Amoeblog

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

Yes, the exclamation mark is in the title, as well it should be. Pat the jazz magician, folks saying “how (the hell) does he do that”?  Post-Wes Montgomerian bop-chops aplenty with a soaring, melodic style and body groove that shakes up the mind with every riff, the big sound is already here in the room, and he’s inspired on this gig. Joe Farrell plays reeds and flute here along with a burning rhythm section and piano (Walton), and his style compliments Pat’s guitar direction, his solos setting up the anticipation for the next guitar jaunt. Pat’s made many records, and these older straight-ahead titles tend to be overlooked, “Pat” being a name associated with guitar sainthood it would, wouldn’t it, with all the stuff out there. Shoudn't!  Blue label mono original, this one.  

 

Chico Hamilton

El Exigente (The Demanding One)
Flying Dutchman FDS-135 1970

A Chico live date with no information inside except the personnel, this one shimmers and shreds with live-gig improvisation and way-ahead-for-the-time sounds. Searing electric sax by Arnie Lawrence (never better), electric guitar by Bob Mann, and Steve Swallow on the electric bass. Lots of fuzz, and the horn sounds like a synth most of the time…maybe a Maestro attachment. As is Chico’s wont, the jams combine his tribal-like grooves with voodoo jazz vibe, and the soloists get to smoke away as Swallow does his usual thing with very melodic bass riffage. This begins to feel more like a monumental moment in time, as Chico and the men process Bitches Brew, White Room, A Love Supreme and Vaughn Williams all at once, gentle lyricism giving way to fire-y freakout. The guys are really listening to each other as well and the gig feels improvised and written out at the same time. Applause at the ends indicates immense satisfaction in the crowd. Never seen this on CD, either.

 

Jerry Goldsmith
Chinatown
 

ABC ABDP-848  1974

One of my favorite soundtracks and best themes of all time, Chinatown never ceases to enchant me. Echo-y strings, piano and trumpet vividly recall the imagery of the film, and no less make a musical journey of their own with each listen. Amazing arranging and color shaping of the musical pallette, with harps, zither and percussion guarding the narrative and supporting every emotion conveyed in the musical saga. Small descriptive segments of ecstasy and sympathetic sound brought together as a perfect whole. Goldsmith did this more than a few times in his career (Islands In The Stream comes to mind) but Chinatown remains an iconic piece of cinematic history, and continues to deliver the goods. John Huston must have flipped (in a good way) when he heard this.

 

Alvin Lucier

Music For Solo Performer (for enormously amplified brainwaves and percussion)
Lovely Music VR 1014  1982
 
2 people, Mr. Lucier and Pauline Oliveros, have electrodes attached to their scalps which are routed through amplifiers to loudspeakers, and solenoids controlling sticks and beaters. The speakers are placed on or near percussion instruments, and henceforth manipulated by the alpha waves of said performer, good bad and ugly. The sound manufactured is not composed or conceived. It is a result of the brian waves being transferred into sound by the near-by instruments beind vibrated by the speakers. A perennial party and sit-down dinner favorite, this record will  be your constant companion on road trips and beach parties. No, but yeah, but seriously, I’m “blown away” by the music that can be made just by thinking.  Sections of this piece are by turns calm and serene, and then popping with action and spirit, all in these performances sounded out percussively yet MUSICAL! What was Alvin thinking? Literally.
 


Timothy Leary Ph.D, Ralph Metzner Ph.D, Richard Alpert Ph.D

The Psychedelic Experience
Broadside Records BRX 601 1966 (Signed by Timothy Leary)

Fantastic document on LP record, of the principles and actions of the LSD experience, quite new in 1966. Recited by these 3 gents, this disc is the reading of portions of a text into the mind expansion and exploration of other states of consciousness via the cosmic voyage, in this case LSD, and the stages of change within the self and ego from the chemical and the "proper" way to attempt management of the ingestion of said drug and the results. It's a wonderful piece of spoken word and, the affecting delivery of each of the men’s tableaus on the quest for other forms of consciousness is hypnotizing and enthralling, especially Leary’s portions. Sound quality notwithstanding (as many Folkways pressings are sub-audiophile quality to say the least), the record is a compelling look at a time in our culture that changed history. This copy of the record was hastily signed by Leary, as related by the previous owner, whose father was an autograph collector.

Beaucoup Bins of Beautiful Boom

Posted by Rick Frystak, October 31, 2011 04:05pm | Post a Comment
Whazzup?! Tons of great records coming over our buying counter lately, much of it landing in "The Choice Bin," and circumnavigating my world. There's so much going on I don't where to start. Let's sample some of my choicest morsels of the past weeks and hope to nourish your auditory appetite!


Walt Dickerson

To My Queen
New Jazz NJ8283  1963 

A wonderful, somewhat neglected jazz music experience, with delicately grooving vibraphone and piano, gently singing over the percolating grooves of drummer Andrew Cyrille and bassist George Tucker. Andrew Hill on piano takes the passenger's seat to Walt Dickerson's moves on this date, and the results are a nice, ethereal journey that always swings and keeps the fire burning while keeping each note sensitive and meaningful. Cyrille's versatility here is a treat, as I'm used to hearing him mostly with Cecil Taylor, and his bubbling, bopping percussion is exemplary. The photo of Walt's "queen" on the cover sets the tone for this marvelous journey.
 

Steve Lacy

Axieme Vol. 1
Red Record VPO 120 1977

Steve's sinewy, sweet solo soprano sax gig in Italy form the late '70s is an awe-inspiring display of mood, technique and worldly musical knowledge. This guy really got around in so many musical contexts, but his singular ability to sustain a whole concert with one single-note-capable instrument is a testament to chops and storytelling at it's most exotic and interesting. Sounds and melodies carry the ear into the heart and mind, as Steve's craft mesmerizes and blows the logical mind. Each solo concert Lacy did had its own special emotional thrust reflecting what was going on in his life, and this is one special moment. Very limited edition when it came out.


Mickey Hart/Airto Moreira/Flora Purim

Dafos
Reference Recordings RR12 1983

This sought-after, audiophile-quality LP has delighted me for years, and we just got another one in! Imagine pieces of the Apocalypse Now film's percussion soundtrack with more spooky ambience, yet floating on a cloud of Flora's echo-scat larynx vocalizations. Hart leaves his Dead cohorts and charts more new territory, and Airto does what he always has. Spacey home-made percussion pieces and sound worlds unique to these men's hand-picked and often hand-made kits. Single drum-cracks packing symphonic sonic wallop. Reverb to relax into. These excursions hold up to many listenings, and the sound is spectacular to boot. Timeless classic.


Karlheinz Stockhausen

Telemusik / Mixtur
Deutsche Grammophon 137012,1964-66

A major discovery of my youth getting into 20th century classical music, Telemusik jumped out at me immediately with its gorgeous multi-hued green cover (part of the famous Avant Garde series), and the title Telemusik triggered my science-fiction fantasies. Side one has Karlheinz in the NHK studios in Japan, creating one his most amazing electronic/musique concrete pieces that has stood the test of time so well. This piece seems to me to be a template for later pieces of this ilk, with its iconic processed sounds and synthesis in the classical style. Side two is a piece for ring-modulated full orchestra, with the electronics creating extra harmonics in addition to the symphony's tones. Dark sweeps of sound blocks and trickling bits of sensory stimuli make a unique audioscape of unusual intrigue. I'm a huge fan of this stuff, and this is one of the best.


Steve Reich and Musicians

Drumming/Music for Mallet Instruments Voices and Organ/Six Pianos
Deutsche Grammophon 1974.

This 3-LP box set is another monumental discovery of my tender age. When I heard this "Minimalism" style, I instantly fell in love with it, and it's because I heard this record as a first introduction. Three enchanting pieces, full of rhythm, harmony and energy, pulsating as if there's no tomorrow, yet flowing and morphing in the best of this style of New Music writing. Percussion and piano pieces sizzling with pulsating, shifting concurrence, notes beating against each other and thrusting the music forward. Early works of Reich deliver so much compositional and rhythmic density, an important feature of his own youth which has manifested itself into a more sensitive sparseness in his later years. THIS is the stuff of major careers in the making, with an individuality unmatched in other contemporaries lauded as equals. Great booklet in here, too!


Milt Hinton

East Coast Jazz #5
Bethlehem BCP1020 1955 

Very hip Jass session with a clarinet/piano/double bass/drums lineup, post-bop yet not Beebop in the strict sense; new chamber jazz but not "new music" or 3rd stream. This music is all about the bass style played by Hinton in its most "vocal" melodic effect, with the other musicians very subtly accompanying Milt, and his very melodic phrases and runs certainly making his name at moment in '55. The other cats make it like a tranquilized dixieland gig, with an echo-y studio sound that aids in the vibe. This is quite an interesting and unusually satisfying style, as the cool factor and chops of the musicians (Tony Scott, Dick Katz, Ossie Johnson) make this totally successful. I hadn't heard much of Hinton's own music, but his rep is huge in the bass world. Dig this!

All Enchanting Audio Artifacts Considered

Posted by Rick Frystak, October 2, 2011 01:02pm | Post a Comment
Hear Ye, Hear Ye!  Welcome to The Choice Bin, where only thee most "choice" long-play records traded in over our magnificent buy counter in Hollyweird are considered and discussed as art and a most logical slab of entertainment and inspiration. Now and again a noteworthy compact disc or book will slide across the buy counter, blip my radar and fall into my orbit, but it's 2011, so O.K.  I'll be your host as we ponder the spectacular and the insane. And if we're really fortunate, and nobody's glommed the goods, most of these gems will be available in Amoeba's "Buy Stuff" section, 'cuz after all....we're also a store! Follow the linkage...


Michel Redolfi

Sonic Waters
Hat Art 2002
(2-LP)


Mr. Michel Redolfii is, among other things, an architect of wondrous underwater acoustic installations...sometimes pools, sometimes oceans. This is a 2-LP set on the Swiss Hat Art label in a sweet little cardboard box package with lots of notes that documents Michel's electronic compositions done on a Synclavier II in the studio, and then being performed in a heated pool and in an underwater aquatic parks. The studio recordings are broadcast under the water through underwater speakers, while hydrophone mics pick up the transformation through the liquid medium, and it's natural mixing with underwater natural sounds. The stuff is eerie, gelatinous sonic stew that totally delights me with every listen. He calls it an "aerodynamic and amphibian" music. Indeed, Sire!



Glass Orchestra

The Glass Orchestra

Music Gallery Editions 10


Here's a remarkable record of a Canadian group in the late '70s composing and performing music for beverage glasses, glass gamelans, glass tubes and pipes, and some other tidbits. Quite ethereal and harmonious in the waves of dissonant and heavenly frequencies that transpire here. Lots of variety, but leaning mostly towards the strange, sensational glass phonics as if you were rubbing the lips of 20 glasses and making a piece out of it. I was in a trance and realized I must turn the record over! A very special disc on clear, glass-like vinyl, with a booklet inside.

Check out the leader's stage set-ups and philosophy.



Marion Brown

In Sommerhausen

Calig CAL30605


Featuring Jeanne Lee, Gunter Hampel, Steve McCall and others, this very scarce record on the German Calig label documents a time in "jazz" music that has never been equaled. The late '60s is reflected here musically in much of the dynamics of the individual voices on the instrumental arrangements and improv. Percussion groups, swinging jazz ensemble and some discreet free blowing sum up the elements. Very much 20th century classical and sound texture, Marion Brown takes the gang away from what others were doing to make his own hybrid style here...similar to the Art Ensemble but with his own freaky integrity flying. Lee's voice adds a sensuousness to the group sound that's unlike anything else. Awesome live sound on this disc...top-drawer production, with a glossy black and white cover.



Guy Lafitte
GUY
Colombia France 10"
FP 1124


French jazz tenor man Guy Lafitte does the Don Byas dance on this poppy, straight up date from French Colombia on a cool 10" flip-back EP. This guy is good, and he plays the changes and rips his chords in and around the Legrand-ish arrangements. I haven't heard that much Lafitte, and I dug this whole project as it progressed. Lots of huge Euro jazz cats on the session. If you like Byas, Pres and Lucky, you'll really get into this guy. These original French 10" records are stone f'n rare, so jump on it if you can.



Mauricio Kagel
Heterophonie 1959/1961

Wergo  WER60043
Rundfunks Symph/Michel Gielen


Mauricio Kagel hands over a wonderfully mysterious, dense yet spacial piece (2-sides!) on this precision-made original German pressing from the iconic Wergo imprint. This company has provided me with hours, weeks, months and even years of audio excitement throughout my life. Whenever I see their generic, clean Euro-balanced cover designs pop up,  I run to see what title it is and if I have it already. This disc is no exception, as Kagel takes us on a 20th century orchestral (and organ, too) audio drama that has it all. Dissonance, beauty, darkness, peppy percussive pulses of storyline and activity. Tiny episodes of sound fit together to make the whole. Kagel is a master at arranging emotion, and covers lots of territory here. A New-Music must!



The Enchanted Tiki Room
Original Tiki Room and Jungle Cruise Soundtrack

Disneyland 3966


Yes, the original soundtracks from Disneyland. This is the record of what you hear when you go into the rides and then their soundtracks surround you. In the case of the Jungle Cruise, you get the narration too and have to imagine the mechanical tiger lunging out at you. The Tiki-Tiki-Tiki Room? Aw, heck... I have no problem blurting out in tears of sentimental nostalgia every time I hear this. The joy of those little  mechanical birds and the looks on the kid's faces in the seats slays me every time. Yes...enchanting!
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