Amoeblog

A King's Ransom From Queens

Posted by Rick Frystak, July 9, 2012 03:04pm | Post a Comment
Virtuous vinyl votaries rejoice! Amoeba Music has just acquired a very choice collection of records from the Queens, NY area to resell in our Hollywood store and on Amoeba.com, a collection that is quite exhilarating to a record guy like myself, and very different from collections I've seen on the West coast or any coast. Beginning on July 21 at 10:30am, Amoeba will offer the first of these records for sale to the public at the Hollywood store, and right now some of them are online at Amoeba.com.

Eddie, the previous owner of the records, was a true record collector, but not in the sense of the must-own or traditional market-driven collectible pieces and sought-after titles. Instead he was a curator of alluring oddities, deviating from the mainstream and submersing himself in what he himself liked to listen to, always with the highest of ideals, a paradigm of good taste. He was able to keep his records in a condition that was exactly as he had bought them, and mantained the collection as if they were never played. Many of the records happen to be still sealed, as new!

Folks here in California will be awed by the breadth of the material and its integrity, consisting of mostly non-rock 'n roll genres, not-oft traded on this massive scale. Vocals, soundtracks, thousands of 20th-century classical and jazz titles, latin music and all locales of international artists are represented here, as well as folk, blues and spoken word. Rarely seen lounge sounds and easy listening cheesecake covers, great Amercan songwriters sitting right beside obscure new age and electronic music. Over 30,000 discs of very small and large labels, private pressings, boutique pressings and artist editions await inspection by Amoeba loyalists on the day these go on sale. As these discs were collected and maintained in the New York area, West Coast LP collectors will delight in perusing these platters just-in to Hollywood from 2,800 miles away!

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Private Pressings Go Public

Posted by Rick Frystak, January 31, 2012 02:05pm | Post a Comment
Anyone who wants to can make an LP record! Yes, anybody, and it’s always been like that. Why can’t the world hear your creativity? Break out of those bedroom studios and living rooms and lounges and let the people know of your greatness! Why work all your life on your axe and never be heard by the masses? Who needs to wait for a major label to sign you to a rip-off contact? Call ACME Records and they’ll make a short-run pressing for you if you have the dough.  

Vanity pressings and small labels have always floated just under the surface of the platters you’d see in Billboard. My friends made some back in those days. Faces filled of hope, fame and just plain good-old personal righteousness. Words like “Real People”, “Outsider”, “Loner Folk”, “Xain Psych”, and “Steakhouse pressing” are just some of the many tags tossed about now about this history. And they’re filled with samples galore if you dig that sort of thing. Who doesn’t need a 5-second turnaround out of a live version of “Raindrops Are Fallin’ On My Head”?

These are not the Holy-Grail garage records. These aren’t the $1000 regional soul records. Just “real people" doing hard work and craft, and they're all available on Amoeba’s site to the first-come! Just click the title and see if they’re still there.  
 
 
Steve Jolliffe
Steve Jolliffe

Journeys Out Of The Body
Nada Pulse Records U.K. 1983

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The Choice Bin's Choice-y-er Buy Counter Scores of 2011

Posted by Rick Frystak, December 18, 2011 07:08pm | Post a Comment
As the year 2011 flies to a close, I've gathered some of my favorite scores from the past year together to reflect upon how much great stuff gets traded in at our used buying counter. All this art came in over Amoeba's trade-in counter but didn't make it past my "gotta check this out" sensors-in-overdrive...lots of stuff maybe not have been released in 2011 but plucked from the ocean of "keepers" and brought ashore, as the relevance and quality make it so, and the joy of reconnecting with a reissue or another format.  Our "Insurance Return" policy keeps the good stuff coming in as well.  And I've forgotten more titles than I've remembered...

Vinyl
LPs


John Adams

Harmonium

ECM 1984

I've owned this on a compact disc for ages, and then I see the magnificent film, "I Am Love" with the great Tilda Swinton and I see a vinyl copy of it and my head goes, "BUY THIS"!  This record was cut up and used as the score in such a wonderful, effective way, swooning, tilting and fanfare-ing the scenes making the picture so much more intense and sentimental. Bravissimo. The wax sounds amazing, too, as is the ECM tradition.



Havergal Brian

Complete Piano Music
Cameo Classics 1981

Amazing moods and very sound writing for piano. Think Debussy, Copeland, Ravel, Mozart, Haydn, Bryars and Gershwin and all this rolled into one fellow born in the U.K. in 1876. The great sound on this disc makes it so enjoyable, and being a wonderfully produced U.K. pressing with a brilliant performance by Peter Hill seals the deal.

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More Journeys Off the Beaten Track

Posted by Rick Frystak, November 29, 2011 04:44pm | Post a Comment

Peter Michael Hamel
Hamel
Vertigo 6641 055, 1972

2-Lp set on German Vertigo circa 1972 brings us a spiritual journey of minimalism and creative spark, alone in the studio…tape running and overdubbing, often not listening to the previously recorded material. Hamel was doing multi-tracked organ, synths, piano and percussion in Germany at the same time as Riley, Glass and those guys were, quite forward-thinking. He worked with maestros Joseph Anton Reidl and Luc Ferrari, but never went in that conrete’ or collage direction as a style musically. Terry Riley is still doing live organ pieces just like these herein, and classical composers have struggled with this style for decades. Here in these discs we have 2 luscious sides of organ and synthesizer pieces with each instrument “beating” or modulating the other, simple rooted tones yet always moving with melody and logic; 1 side of prepared piano with a Cage influence, yet Hamel shows his prog/pop and Indonesian gamelan inclinations rhythmically and tonally. Nice! The last side is synthesizer overdubs with water and breath sounds, owing to Hamel’s heavy spiritual side and his immersion in this new minimalism. This record is still fresh now, and vibrates with a wonderful, contemporary accessibility and creative spark even after nearly 40 years. And this 2-disc set on Vertigo vinyl is rarer than a 2-dollar bill at this point.

 

Pat Martino

Strings!
 

Prestige 7547, 1968

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Trip to Hawai'i: Part 4

Posted by Job O Brother, August 24, 2011 02:52pm | Post a Comment


The vaguely menacing charm of vintage postcards.


When on vacation, I am a social snob. It breaks down this way: If you are a resident of where I’m vacationing or its surrounding area, I’ll love to talk with you. Whether banal chit-chat, deep, psychological explorations, or wildly unfounded and ignorant political positioning, I love hob-knobbing with a local of Anytown, Planet Earth.

However, if you are a tourist like me, every second I spend in your presence is like chalk being scrapped down my gutted and exposed spine. Ever seen the movie Somewhere in Time? There’s a moment where the hero discovers a reminder of where he comes from, and it shatters the paradise he’s discovered. That’s what another tourist’s face is to me: a shinny penny sucking me into a loveless present where the only escape is death.

“What do I do for a living? Apparently, I suffer fools gladly. And you?”

Make no mistake: I am not proud of this. It doesn’t come from a sense of elitism, rather, a jealous and desperate need for freedom from the burden of self-identification. I am often exhausted being me, and vacationing offers a rare moment where I get to be a different fellow. If I’m constantly having to re-establish myself to others as “a writer from Los Angeles,” etcetera, it won’t matter that I’m fiendishly clever and dashingly handsome – I’ll still be sick of my effing face.

The boyfriend doesn’t have this problem. Though technically an introvert, according to the Keirsey Temperament Scale, he can navigate most any social situation with aplomb. A master at multi-tasking, he’s capable of satisfying endless rounds of small talk by using them as an opportunity to gather useful information and think about what he needs to do at the office the next day. I, on the other hand, am locked into whatever conversation I’m having, heart and soul – so if it’s small talk, I start to suffer from claustrophobia.

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