Archive for the 'avant rock' Category

Various – Feedback #001

Various - Feedback #001 LP front cover
Various - Feedback #001 LP back cover
Various - Feedback #001 LP lado 1

Published in 1990, the Feedback #001 anthology blends post-punk and anarcho-punk bands like K4 Quadrado Azul, C.I.A. neto or Censurados, avant-rock acts like Ocaso Épico or Neon Hippies with experimental tracks by the likes of Microbio Cosmico, Hesskhé Yadalanah, VSS200 RX21, or Psicotrão. These bands were part of a burst of creativity in the Portuguese independent music scene circa 1988-91, when Telectu were at the peak of their international career, and with the releases of Nuno Canavarro’s Plux Quba (1988), Nuno Rebelo’s Sagração Do Mês De Maio (1989), Osso Exótico’s debut LP (1990), Vítor Rua’s Vidya compilation LP (1991) or Miguel Santos’ legendary Johnny Blue compilations in 1991, to name but a few major acts in the field of experimental music. Apparently, at that time, Portuguese record labels weren’t strictly genre-bound – i.e. punk band Censurados’s 1st LP was scheduled on Ama Romanta, the label which had just released the Nuno Canavarro LP – the disc eventually appeared on El Armadillo. This kind of open-mindedness is palpable on Feedback #001, with, for intance, Ocaso Épico’s tape loops+spoken words on #5 and rock song ala Reynaldo and the Loaf on #6, or the bass-driven post rock ala Rothko/Tortoise of Neon Hippies. Feedback #001 celebrates a certain Portuguese D.I.Y. and Anarchist ethos ca.1990 with a hand-made cover artwork, a zine-like, xeroxed booklet and the absence of a record label – indeed, the rarity of this disc testifies to the limited circulation and distribution it had at the time of its release.

01 K4 Quadrado AzulJardineiro (4:45)
02 C.I.A. netoHomem Moderno (1:46)
03 C.I.A. netoAjude a Policia (1:38)
04 Microbio CosmicoZippy e a Electricidade na Terra dos Sonhos programados (4:03)
05 Ocaso ÉpicoEntre Barreiras (1:33)
06 Ocaso ÉpicoD. Suzette (3:36)
07 Neon HippiesMetalic Rattle of the Tender
+ Song for Helicopteres on Sunset (3:32)
08 The New Hard Noise Heavy Rock Cyber Speed
Sonic Metal Punk Acid Sound
– s/t (2:27)
09 CensuradosSenhores Politicos (3:41)
10 CensuradosNão Vale Nada (2:50)
11 K4 Quadrado AzulTudo é Meu (3:14)
12 Hesskhé YadalanahLeukôstomé (4:48)
13 VSS200 RX21Interferências em Sub-Etha (2:39)
14 PsicotrãoFeedback (2:22)

Total time 42:50
Self-released LP, Portugal, 1990


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Various – Savoy Sound Wave Goodbye

Savoy Sound Wave Goodbye LP front cover
Savoy Sound Wave Goodbye LP back cover
Savoy Sound Wave Goodbye LP inlay
Savoy Sound Wave Goodbye LP side 1

In the early 1980s, San Franciscan label Go! Records, ran by Olga Carpmill-Gerrard and husband Gerry, published a handfull of discs by Canadian new wave band Moev, as well as compilation LPs documenting various SF new wave and punk-rock bands (see discogs). The Savoy Sound Wave Goodbye compilation is one of them, and includes bands who played at the short-lived Savoy Tivoli concert venue on Grant Avenue (1980-81). It includes, among others, bands from Subterranean, Adolescent and Ralph Records.

The two Tuxedomoon tracks are brilliant reminders of how the band sounded on stage before they left for Europe. The following acts are less polished than Tuxedomoon and closer to what we know today as post-punk. Somewhere between punk-rock and progressive rock, The Sleepers‘ epic, 9mn track blends Zenith and Theory, two excerpts from their 1981 LP on Adolescent Records titled “Painless Nights”. The reggae of Earl Zero and Skankin’ Babylonian will be a distraction for many, yet the publishers of this record decided it was part of the legacy of The Savoy. Charles MacMahon performs a solo on didgeridoo with added sound effects and also appears on the following track, Snakefinger‘s Culprit Victim. The Mutants ‘ track Furniture is a hi-energy punk-rock song – readers of this blog might remember The Mutants featured John Gullak, founder of A.R.P.H. tapes and the Audio Arm cassette series (see previous post). It all ends with a lock groove of an exquisite synthesizer loop by Eazy Teeth (see their Car Noise video below).

[Thanks to reader Jim for the correction.]

01 Tuxedomoon Music #1 (3:07)
02 Tuxedomoon Jinx (4:51)
03 Cipher Cymetic Mambo (4:06)
04 The Sleepers Zenith/Theory (9:17)
05 Earl Zero Visions of Love (7:00)
06 Skankin’ Babylonians Rough Rider (2:50)
07 Ultrasheen Inferno/Raceway (4:40)
08 Charles McMahon Journey Home (1:57)
09 Snakefinger Culprit Victim (1:57)
10 Mutants Furniture (2:38)
11 Eazy Teeth Taste for Space (4:00)

Total time 47:40
LP released by Go! Records, San Francisco, USA, 1981


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Above: Eazy Teeth – Car Noise, 7in, Dental Records, 1980 (b-side here)

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Xavier Garcia – Re-Cycling Rectangle

Xavier Garcia - Re-Cycling Rectangle side B
Xavier Garcia - Re-Cycling Rectangle side A

In 1999, Rectangle label manager Quentin Rollet asked several composers to contribute remixes of the label’s past releases since 1996, to be issued in a series of 7-inch singles titled Re/Cycling Rectangle. Remixers included Erik M, Martin Tétreault, Andrew Sharpley and Wendy Gondeln, as well as French electroacoustic music composer Xavier Garcia, born  1959.

The superb opener Chef de Gare manages to blend atmospheric music with incendiary political rants by French film directors Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet, interviewed by Thierry Jousse for a 3xLP issued by Rectangle in 1998. Also included are excerpts from Brigitte Fontaine et Areski’s legendary song “Lettre à Monsieur le Chef de gare de la Tour de Carol”, as well as astringent electric guitar solos, possibly by Noël Akchoté. You can listen to this wonderful track here. The other tracks are closer to turntablism and plunderphonics.

01 Chef De Gare (5:34)
02 Pohskorw (4:16)
03 Nimteuq (2:57)

Total time 12:47
7-inch released by Rectangle, ref. REC# RRXG2, France, 1999


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Various ‎– Trying To Make It To The End Of The Century

Various ‎– Trying To Make It To The End Of The Century LP front cover
Various ‎– Trying To Make It To The End Of The Century LP back cover
Various ‎– Trying To Make It To The End Of The Century LP lyrics
Various ‎– Trying To Make It To The End Of The Century LP cara A

G3G Records was founded in 1989 in Barcelona by 3 people including Raeo bass player Gat. They published many Pascal Comelade records as well as releases by Macromassa, Juan Crek, Victor Nubla or Raeo, and the famous Tarot 7 inch series. G3G’s first compilation, Trying To Make It To The End Of The Century, published in 1991, is a succession of spoken word tracks and rock songs or instrumentals. There’s a certain film noir mood throughout the album thanks to dark, urban rhythms and grim, almost risqué texts – or equivocados, as Emilio Cubeiro puts it in the opening track, a brilliant, homoerotic 8mn narrative by Spanish poet Cubeiro, with cinematographic music by Raeo, the trio of Antón Ignorant, Gat, and Mark Cunningham, whose delicate trumpet playing is also heard on several other tracks like a dotted line across the LP. Another pièce de résistance is Lydia Lunch’s intense, intimate confessions titled Last Gasp with Spanish musicians providing appropriate background.

01 Emilio Y Los CulpablesI’m Fucking Innocent (8:03)
02 Fist Of FactsOne I Want (4:29)
03 Claude BessyUntitled Moment (:13)
04 Josh LazieComin Home (9:45)
05 Pascal ComeladeDos Horas De Two Ojos I (1:11)
06 Lydia LunchLast Gasp (4:27)
07 ABT 409Hund (6:00)
08 Claude BessyLes Amis (:37)
09 RaeoThe Mummy Awakes (6:45)
10 Claude BessyYo No Soy Hemingway (:57)
11 Pascal ComeladeDos Horas De Two Ojos II (1:27)

Total time 44:00
LP released by G3G, Spain, 1991


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The Lo Yo Yo – Extra Weapons

The Lo Yo Yo - Extra Weapons LP front cover
The Lo Yo Yo - Extra Weapons LP back cover
The Lo Yo Yo - Extra Weapons LP side 1

British band The Lo Yo Yo was founded by Family Fodder frontman John Pearce, aka Alig, in 1984 [a good place to start with Family Fodder, is the Savoir Faire culinary anthem]. The Lo Yo Yo was active for 2 years and released one cassette, one split cassette with Look De Book, one full-length LP and appeared on the Local International 15-26 compilation cassette on Recommended. The band’s name comes from a Captain Beefheart song titled Low Yo Yo Stuff on the 1972 Clear Spot LP. In an interview with Ed Pinsent, John Pearce simplistically described The Lo Yo Yo as “a sort of cooperative group with two girls and two guys, […] touring around Europe a lot until about 1986.” (The Sound Projector issue #1, 1996). The Lo Yo Yo’s line-up was actually more varied and included, along 10 or so other musicians, various Family Fodder members like Mick Hobbs, Felix Fiedorowicz and Rick Wilson. All three also played in The Work and Officer!, sometimes with Pearce himself. Charles Bullen of This Heat occasionally played drums with Family Fodder and co-produced The Lo Yo Yo’s unique LP, Extra Weapons, in 1985.

Pearce’s punchy bass playing and Carrie (Caroline) Brooks’ post-punk drumming form the backbone of The Lo Yo Yo sound, complete with singer Annie Hunt and Mick Hobbs’ guitar. At times, this rhythm section has the band appear like a dub+rock fusion with occasional flexible, bouncing reggae touches – characteristics also present in Family Fodder. Singer Annie Hunt’s playful vocals and the songs’ inventive arrangements evoke punk influences from bands like Rubella Ballet, Hagar The Womb or The Slits. Track #7, China Blue, is based on a pseudo-medieval harmony which wouldn’t be out of place on an Officer! song. The instrumentation is varied with synthesizer, saxophone, glockenspiel.

01 Bad Intentions (5:13)
02 All The Atrocities (4:42)
03 I Can Hold My Own Hand (4:12)
04 Learning To Fly (4:46)
05 Petroleum (5:23)
06 More To Come (3:20)
07 China Blue (3:17)
08 Cache-Cache (4:09)
09 You Never Know (2:28)
10 Cog (3:12)
11 The History Of Weaponry (5:19)

Alig (John Pearce), bass, guitar, percussion, vocals
Annie Hunt, cello, glockenspiel
Carrie Brooks, drums, percussion
Joey Stack, vocals, keyboards, bass
Mick Hobbs, guitar, percussion
Steve Wright, bass, guitar, percussion
Leo Kelly, harmony (Atrocities)
Bob Vanderbob, saxophone, whistle
Rick Wilson, percussion

Total time 46:00
LP released by Floppy Discs, London, UK, 1985


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The Lo Yo Yo discography:
1984 self titled cassette, Calypso Now, ref. C-4
1984 Double Dog Dare, with Look De Bouk, cassette, Calypso Now
1985 Extra Weapons, LP, Floppy Discs
1985 The History Of Weapons incl. in Various – Local International 15-26, cassette, Recommended Records

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Allen Ginsberg & Hobo Blues Band – Üvöltés

Allen Ginsberg & Hobo – Üvöltés LP front cover
Allen Ginsberg & Hobo – Üvöltés LP back cover
Allen Ginsberg & Hobo – Üvöltés LP side A

A self-proclaimed Communist and homosexual, U.S. poet Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) caused a stir in several Communist countries he visited (Czechoslovakia in 1965, Yugoslavia in 1980, China in 1984), to the extend of being expelled from Cuba in 1965. His visit in Hungary in 1980 went smoother and he could perform the poetry readings and meetings with political activists that were his usual diet while traveling abroad. In addition, Ginsberg performed and recorded the Üvöltés (Howl) LP with members of Hungarian Hobo Blues Band. A poet of the electronic age, Ginsberg appeared on a number of LPs and recordings as early as the 1970s – see great Ginsberg discography here.

This album is a collection of Ginsberg poems set to music. The opener Gospel Noble Truths and #6 Sickness Blues are sung in English, presumably by Ginsberg himself, who also plays harmonium on the latter. The rest of the 1st side is made of blues rock tracks with singer Földes László interpreting Hungarian translations of Ginsberg poems. The mood is quite varied, from the crepuscular #3 Guru Blues, a fine atmospheric song, to a regular Christmas song with children choir titled Come Back Christmas, while #5 Café in Warsaw is deliciously nostalgic. On the B-side, Földes reads excerpts from Carl Solomonért’s Hungarian translation of Howl with music accompaniment by Hobo Blues Band, a progressive build-up with electric organ, bass, and drums.

[Thanks to Goran for this one]

01 Gospel Noble Truths (4:35)
02 Tear Gas Rag [lyrics] (1:42)
03 Guru Blues (5:10)
04 Come Back Christmas (3:50)
05 Café in Warsaw (4:47)
06 Sickness Blues (5:03)
07 Howl (26:46)

Ginsberg Allen, vocals, Indian harmonium
Földes László, vocals, poetry
Döme Dezső, drums
Fuchs László, piano, el. organ, synthesizer, vocals
Póka Egon, bass, guitar, synthesizer, vocals
Tóth János Rudolf, guitar, violin, vocals

Total time 52:00
LP released by Krem/Hungaroton, Hungary, 1987


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Leven Signs – Hemp Is Here

Leven Signs – Hemp Is Here, cassette cover
Leven Signs – Hemp Is Here, side A

Leven Signs were a duo from London composed of Maggi Turner and Peter Karkut. Their unique release was the Hemp Is Here cassette published on Robert Cox’s label Unlikely in 1985 (on Unlikely, see here), reissued in a slightly different version on Cordelia that same year with different track order, omitted and new tracks (on Cordelia, see here). In 1986, Alan Jenkins also included a track from this album on Volume 2 of his Obscure Independent Classics series on Cordelia.

Leven Signs belong to that British breed of avant-synth/new wave experimentalism including the Flying Lizards or General Strike – i.e. bands regurgitating their ethnic, ambient, new wave, avantgarde and systems musics influences into a highly creative musical hotchpotch where each song is a sonic playground crammed with musical ideas. Thanks to a choice of synth sounds emulating acoustic instruments like percussion, organ or flute, as well as Turner’s ethereal vocals, Leven Signs’ music has a timeless quality, something further exacerbated by the many Medieval touches in melody and rhythms – some tracks indeed sound like an electronic version of Officer‘s Kalenda Maya. Sequencer programming, synth playing and drum machine are brilliantly taken care of by Peter Karkut, while Maggi Turner is on vocals.

01 This Motion Will Never Stop (5:32)
02 Iraj 11 (3:15)
03 La Luna (5:24)
04 Sedes Sapientiae (3:57)
05 Drain Melsh (7:14)
06 Held In Arms (3:29)
07 Carry The Torch (3:13)
08 Morse Message (1:31)
09 This Inner Space (3:32)
10 Rumi (3:38)
11 Das Seal (4:02)

Total time 44:45
Cassette released by Unlikely, ref. URT90, UK, 1985


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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]

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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”

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