Various – LA Mantra II

LA Mantra II front coverLA Mantra II inlay
LA Mantra II info sheet
LA Mantra II double cassette set

Barry Craig (1952-2011), also known as ambient music composer A Produce, launched Trance Port Tapes in 1983 when he was still a member of Afterimage, a new wave band from Los Angeles. During its 4 years of activity, the nine volumes of the Trance Port cassette series documented the growing ambient, avantgarde, synth-based music projects of L.A. in the distinctive fold-out packaging designed for the series by Independent Project Press, aka Bruce Licher of Savage Republic. The monumental LA Mantra II compilation was actually Trance Port Tapes’ swan song, as it ceased activities soon after its release. But Craig actually succeeded helping what he called the “trance music” scene emerge at a time when Los Angeles was burgeoning with as many “scenes” as suburbs – to name a few: the synth-punk movement (Nervous Gender, If Then Else, Screamers) ; the “art punk” scene of Wall of Voodoo, Oingo Boingo or the Fibbonacis ; the Urinals and the Happy Squid Records stable ;  the Anticlub venue ; Al’s Bar live venue ; the LAFMS compilations ;  or the Savage Republic stable.

LA Mantra II booklet coverPage from the LA Mantra II bookletPage from the LA Mantra II booklet

Along its 4 sides, the compilation covers different music genres, with each side devoted to a particular style. A fine collection of cold- and new-wave bands, the first side features powerful songs by the likes of Psi-Com, with  Rich Evac and Perry Farrel, the latter of Jane’s Addiction, or Abecedarians, who will release a 12in on Factory Records in 1985. Starting with a neo-classical, post-punk instrumental by 17 Pygmies, the mood changes on side 2, tuning into guitar-based, sumptuous, atmospheric tracks that tend to carry your mind away. The third side indulges into more ambient experimentalism with radical sound artists like Chas Smith, Carl Stone (who contributes a plunderphonic track of 1960s radio hits), Tom Recchion, of LAFMS fame, or pure mavericks like John Trubee. Sound effects and repetition take over on side 4, a series of surreal, rhythm-less sound experiments. While guitars were still recognizable on side 3, they are now channeled through sound filters, studio manipulation and unconventional playing technique, like in Brent Wilcox‘s mystical Secret of Cargo, for prepared guitar sounding like a psalterion, backward-running guitar and tape manipulation – Wilcox released a 7in single on Happy Squid Records in 1981.

I find it hard to listen to this compilation in one run, because when I’m in the mood for side 1, I’m usually not in the mood to appreciate side 4 and vice versa. Otherwise, this is an exceptionally solid collection of musics.

Side 1:

01 Marina La PalmaMi Ni Parolas (2:51)
02 Randall KennedyNever Ending Night (2:58)
03 John J. LafiaQueen of the Nile (3:49)
04 AbecedariansThey Said Tomorrow (5:14)
05 Psi-ComPsi-Com (Theme) (5:38)

Side 2:
06 17 PygmiesMoment In Ceylon (3:19)
07 Rick CoxS P (3:54)
08 Anthony TetiWinter Arriving (4:22)
09 Bay Of PigsChild’s Lament (2:02)
10 Repetition RepetitionOver & Over, Pt. 8 (8:16)

Side 3:
11 Chas SmithBeatrix (4:17)
12 Scott FraserAn Act of Control (3:23)
13 Apes Of GodThe Discovery of Fire (4:35)
14 John TrubeeCrawling Down The Corridor (3:49)
15 Carl StoneWave Heat (3:29)
16 A ProduceDorian Imagination (5:19)
17 Tom RecchionMetallic Bowl (5:26)

Side 4:
18 Brad LanerN-Counter (3:29)
19 Brent WilcoxSecret of Cargo (3:54)
20 Points Of FrictionMidnight Globe (5:25)
21 Peter CathamNot a Congo Line (2:05)
22 An BeneMarch to Miramol (4:35)
23 D.D. DobsonAgua Y Tia (4:55)
24 Fluxus ApplianceAccidents in the Home (4:00)
25 Bruce Licher/Chez VozBridge (2:21)

Total time 1h 43mn
2xk7 set released by Trance Port Tapes, ref. trance 8, Los Angeles, CA, 1984

Download (250Mb)
[alternate link]

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

Trance Port Tapes cassetography:
1983 Various “L.A. Mantra”, trance 1 >
1983 Randall Kennedy “Scenes From Redemption (Pts. 1 & 2)”, trance 2
1983 An Bene / Pierre Lambow “Sustained Space”, trance 3 >
1984 John J. Lafia “Prayers”, trance 4 >
1984 Various “Live At The Trance Port”, trance 5 >
1984 Afterimage “Anthology”, trance 6
1984 Timothy Leary “The Final Taboo”, trance 7  >
1984 Various “L.A. Mantra II”, trance 8
1984 Various “Phantom Takes”

* *

25 Responses to “Various – LA Mantra II”

  1. 1 eltopo66 April 23, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Many, many thanks for this fantastic work!
    I’ll suggest the Drowning Pool albums.
    All the best.
    Alex T – El Topo

  2. 2 continuo April 23, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Thanks for your comment.

  3. 3 klimperei April 23, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Great! Thanx amigo !

  4. 4 continuo April 23, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Thanks. Nice to see you there.

  5. 5 Evan April 23, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    thank you

  6. 6 continuo April 23, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    You’re welcome.

  7. 7 Daniel Voznick April 23, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    I’m happy to learn that this material has not been forgotten. Since Barry’s passing, I’ve been more aware of how that era is fading in memory. Brent Wilcox passed away recently and with him a great resource of music knowledge. Barry, Rich Evac, Holland DeNuzzio and I were in Afterimage together and I also contributed to some of the TrancePort releases with Bruce Licher in Bridge/Tunnel Tones as Chez Voz, so these releases were very important to me personally. The positive energy and adventuresome spirit that pulsed through Los Angeles through the early 80s was a great thing to be a part of. I hope everyone has a similar experience at least once in their life.
    Daniel Voznick aka Alec Tension aka Chez Voz

  8. 8 continuo April 23, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Hi, Daniel, thanks for dropping by. Well, the L.A. underground scene of the 1980s is not in danger of being overlooked or forgotten, I think, what with many bands now enjoying cult status. It must have been an incredibly stimulating experience to be part of that scene and I’m sure some of the energy and creativity of that era can still inspire today.

  9. 9 dogom April 24, 2012 at 5:13 am

    Thanks for this – I haven’t found the time to digitise my copy. If you don’t have access to LA Mantra Vol 1 and another Trance release Phantom Takes I may be able to help.

  10. 10 continuo April 24, 2012 at 9:05 am

    LA Mantra I is still available from a fellow blogger (link in the cassetography), but I’d be curious to hear Phantom Takes and possibly post it here. If you think you can help, please leave a comment here or reach me at:
    teepeesfrp [at] yahoo [dot] fr
    Thanks for your offer.

  11. 11 Curious Guy April 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Thanks for this one.
    Would love to hear the Phantom Takes comp.

  12. 12 continuo April 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Let’s hope reader Dogom was serious with his offer.

  13. 13 mrsblucher April 24, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    thanks so much continuo, dogom (in advance), and Daniel too. if someone could supply an alternate source for trance 7 that would be wonderful, it’s a gone blog

  14. 15 Exeter April 27, 2012 at 2:06 am

    I don’t even know where my copy of this thing is!
    Thanks so much!

  15. 16 continuo April 27, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Some shoeboxes hold real treasures, sometimes.
    Thanks for your comment.

  16. 17 electricair April 30, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    say WHAT!?! L.A. Mantra (well, I guess L.A. Mantra 1, now) has been one of my favorite comps from this area. so so glad I stumbled upon this…

  17. 18 electricair May 1, 2012 at 12:00 am

    i didn’t even know this existed. so excited.

  18. 19 electricair May 1, 2012 at 12:02 am

    would you (or anyone, really) happen to know where to get a copy of that Randall Kennedy tape? been looking all over for it!

  19. 20 continuo May 1, 2012 at 7:45 am

    I’m afraid I can’t help you with that Randall Kennedy tape. I don’t have a copy and it’s not been posted on any blog.

  20. 21 Riot Nrrrd™ (@CLK55) May 8, 2012 at 9:04 am

    “the first side features powerful songs by the likes of Psi-Com, with Perry Farrel [sic] and Rich Evac of Jane’s Addiction”

    Rich Evac was never in Jane’s Addiction.

    Thanks for the post – you saved me the effort of digitizing mine :)

  21. 22 continuo May 8, 2012 at 9:14 am

    I corrected the post. Thanks for the info.

  22. 23 mrowster September 1, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Awesome – have wanted to hear this for nearly 3 decades now. But ackk! I can’t seem to get the link to work. Is it expired?

  23. 24 continuo September 1, 2012 at 8:43 am

    This link works.

  24. 25 mrowster September 1, 2012 at 9:09 am

    thank you sir! Download has commenced.

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