private Collection is the third album released by Jon and Vangelis, released in 1983 on Polydor Records. “He is Sailing” was released as a single shortly before the album. The song “Polonaise” was written under the influence of events that took place in Poland a little earlier (martial law). The song is dedicated to Poles.(by wikipedia)

Jon & Vangelis’ first two albums really seemed to be building up to this point. With Private Collection, the two artists (Jon Anderson of Yes fame and Vangelis) have created what feels just a bit like a classical work. Truly the nearly 23-minute “Horizon” really feels a lot like a modern symphony. It is definitely the culmination of their work together, their most ambitious effort. The shorter cuts on the album all have their moments and surely hold up to anything from the previous releases, but “Horizon” stands far above them all. It combines the best elements of Anderson’s work in Yes with the electronically classically tinged stylings of Vangelis to produce a work that is near masterpiece in its quality. It is a life-affirming, positive piece. Among the other highlights of the disc are “Deborah” and “He Is Sailing.” If you only buy one Jon & Vangelis album, choose the best-of collection. However, if you opt for a second disc, this is the one. (by Gary Hill)

jonvangelis

Personnel:
Jon Anderson (vocals)
Vangelis (keyboards, ynthesiser)
+
Dick Morrissey (saxophone on 02.)

booklet01a

Tracklist:
01. Italian Song 2.53
02. And When The Night Comes 4.35
03. Deborah 4.54
04. Polonaise 5.24
05. He Is Sailing 6.49
06. Horizon 22.53

Music composed by Vangelis
Lyrics written by Jon Anderson

labelb1
*
**

Dick Hyman – Moog – The Electric Eclectics Of Dick Hyman (1969)

frontcover1In the late ’60s, pianist Dick Hyman, famous for “Moritat, Theme from Threepenny Opera,” aexperimented with various keyboard instruments, including Baldwin and Lowrey organs. This release was his first with what was then a completely newfangled machine, the Moog synthesizer. Hyman took the Moog by the horns and milked it for all it was worth on nine originals, including the monster hit single “The Minotaur” (which inspired Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s “Lucky Man”).

The first few tracks are in a pop-song mold, but they are pop songs composed as only a jazz musician with two decades of experience under his belt could. Hyman then hits the listener with a few spacier, improvised numbers that come off as very accessible avant-garde music. Following the “The Minotaur” are two improvised pieces. Moog: The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman ends with “Evening Thoughts,” an impressionistic track reminiscent of “Ebb Tide” by Earl Grant, on which the sounds of the seashore are conjured up on various keyboard instruments. Hyman writes about his intentions for each track in the liner notes.

dickhyman
Aside from some other Moog tracks sprinkled throughout DCC Compact Classics’ Music for a Bachelor’s Den series, it’s surprising that it’s taken this long in the lounge reissue bonanza for the Moog to finally appear (not counting The Moog Cookbook, a fab spinning of modern rock nuggets into string cheese.) Moog features three bonus tracks from Hyman’s next album Age of Electronicus; his recasting of James Brown’s “Give It Up or Turn It Loose” is well worth the price of admission.

Though this album could easily be tossed into the novelty or “period piece” category, it was not originally intended as that. Hyman recorded a showcase what this new instrument could do, and in the process made an enjoyable album. (by Jim Powers)

backcover1

Personnel:
Dick Hyman (synthesizer)

booklet

Tracklist:
01. The Topless Dancers Of Corfu 3.01
02. The Legend Of Johnny Pot 2.04
03. The Moog And Me 3.00
04. Tap Dance In The Memory Banks 2.30
05. Four Duets In Odd Meter 4.28
08. The Minotaur 8.26
09. Total Bells And Tony 2.01
10. Improvisation In Fourths 2.24
11. Evening Thoughts 3.20

Composed by Dick Hyman

labelb1

*
**

variretyreview1969

Review in “Variety”, 1969

 

White Rainbow (Adam Forkner) – New Clouds (2009)

frontcover1White Rainbow (née Adam Forkner) recently tore through the autumn skies to drop this bomb, blowing away expectations, surpassing anything I could have anticipated after the already-excellent 2007 LP Prism of Eternal Now.  Expanding on the warm, nebulous nature of his live jam constructions, New Clouds is an impossibly appropriate title for one of this year’s best records.

Transcendent, overwhelming, hypnotic bliss.  Building layer upon layer of drones, stretched and echoed vocals, muted tribal percussion, and gorgeous synth swells, each track is a towering confection allowed room to naturally develop and breathe.  The four tracks comprise an hourlong running time, every moment feeling palpably open and inviting.  This album inspires and propels further listening, rather than demanding it.  Songs begin focused on a singular element, be it delayed acoustic guitar strums or rubbery hand drumming, and evolve with such grace and intuitive logic that final assembly is nearly imperceptible.  This music simply happens, while the conscious mind is busy absorbing the amorphous beauty like a pillow swallowing a blissful dreamer.  Informed by a wide range of greats, from Terry Riley to Can at their most euphoric, Forkner has finally broken through to a plane where his art exists on its own terms, immaterial of time or place.  This album raises hypnagogic exploration to new heights. (by David James)

Kranky pysch-rocker Adam Forkner indulges his spontaneous side on a heady record that’s laid out like a modern classical or classic jazz work.

Adam Forkner, the Portland-based jack-of-all-trades who’s played in more bands than I could reasonably list here, has seen an increased profile recently through his adam-forkner01collaborations with labelmates and fellow psych-rockers Valet and Atlas Sound but, as a solo artist, has remained staunchly committed to free-form improvisation. If you’ve seen him perform live as White Rainbow, then you know this to be true: A typical set features Forkner alone, kneeling on stage amidst of a mess of instrumentation– guitars, pedals, synths– that he uses to build ambient washes and vocal-looped drones on the spot. Listening to previous records like 2007’s Prism of Eternal Now and taking into consideration his background in jazz, one assumes he works much the same way in the studio– letting the music develop organically.

Rather than turning toward more pop-oriented structures with his latest release, New Clouds, Forkner has indulged this spontaneous approach even further, resulting in a heady record that, while at times uneven, features some of his most compelling music yet. The album is presented like a long-form jazz or modern-classical piece, with four extended tracks (roughly 16 minutes each) that comprise one continuous movement. (Sounds arduous, I know, but it’s ultimately more blissout than high-concept challenging.) It’s the sort of thing that’s best absorbed as a whole– there’s a general sense of moving forward through shifts in mood and momentum– and, despite its very unplanned, impressionistic feel, mostly manages not to veer too far off course or, worse, into New Age-y background-music territory.

The record’s best songs (heck, “jams” might even be more accurate) are its first and last, which bookend the album with an energy that’s less present during its middle section. Opener “Tuesday Rollers and Strollers” takes form over whirring electrical noises and looped, tribal-like chants before introducing skittering synths and a heavy drumbeat as it progresses. It’s a fuller and more dynamic sound than Forkner was able to achieve on Prism of Eternal Now’s shorter cuts (the longer track lengths here seem justified in that sense) and conjures ELO prog as much as it does the Field’s vocal-spliced propulsion. “Monday Boogies Forward Forever”, the finale, is sort of a blossoming drone that worms reverberant guitar notes through clattering background percussion and opens into a seductive coda.

The tracks sandwiched between these two, “Major Spillage” and “All the Boogies in the World”, are considerably slower-paced. They shift the momentum downward, drawing more on ambient textures and delicate features like hand-drum pitter-patter and acoustic guitar strumming. It’s this stretch that might test the patience of those without an appetite for loose free-jamming, and you could reasonably call it a lull, but on some level it works as a calming period after the disorientating opener and sets the stage to close the record with a bang. If you’re able to view it through that lens, then New Clouds has much to offer as an unscripted, decidedly un-pop kind of album: mood music and drug music, yes, but more than that, the uncompromising work of a dude making sounds strictly on his own terms. (by Joe Colly)

adam-forkner02

Personnel:
Adam Forkner (all instruments, vocals)

backcover

Tracklist:
01. Tuesday Rollers And Strollers 18.06
02. Major Spillage 12.49
03. All The Boogies In The World  20.10
04. Monday Boogies Forward Forever 16.01

Music composed by Adam Forkner

cd

*
**