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

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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)

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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)

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

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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

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Pierre Henry (9 December 1927 – 5 July 2017)

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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.

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Personnel:
Paul  Brookes (all Instruments)

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

composed by Paul Brookes

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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.

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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)

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Personnel:
Dick Hyman (synthesizer)

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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

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Review in “Variety”, 1969

 

John Maus – We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves (2011)

frontcover1We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves is the third album from the American electronic musician John Maus, released in 2011, on Ribbon Music in the United States and Upset the Rhythm in the UK.

We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves received largely positive reviews from contemporary music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 75, based on 20 reviews, which indicates “generally favorable reviews”.

David Bevan of Pitchfork praised the album in a positive review, stating, “We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves is the most vibrant and toothsome expression of Maus’ pursuits yet. He keeps his vocals awash in gothic reverb and echo-driven effects, blurring the lines between what he’s saying and emoting.” Bevan continues, “Maus has a full set of songs whose architecture is just as sophisticated and riveting in actuality as it is in theory. While earlier records have been riddled by experiments gone awry, they also didn’t feature the revolving parts and aerodynamic hooks of “Believer”, the closing track here and one that glitters from any angle. And although there’s another vocalist at his side in the lullaby lilt of “Hey Moon” (cover a Molly Nilsson song), the way Maus sings to the heavens makes it sound as though he’s no longer alone with his thoughts. Spend a lot of time with this record, and it’s hard not to feel like you’re right there with him.”

johnmaus01Jordan Redmond of Tiny Mix Tapes gave the album a very positive review, stating, “Being an academic, John Maus understands the imperative to only release bodies of work that are conceptually sound and completely actualized. With Pitiless Censors, he sought to break into a new creative period but was disappointed that it was only a “consummation” or logical conclusion to the sound on his previous two widely-available albums (Songs and Love Is Real). Based on the evidence here, Maus needn’t have any reservations about the body of work that he has released into the world. Pitiless Censors is a sparkling album, a lo-fi synth pop masterpiece that manages to give endless aural delights while still being intellectually engaging, and despite having been caught at the center of a whirlpool of current movements, all of which reflect some aspect of Maus’ style, he has only cemented his identity as a singular, unimpeachable figure. When confronted with music like this, it’s impossible not to be a believer.”

Matthew Cole of Slant Magazine gave the album a 0/5 star rating, citing derivative synth instrumentation and the validity of Maus’s philosophical work, stating, “Maus’s We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves is engineered for minimal accessibility and maximum pretension; if you’ve heard even 30 seconds of this album, then you know he isn’t looking to make his name in the music industry.” Cole continues, “The album is filled with garage-sale synths flooded with reverb and nary a hook to be found, sounding, at best, like an unfinished video-game score and, at worst, like a Human League track played backward in a Walkman taped to the skull of a drowning man. Sometimes the instrumentals approximate a no-budget Disintegration in their misbegotten twinkliness, but no amount of lo-fi shimmer can compensate for the intentional inadequacy of the vocal lines and the utter lack of memorable melodies.” It was one of the only negative reviews of the release. (by wikipedia)

Yes … this is another magic album in this blog.

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Personnel:
John Maus (all insruments)

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Tracklist:
01. Streetlight (Maus) 2.52
02. Quantum Leap (Maus) 2.52
03. …And the Rain (Maus) 2.46
04. Hey Moon (Nilsson) 4.08
05. Keep Pushing On (Maus) 3.33
06. The Crucifix (Maus) 1.15
07. Head For The Country (Maus) 3.16
08. Cop Killer (Maus) 2.41
09. Matter Of Fact (Maus) 2.16
10. We Can Breakthrough (Maus) 2.08
11. Believer (Maus) 4.05

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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)

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Personnel:
Adam Forkner (all instruments, vocals)

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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

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Dusted – When We Were Young (2000)

FrontCover1Dusted is the collaborative idea of ambient mix master and producer Rollo (Dido’s brother) and producer Mark Bates; it is a collaboration that marks the first fully conceptual downtempo/chillout album. When We Were Young is a collection of tracks that map themselves around the territory that is childhood, obviously, but more importantly, around its various emotional states. Like a thinking person’s Delerium — with a whole lot more imagination and ambition in the production area — Dusted uses a caustic groove of nostalgia and memory, and evoke — through slipped beats, an elegiac bass, a silvery guitar, and a swamp-ring of keyboards — the creation of a manifest destiny to use as a backdrop for singers Luke Garwood and Rachael Brown, who take the listener deeper into a world where the light almost never shines (one casual listen to “Hurt U” is enough to send you back to where you came from). The world revealed on When We Were Young is one of hurt, disappointment, betrayal, and a longing that seems to get larger with every drum loop. From the first single, “Always Remember to Respect Your Mother, Part 1,” co-written by Dido, as was “Winter,” through to “The Oscar Song, and “If I Had a Child,” the atmosphere is one of innocence lost, and innocence longed for, even with its tragic memories. Musically, we’re talking everything: from a digital-era-Pink Floyd to Björk to Ultramarine and Peter Gabriel.

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And while the very thought of an ambient chillout concept-album about the downside of childhood reeks of pretension, the careful and subtle manner in which these tunes are presented makes it instead not only thought-provoking, but seductive to listen to. For all of its ethereal excess, there is enough solid construction and careful consideration given to nuances to make it more than viable. When We Were Young is certainly worth the time and effort it takes to procure a copy. The reason? Simple: while it may echo many different things already out there; it sounds like nothing but itself — and that’s an accomplishment. ( by Thom Jurek)

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Personnel:
Rollo Armstrong (programming)
Mark Bates (keyboards, programming)
Rachael Brown (vocals)
Luke Garwood (vocals)
Martin McCory (guitar)
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Matt Benbrook (programming on 09.)
Dave Dulake (piano on 13.)
Michael Harbour (vocals on 09.)
Mal Hyde-Smith (percussion 03. + 12.)
Ibi (programming on 06.)
Tim Vogt (bass on 03., 07. + 12.)
Alan Young (vocals on 06.)

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Tracklist:
01. Childhood (Bates/Armstrong) 5.31
02. Time Takes Time (Bates/Armstrong) 5.41
03. Want U (Bates/Armstrong) 6.50
04. Hurt U (Bates/Armstrong) 1.45
05. If You Go Down To The Woods (Bates/Armstrong) 3.17
06. Always Remember To Respect Your Mother Pt. 1 (Dido) 3.49
07. The Biggest Fool In The World (Dido/Gallagher/Stannard) 6.47
08. Oh, How Sweet (Bates/Armstrong) 5.02
09. Always Remember To Respect Your Mother Pt. 2 (Benbrook) 4.01
10. Winter (Dido) 4.33
11. The Oscar Song (Bentovim/Garwood) 2.11
12. Under The Sun (Brown) 5.36
13. If I Had A Child (Garwood) 3.31

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Beaver & Krause – Gandharva (1971)

FrontCover1In electronic music circles — and among “heads” in general — the names of Beaver & Krause have attained an almost mystical status that their small back catalog frankly struggles to live up to. Sure, they were matchmakers when commercial rock and electronic music were circling each other warily — it was Bernie Krause, in particular, who introduced the Moog synthesizer to the likes of George Harrison and Micky Dolenz (though he neglected to show them how to put it to good use). Yet much of their recorded work sounds remarkably timid when compared to that of other electronic pioneers of the period. Ironically, the most powerful music they committed to record involved hardly any electronic input whatsoever. The suite that filled the second side of Gandharva was recorded in San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral — chosen for its extended decay time and as a space that would make the most of new quadrophonic recording techniques — and involved jazz legend Gerry Mulligan on baritone sax and Bud Shank on alto sax and flute. Also present were Gail Laughton, playing two harps simultaneously, Howard Roberts on guitar, and Krause on Moog — though he can only be heard adding the very occasional rumble. But what made the music unlike any previously recorded was Paul Beaver’s serene performance on the cathedral’s pipe organ.

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The combination of sax and church organ has been attempted many times since (by Keith Jarrett and Jan Garbarek to name but two), but never have the results come close to matching these. “Short Film for David,” “Good Places,” and Mulligan’s own “By Your Grace” are works of extraordinary stillness and beauty, with both Shank and Mulligan soaring effortlessly. Speaking recently, Krause described Gandharva as “an attempt to express our collective spirituality musically” that would “bring music from a point of noise to a place very much quieter and more contemplative.” Unfortunately, it’s the “point of noise” — to wit, much of what was side one of the vinyl edition — that lets down the album badly. “Saga of the Blue Beaver” is a standard-issue blues-rock jam, while “Walkin’ by the River” is an equally humdrum gospel workout.

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What these tracks are doing on an album like Gandharva is anyone’s guess. The only traces of B&K’s pioneering spirit to be found on side one are the electronic manipulation of Patrice Holloway’s powerful a cappella performance on “Walkin'” and the brief synth-generated breathing effect of “Soft/White,” originally written for the film Performance. Small fry indeed. Nevertheless, all is forgiven in the light of what follows. (by Christopher Evans)

In other words: A timeless masterpiece !

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The original labels from 1971

Personnel:
Paul Beaver (keyboards, synthesizer)
Bernard L. Krause (synthesizer, vocals)
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Mike Blomfield (guitar)
Ray Brown (bass)
Evangeline Carmichael (vocals)
Lee Charlton (drums)
Rod Ellicott (bass)
Rik Elswit (guitar)
Vanetta Fields (vocals)
Ron Lee Hicklin (vocals)
Patrice Holloway (vocals)
LaMont Johnson (piano)
Bill King (vocals)
Clydie King (vocals)
Mike Lang (piano)
Gail Laughton (harp)
George Marsh (drums)
Ronnie Montrose (guitar)
Lewis Morford (vocals)
Gerry Mulligan (saxophone)
Howard Roberts (guitar)
Bud Shank (saxophone, flute)
Edna Wright (vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Soft / White (Beaver/Krause) 0.52
02. Saga Of The Blue Beaver  (Beaver/Krause) 4.19
03. Nine Moons In Alaska (Beaver/Krause) 3.04
04. Walkin’ (Beaver/Krause) 2.42
05. Walkin’ By The River (Beaver/Krause) 2.39
06. Gandharva (Beaver/Krause) 1.12
07. By Your Grace (Mulligan) 5.13
08. Good Places (Beaver/Krause) 3.37
09. Short Film For David (Beaver/Krause) 5.23
10. Bright Shadows (Beaver/Krause) 4.53

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