Urban Sax 1st LP

01 Urban Sax Part I (17:48)
02 Urban Sax Part II (18:04)

Total time: 35:52
LP released 1977 on Cézame-Cobra (reissued 1986 on Celluloid)

16 saxophone players gathered to record the 1st Urban Sax LP, after several years of touring festivals and outdoor venues. They were perhaps reluctant to actually record their music events, hence reducing the spatial effects of musicians playing around and above the audience. I assume Gilbert Artman had to make compromizes to re-create the Urban Sax magic in studio, using studio trickeries and sound effects. For example, the extremely low rumbles on track #1 sound like slowed down, processed saxophone recordings. The music is not only live performance, then, but partly composed in the studio. Vocals starting 14:00 on side one add the pseudo-primitive, typical Urban Sax mood. The music gets uncompromizingly repetitive on side two, where a 5 notes loop on soprano saxophone (starting 3:45) is played endlessly to mesmerizing effects, on a background of sustained low notes by the 8 tenor players. The effect is hypnotic, and these enchanting sounds could go on for ever. This is where Urban Sax gets closer to LaMonte Young, and have been compared to Rhys Chatham or Glen Branca on saxophones. ‘Urban Sax 2’, part III, is available on this WFMU’s post. The best introduction to Urban Sax is here (in french). Check also Continuo’s previous Urban Sax post.


. . . . . . . . . .


1977 ‘Urban Sax 1’ LP (Part I & II), Cobra
1978 ‘Urban Sax 2’ LP (Part III & IV), Cobra
1982 ‘Paradise lost’ (with Pierre Henry), LP, Philips
1986 ‘Fraction sur le temps’ LP, Celluloid
1990 ‘Urban Sax Part I-IV’ (CD compiling 1 & 2)
1991 ‘Spiral’ CD, EPM
1991 ‘Live in Tokyo’ CDV, Teichuku Records
1993 ‘To the Happy Few’ CD, Cézame
1995 ‘Urban Sax à Jakarta’ CD, Awa 5002
2001 ‘Quad Sax’ CD, Spalax
2008 ‘Phase-Hors phase’ CD, as yet unreleased

9 Responses to “Urban Sax 1st LP”

  1. 1 vespucci May 28, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks for that digital copy (I still do have that Celludoid vinyl album). It’s a pity that obviously ALL Urban Sax releases are out of print. The few copies that are sold 2nd hand now and then are pretty expensive.

  2. 2 continuo May 28, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    A pity, indeed, that so much french music is totally unavailable. Buying a Jacques Dudon CD, a Frères Baschet CD is almost impossible, for instance. I wonder if this happens in other countries too, or just in France?

  3. 3 vespucci May 29, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    As for regular French releases, it is in general pretty difficult here in Germany though the situation became a little bit better, compared to about 10 years ago. But only just a bit.
    I usually buy at a-Musik which is specialized in importing releases from small independent labels and who obviously orders the French stuff from Metamkine. However, most of the French releases is strangely enough coming in from Belgian or Dutch distribitutors like Lowlands or Staalplaat, of course only in limited numbers.
    I do remember how hard it was to get something by Yann Tierssen before he had his breakthrough with ‘Amelie”.
    Even labels like Musea and In Poly Sons still equal… difficult.

    I tried to get some releases by Discmedi these days, which – according to their website – is one of Spain’s biggest independent labels. I couldn’t order it here…

    And if you really want to torture yourself, try to get something from Eastern Europe… next to impossible. Even for a known name like ie. Iva Bittova.

    For some time I was on search after films by Chris Marker. I bought a couple of bootleg DVD-Rs… most of them came from North American dealers. Carné’s “Quai des brumes” is regularly available in the States, but not here. Same goes for Tarkovsky’s “Steamroller and Violin”. Artavazd Pelechian, an Armenian filmmaker – the same thing (ironically, some of those films were taken from Arte transmissions.)

    Well, it’s just absurd.

  4. 4 continuo May 30, 2008 at 7:10 am

    My question was: how difficult is it to find a CD by Die Tötliche Doris, Anima/Limpe Fuchs, Alfred Harth/Heiner Goebbels in Germany, for instance. This A-Muzik shop seems to be a fine place to visit, indeed. I agree dutch and belgian mail orders have many interesting stuff from the 1980s and 90s. Regarding czech music, did you try Tamizdat [http://www.tamizdat.org/]?

  5. 5 vespucci May 30, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    The a-Musik online catalogue at least lists several releases by Tödliche Doris (-> http://www.a-musik.com/bustible/experi.html)
    As for the rest of the stuff you mentioned, it will become rather difficult.

    An excellent place for the stuff you’re interested in, is “gelbe Musik” (= “yellow music”) in Berlin – part gallery, part record shop. Unfortunately they don’t have any web site. Here is a (babelfished) text on them:

  6. 6 H.C.Earwicker June 7, 2008 at 8:56 am

    “A-Musik” is the #1 adress in Germany for the kind of music you’re looking for. I’d recommend getting on their mailing-list, since they’re doing special 2nd-hand sales from time to time.

    And if you’re on a visit in Germany, you should browse through the local 2nd-hand record stores. Chances are good for making some great surprise finds.

    Anyway – thanks for the fantastic 1st by Urban Sax. Love it.

  7. 7 continuo June 7, 2008 at 9:07 am

    Thx for the promotion of the A-muzik shop, boys! You win a free Stockhausen flexi promo-only single! Just kidding. Wouldn’t it be a nice idea, though, to devote a blog to good record shops of the world, with contribution-pictures from different people?

  8. 8 paustds June 10, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Great blog and music,thank you.

  9. 9 continuo June 10, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    You’re welcome. Thanks for dropping by.

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