Archive for the 'incredibly strange music' Category

Marran Gosov – BabyMann

Marran Gosov - BabyMann LP front cover
Marran Gosov - BabyMann LP back cover
Marran Gosov - BabyMann LP seite A

Marran with his motherSelf-published in 1977, the Baby Mann LP was the debut release of actor and film maker Marran Gosov (born 1933) and part of his “Dilettantische Lieder” project which included song cycles and home-made short films of selected songs (see previous post). An intensely nostalgic disc, Baby Mann was composed in memory of his mother and refers to the period when Gosov left Bulgaria to emigrate to West Germany in 1960, leaving behind his younger brother Sehn, whom he met again for the first time in Munich in 1973. In Baby Mann, no mention is made of Marran’s father, for whatever reason.

Instrumentation includes acoustic guitar, violin, synthesizer, sound effects and voice, all played by Gosov on re-recording. The violin and synthesizer are treated with generous doses of reverb, giving a rather dream-like quality to the music. The synth often sounds like a musical saw heard in the background, mirroring the psychological, self-analyzing lyrics. In these songs, Gosov’s warm and beautiful voice is of course the main element. More approachable than Vocoding Life, this record is nonetheless a rather overwhelming experience.

01 Lampenfieber (7:53)
02 Clown (3:52)
03 BabyMann (2:36)
04 Kino (5:20)
05 Nehmer gebend (:51)
06 Knoten (6:19)
07 Daneben (4:28)
08 Kusswunde (:44)
09 Walzerflucht (10:03)

Total time 42:00
Self-released LP, Munich, West Germany, 1977

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Marran Gosov discography:
1977 BabyMann: Dilettantische Lieder
1978 Steine kitzeln: Dilettantische Lieder II
1980 Vocoding Life/Psycho-Akustik

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Jean-François Gaël – Musiques de Table

Jean-François Gaël - Musiques de table 7-inch front cover
Jean-François Gaël - Musiques de table 7-inch back cover
Jean-François Gaël - Musiques de table, page from the booklet
Jean-François Gaël - Musiques de table, page from the booklet
Jean-François Gaël - Musiques de table 7-inch side A

During the 1970s, French record company Le Chant Du Monde published classical, folk and traditional music from around the world, especially from Communist countries where they had many contacts – I assume via the French Communist Party. The label also had two interesting single series: the “Chevance” series of the late 1970s was devoted to experimental songs by independent songwriters like Jacqueline Held or Steve Waring, playing with French free jazz musicians of the time (Jean-Louis Mechali, Maurice Merle, Jean Bolcato, Louis Sclavis). Published around 1985, the second series, titled “Sonoriage”, was a collection of educative 7-inch singles devoted to raising sound awareness among the teen audience. Conceived by French educator Anne Bustaret, who worked with sound and music with teenagers, Sonoriage had only 3 releases, each elaborating on musique concrète (Alain Savouret, Musiques en Bandes), bell resonances and environmental sounds (Alain Gagneux, Musiques sur la Place) or self-build instruments (Jean-François Gaël, Musiques de Table). Half of the experimental-progressive duo Sonorhc with Pierre Buffenoir in 1972, Jean-François Gaël worked as a backing guitarist for French singer Hélène Martin and, later in the 1980s till today, as film and cartoon music composer, and orchestra director.

♫ Gaël’s single for the Sonoriage series, titled Musiques de Table, or Kitchen Music, is played on kitchenware exclusively on the first side, and on Cristal Baschet on the flip. The disc comes with a booklet of games, exercices and suggestions for children to play music with everyday objects. Tracks #1 to 6 are a kind of joyous musique concrète for children played on forks, knives, wine glasses and other ustensils, with minimal sound treatment and tape manipulation. Track titles are a reference to Pierre Schaeffer’s own early musique concrète experiments, titled Études. Tracks #7 to 10 feature Michel Deneuve interpreting some of these tracks on Cristal Baschet.

01 Repas (:34)
02 Isolons (1:25)
03 Étude aux Verres (:35)
04 Étude Métallique (:39)
05 Musique de Table (1:05)
06 Étude aux Œufs (:51)
07 Profiteroles (:50)
08 Île Flottante (1:15)
09 Sucre Candi (1:17)
10 Religieuse (1:18)

Anne Bustaret, concept
Jean-François Gaël, musique concrète, composition
Michel Deneuve, Cristal Baschet

Total time 9:50
7-inch record released by Le Chant Du Monde, France, 1985

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Alain Presencer – The Singing Bowls of Tibet

Alain Presencer – The Singing Bowls of Tibet LP front cover
Alain Presencer – The Singing Bowls of Tibet LP back cover
Alain Presencer – The Singing Bowls of Tibet LP side A

British poet, children books writer, opera tenor, anthropologist and Tibet specialist Alain Presencer was born in 1939 in Canada. He studied Buddhism in Canada and in Great Britain when he moved there in the early 1970s. Presencer learned specific techniques of overtone singing and singing bowls during his various visits in the region of Tibet in the 1970s. In 1982, he collaborated with David Hykes and Tibetan singing bowl player Frank Perry, of Keith Tippett’s Ark and Ovary Lodge fame. As Presencer explains in the liner notes, Lamaism is Tibet’s official religion, but his research has led him to investigate the pre-Buddhist, Bön religion, whose adherents, the Bön-pos use a special singing technique as well as singing bowls during their ceremonies. The Bön-po religious tradition involves animism and shamanism (see here) – when they craft an instrument from a human femur, the rkang-gling used on track #5, it is for specific, religious reasons.

♫ These recordings are intended as an equivalent of the Bön-pos’ religious music and are played on genuine sacred instruments collected in or around Tibet. Instruments and music on this disc are quite distinct from Tibetan Lamas’ ceremonial music – the one we are familiar with when we think Tibetan music. For instance, Presencer’s playing doesn’t include Tibetan traditional instruments like the Dung-chen (large trumpet-like instrument), the Damaru (hand drum), the twist drum or the gyaling (double reed shawm), and no stringed or folk instruments. Presencer plays more primitive instruments like conch shells, gongs, singing bowls, flute and small percussion, in addition to overtone singing,  to create his own version of the Bön-po rituals he heard in Tibet in the 1970s. Particularly noticeable are the moving, minimalist song Lullaby (tr. #4) and the monumental, side-long track #5, which starts with overtone chanting, followed by a short passage for gongs, handbells and human femur (Lamentation) and ends with the 15mn Symphony of the Bowls, for handbells, cymbals and singing bowls. Featuring fairly minimal but highly evocative music in the same family as David Hykes or Frank Perry, The Singing Bowls of Tibet was a pioneering LP where a Westerner musician embraced the secret musical tradition of the rare Bön-po music.

01 Invocation (3:11)
02 Shepherd’s Song (1:50)
03 Bowl Voices (12:03)
04 Lullaby (2:50)
05 Bön-Po Chant – Lamentation – Symphony of the Bowls (23:29)

Alain Presencer, conch shell, yak horn, gongs, Tibetan singing bowls, shepherd’s flute, hand cymbals, voice, human femur, bronze handbell

Total time 43:23
LP released by Saydisc, UK, 1981

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Above: Frank Perry demonstrating the ululation technique he learned from Alain Presencer.

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Emmanuel Brun – La Scie Musicale

Emmanuel Brun – La Scie Musicale LP front cover
Emmanuel Brun – La Scie Musicale LP back cover
Emmanuel Brun – La Scie Musicale LP side 1

Rifle champion Emmanuel BrunFrench musical saw virtuoso Emmanuel Brun (~1935- 2004) championned the instrument in France, first as a means for musicotherapy, then as a proper concert instrument. But in the 1950s and ’60s, Emmanuel Brun was first a champion of . . . fencing,  judo, dumbbells and shooting gun (rifle) disciplines, of which he was a leading competitor in France at the time. In the 1960s, he worked in the field of music therapy and psychoacoustics with Professor Jacques Jost, who used the musical saw’s acoustic properties to cure patients in a Paris mental hospital. After 1975, Brun had a duo with pianist and partner Paule Sagne, with whom he toured extensively around 1975-85.

♫ The blurb on the cover quoting Elizabethan Canticles and musique concrète as references for this record, it was enough to pique my curiosity and pick up a copy. If truth be told, the sound of musical saw is more prosaic than tuned glasses, but Brun’s mastery of the instrument makes it sound pure and heavenly, not unlike some Ondes Martenot in Messiaen. The album includes some traditional tunes adapted for saw (Gounod, Haendel, an Elizabethan canticle), as well as some original compositions by Brun and arranger Geny Detto. The truly magical #4 Hommage à Béjart, for instance, is based on Brun’s contemporary piano improvisation and ghostly synthesizer sounds, plus guitar and bass by Geny Detto, over which Brun sends supernatural musical saw interjections. Tracks #5 and #6, complete with groovy bass guitar and heavy rock drums, are psychedelic numbers close to Pierre Henry’s Psyché Rock (see video below). The musique concrète element referred to on the cover is probably the beautiful #9 Aux Sources De L’Eldorado, based on a background of water, insect and bird sounds, over which Brun improvises an elevated, ancient melody.

01 Mélodie Au Levant 3:25
02 Ave Maria 3:15
03 Mon Ami Le Vent 2:20
04 Hommage à Béjart 4:05
05 La Voix Qui Fait Chanter La Guitare 2:00
06 La Voix Psychédélique 1:45
07 Scarbourought Fair 3:25
08 Concerto Pour La Porte Du Soleil 3:30
09 Aux Sources De L’Eldorado 2:30
10 Sous Les Etoiles 2:00
11 Largo 2:45

Emmanuel Brun, musical saw, piano, synthesizer
Geny Detto, guitar, bass guitar, drums

Total time 31:05
LP released by SFP, France, 1975

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Albert Leskowsky – Music for the Instruments of an Exhibition

Albert Leskowsky - Music for the Instruments of an Exhibition LP front cover
Albert Leskowsky - Music for the Instruments of an Exhibition LP back cover
Albert Leskowsky - Music for the Instruments of an Exhibition LP side A

Located in Kecskemét, 85 km South-East of Budapest, Leskowsky Hangszergyűjtemény (Leskowsky’s Musical Instruments Collection) is Hungary’s largest collection of music instruments. Created by ethnomusicologist Albert Leskowsky, who gave the collection to the City, it was transformed into a museum now spotted in tourist guides. The museum, said to be opened 24/7 on appointment, also hosts regular music concerts. Among its 1,500 items, the collection includes a large array of percussion, as well as traditional folk instruments and bells from Hungary and abroad. There’s a great post on the Museum with pictures and videos on this Russian blog. A man of many resources, Leskowsky also organizes the yearly Kecskemét velocipede rally since 2006 – there’s a photo of Leskowsky beside one of these engines on this Flickr page.

♫ The music on Zene Egy Kiállítás Hangszereire (or Music for the Instruments of an Exhibition) of course relies on the collection’s many treasures, and each track calls for unusual instruments like jew’s harp, sitar, zither, bird calls, frog imitations, toys, hurdy-gurdy, flute, cheap sampler, etc, in addition to guitar, saxophone and percussion. Generally speaking, the DIY style, humor, rhythms and textures recall General Strike’s first cassette, Danger in Paradise, like in the opener, Ősszintetizátor, a nice percussion-driven track with vintage and possibly modified synthesizer.

01 Ősszintetizátor  -  Prehistorical synthesizer (7:14)
02 Sivatagi lant  -  Desert lute (4:33)
03 Éjféli haransző  -  Midnight bells (6:30)
04 Afromagyaros  -  Afro-Hungarian music (2:15)
05 A pneumatikus gong esete  -  The case of the pneumatic gongs (5:37)
06 Collection-percussion  -  Jam session (7:42)
07 Nyenyere mars  -  Hurdie-gurdie march (3:32)
08 Tengertánc  -  Hip-hop rap (3:13)
09 Síppal, dobbal, nádi hegedűvel  -  With whistle, drums and reedpipes (4:47)
10 Részeg tárogatós blues  -  The drunken tarogatoman blues (3:50)
11 Alternatív zongoragép  -  Alternative mechanical piano (2:40)
12 Finálé szöghegedűre  -  Finale for nail violin (1:12)

Total time 53:04
LP released by Origo Studio, Kecskemét, Hungary, date? (approx. 1995–2000)

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ТPИО PОМЭН Вокально – инструментальное [Vocal-Instrumental Trio Romen 1st LP]

Trio Romen 1st LP front cover
Trio Romen 1st LP back cover
Trio Romen 1st LP side 1

The release of Romen Trio‘s 1973 debut LP was so successful Russian state label Melodya reissued it at least once in 1980. Consisting of Valentina Ponomareva, Igraf Joshka and Georgi Kvik, Romen Trio first performed at Moscow’s Romen Gypsy Theater in 1971, but soon toured all over the Union and abroad, including New York’s Metropolitan Opera during the 1980s. Their version of Gypsy romances and songs is infused with American folk music from the 1960s, such as Peter, Paul and Mary or Joan Baez. Since WWII, Gipsy music have been extremely popular in the media in USSR, and still is to this day. Maybe Soviet urbanites craved the freedom and true feelings carried by Gypsy romances.

Each Romen Trio song is a well-crafted miniature with artful arrangements by fine guitarists Igraf Joshka and Georgi Kvik, with vocal duties contributed by all members of the trio. Tracks alternate between slow, sorrowful romances and joyous, campfire songs. Some of the songs on this legendary LP have been reissued on CD but not all.

01 Солнышко – Solnyshko (3:09)
02 Зомферица – Zomferitsa (1:54)
03 Луны волшебной полосы – Stripes of Magic Moonlight (3:38)
04 Дуй дрома –  Dui Droma (3:21)
05 Андо фаро, баро фаро – Ando Foro, Baro Foro (2:06)
06 Песня из спектакля “Цыганка Аза” –  Song From The Play “Aza The Gypsy” (4:22)
07 Шатрица – Shatritsa (2:38)
08 Сумерки – Twilight (3:00)
09 Дыкхава дро сунэ – Dykhava Dro Sune (2:32)
10 Золотая серьга – Golden Earring (3:21)
11 Мэ дрэ фэлда барием – Me Dre Felda Bariem (3:51)
12 Чайерие – Tchaiorio (2:24)

Total time 36:15
LP released by Melodya, USSR, 1980 (rec. 1973)

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Alain Saverot – Ballade Rustique

Alain Saverot – Ballade Rustique LP front cover
Alain Saverot – Ballade Rustique LP back cover
Alain Saverot – Ballade Rustique LP side 1

The son of a French professional violinist who played in a string quartet, French painter Alain Saverot was born in Sousse, Tunisia, in 1947. He traveled by foot across Central Africa in the 1960s and discovered African ethnic music and instruments – this LP’s cover image might be from this period. Back in France, he graduated from Dijon’s fine arts school in 1964. His paintings and drawings have been shown in various exhibitions in France and abroad since the mid-1970s – see official website. In 1982, Saverot published 2 LPs on artist-funded record company Le Kiosque d’Orphée, titled Tirage de Tête and Ballade Rustique. See previous post for an explanation of the Kiosque d’Orphée concept.

Both sides of Ballade Rustique feature continuous compositions of multi-tracked voices, sound collages, and music instruments like acoustic guitar, percussion and harmonica. Wordless onomatopoeia prevails throughout – from phonetic sound poetry to spontaneous chorale, from Sephardi Jewish Cantillation to New Orleans scat –, with occasional reading of poems (the liner notes mention Baudelaire, Queneau and Tzara), sometimes augmented by a female reader. An untaught musician and singer, Savoret compensates with imagination and some radical ideas about mixing and cueing… or lack thereof, as some sequences just seem to bump into one another without further ado. Note, for instance, the incredibly distorted electric guitar sudden eruption at 5:30 in track #2, with distorted and noisy vocals for the ensuing 2mns. The entire passage recalls Jean Dubuffet’s Musique Chauve experiments.

01 Ballade Rustique (16:25)
02 Ballade Rustique – continued (22:06)

Total time 38:31
LP released by Le Kiosque d’Orphée, France, 1982

Download [new stereo rip, as of Oct. 25, 2011]

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More from Le Kiosque d’Orphée on Continuo’s:

  • Anonymous >
  • Francisco Semprun & Michel Christodoulidès
    Mondes Incantatoires et Espaces Carnivores >
  • MadhyaMéditations Sur Le Seuil >
  • Situations Sonores ’76 >

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Various – Y Stand Druff

Y Stand Druff LP front cover
Y Stand Druff LP back cover
Y Stand Druff LP seite 1

May 1968 in Switzerland? Riots and political protestations all over the place? Well, not exactly. But they had the Basler Fasnacht, or Carnival of Basel, during which participants wear all kinds of weird costumes and play the Guggemusik, the specific fife and drum carnival music. The annual festival sitll takes place today.

This LP collects recordings of the various Clique, or troupes, appearing during the 1968 Fasnacht, like the famous Schnitzelbangg and Alti Stainlemer. The Guggemusik alternates with satirical dialogues on contemporary themes in the Basel’s German dialect. Note Picasso artworks on the cover. Classy!


01 Schnitzelbangg – Brofeetebeeri (2:34)
02 Olympia – Dagwach (1:06)
03 Schnitzelbangg – Gufekissi (1:04)
04 Central-Club – Stadtpfytter (:59)
05 Rahmespiel – Balkonszene (2:55)
06 Alti Stainlemer – Dr Hippy (3:22)
07 Schnitzelbangg – Stächmugge (2:14)
08 Alti Richtig – D’Stainlemer (2:46)
09 Schnitzelbangg – ‘s Stachelbeeri (2:48)
10 Guggemuusig – Guggemuusig (1:54)
11 Schnitzelbangg – Doggter hc (2:55)
12 Barbara-Club – Wettstaimarsch (3:04)
13 Schnitzelbangg – D’Blindschlycher (1:21)
14 Pfluderi – Aeschlemer mit Variationen (:36)
15 Schnitzelbangg – Die Halbsuure (2:08)
16 Rahmespiel – Yogi Bär und Bubu Wunderflitz (7:00)
17 Schnitzelbangg – D’Standpauke (3:15)
18 Spale – Regimäntstochter (1:56)
19 Schnitzelbangg – D’Schärbe-Richter (3:20)
20 Basler Mittwoch-Gesellschaft – Saggodo (2:00)

Total time 49:13
LP released by HBL, ref. HBL 101, Switzerland, 1968(?)

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