domingo, 31 de mayo de 2009

Dragonfly - Dragonfly (1982)

Here is an interesting little nugget form Switzerland. The fact that it was released in 1982 makes it even more fascinating. It owes almost nothing to the sounds of the time. I could say that this was recorded in the mid '70s, and no one would be the wiser. It is a unique blend of classic arena rock, British style keyboards, and a touch of euro-pop balladry. Imagine Rush meets Yes, gets a visit from Deep Purple, and melt cheese on the top.

When these guys are good, they are fantastic. The instrumentals are some of the best prog has to offer. The problems start with the vocals. Perhaps it would have been better in their native language. The accent is sometimes a bit thick. This also could explain problems with lyrical content. The content absolutely makes me cringe at times. Coupled with a very sugary melody on "You Know my Ways," I am in fear of going into a diabetic coma (or at least gagging). If you can stand it, it's actually good for a laugh. "Willing and Ready to Face It" is as cheesy as formula rockers come (this could be where Europe got its inspiration).

There are some good rockers. "Behind the Spider's Web" would make the Scorpions pack up and go home. "Shellycoat" is well-executed little medieval folk piece, and lets you know that there is some depth to this band. As you would expect, the real strength is in the epic tracks. "Dragonfly," and "The Riddle Princess," have all those elements that I love about '70s style symphonic prog. These guys deliver the goods too. They have what it takes to pull this kind of thing off, and don't sound like they are copying anyone else.

In the end I am of two minds about this album. The good tracks are great, but the lesser moments are really poor. Thankfully, There is much more to love than to throw away. It's too bad they just didn't release a shorter album. It could have been a classic. So, is it essential? The answer is no. There is no need to seek this one out. However, if you do happen to run across it, definitely pick it up.

(C) ProgArchives

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Behind the spider's web (5:08)
2. Shellycoat (7:08)
3. You know my ways ( I belong to you) (3:49)
4. Willing and ready to face it all (5:15)
5. Dragonfly (18:27)
Bonus tracks on cd release:
6. Humdinger (7:02)
7. The riddle princess (15:41)

Total Time: 62:30

Line-up / Musicians
- René Bühler / lead vocal, percussion
- Markus Husi / keyboards
- Marcel Ege / guitars
- Klaus Moennig / bass, Taurus bass pedals, backing vocals
- Beat Bösiger / drums
- Patrick Baumgartner / bass on 6

Cómpralo / Get it:

- Musea Records
- Amazon
- Chapitre
- i-Music
- JPC - Your Global Music Player
- SoundUnwound

Read group profile at / Ver ficha de este grupo en Manticornio

El disco de vinilo regresa, muerte al CD


En el último Pop Kom de Berlín, celebrado casi a finales del año pasado, han anunciado a bombo y platillo la intención de que se edite de nuevo en vinilo y hacer desaparecer el CD. Es una involución, pero es así, tan sólo se publicarán archivos mp3 para las descargas legales, a móviles y demás, pero el formato principal va a volver a ser el vinilo de toda la vida.

Las razones son variadas: el declive del cd, un soporte sin valor real en los tiempos de las descargas virtuales y los reproductores mp3, la belleza de las portadas, de los libretos interiores, del diseño que siempre acompaña al vinilo y que lo convierte en un objeto de culto, casi en un fragmento de arte para los coleccionistas y los amantes de la música...

Ya lo veía venir, en vista de las bajadas de ventas de CDs en todos los paises del mundo y es de esperar que la medida, lejos de inquietar a los aficionados, signifique una toma de conciencia sobre el problema real de la piratería. Ahora hay que concienciarse de volver a tener un tocadiscos como los de antes, o con conexión USB como existen en la actualidad para enchufar a tu ordenador, pero lo que sería aconsejable es que los fabricantes de las principales marcas de sistemas de audio lo asuman en lugar de pedir peras al olmo.

"Vale que es menos cómodo que cualquier otro formato, pero el nivel de agudos y la dinámica de un vinilo, no los supera ni el propio CD. Y ni que decir tiene que el encanto de poner un disco, con su sonido a huevo frito de fondo, es algo impagable." (Ícaro, foro de Azul y Negro)

"El gran problema del CD es que precisa una óptica y una mecánica, que si bien se ha abaratado mucho, implica un alto nivel de precisión en su fabricación y ajuste, además de su tamaño. Lo mismo ocurre con los platos giradiscos, que no creo vuelvan al gran público.

En mi opinión el futuro de la música es, como el presente, digital. Podrás comprar el último "disco" (mejor llamarlo "trabajo") de tu artista favorito en una memoria directa para pinchar en tu equipo de música, posiblemente en USB. Dichas memorias contendrán otros contenidos multimedia incluso softwares específicos con accesos exclusivos a internet y casi seguro un formato de protección para, inicialmente y hasta que le pillen el truco, evitar las copias ilegales.

Finalmente, en coexistencia con todo esto, supongo que acabará el formato físico (sea cual sea), reducido al ámbito coleccionista y la música se convertirá en 1 y 0 que se descargarán desde las páginas de las discográficas en un formato de mayor calidad que el MP3 y tambien protegido de copias ilegales (inicialmente...). Habrán eliminado los intermediarios y las grandes multinacionales venderán sus productos directamente, ahorrandose distribución, maquetación, comisiones varias... todo será beneficio..."
(Franmmy, foro de Azul y Negro)

Yo, por contra, soy de los que prefieren que vuelva el vinilo y con él toda la buena música de su época y la que esté por venir. Por suerte, aún tengo varios equipos con su correspondiente plató y mi colección de vinilos no se echará a perder. El acto ceremonial de sacar el disco de su correspondiente funda, colocarlo con cuidado y sin tocar con los dedos la superficie de los surcos sobre la bandeja del tocadiscos, levantar la aguja y ponerla con suavidad sobre el inicio del vinilo para empezar su escucha será moneda común, no solo de los coleccionistas, sino de los demás usuarios, en cuanto vean que no hay más remedio. Y desde luego, no hay mal que por bien no venga.

Ahora es cuestión de tiempo de que se materialice por completo este resurgimiento, que no resurrección, de este formato legendario. Aunque es de esperar algunas reacciones en contra por parte de determinados artistas, discográficas y organismos que se consideren "progres" queriendo defender a toda costa el valor y la calidad del cd, por desgracia un formato infravalorado en los últimos tiempos.

Eso sí, que no me vendan un LP por más de lo que cuesta actualmente un CD. Lo razonable es entre 10 y 15 euros y la mitad para los discos sencillos, en caso de que vuelvan a editarse.



Otras referencias, tanto recientes como más actuales:

- Diario ABC
- ElPais.com
- Diario SUR (Hoy Tecnologia)
- Diario El Mundo
- Diario 20 Minutos
- El Correo Digital
- CincoDias.com
- Deia
- La Voz de Galicia
- Diario de León
- Actualidad Digital (Suplemento PeriodistaDigital)
- La Radio de los Blogueros (Blog del diario ABC de Sevilla)
- Diario Vasco
- Campaña de FNAC a favor del vinilo

Various Artists - 16 British Top Hits of the 60's

This is a classic rock compilation with some of Immediate Records label artists which recorded their 60's hits related in the following track list.

Immediate Records was a British record label, started in 1965 by The Rolling Stones manager, Andrew Loog Oldham and Tony Calder concentrating on the London-based blues and R&B scene. Signed musicians included Rod Stewart, P. P. Arnold, Billy Nicholls, John Mayall, Savoy Brown, The Small Faces, The Nice, Fleetwood Mac, The Groundhogs, Chris Farlowe, Duncan Browne and Humble Pie. There is evidence of recordings of two Mike d'Abo songs 'Little Miss Understood' and 'So Much to Say (So Little Time)' from The Immediate Singles Collection (1985; CCSCD 102), a compilation of Immediate Record's hits (including the rare cut 'Someone's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked in Tonite' [sic] by the Jeremy Spencer-fronted configuration Earl Vince and the Valiants. The song was used as a B-side to Fleetwood Mac's 'Man of the World').

Due to financial problems the label stopped in 1970 and it has been the subject of controversy ever since. This is especially true in regard to unpaid royalties owing to The Small Faces, who made numerous hit recordings for the label between 1967 and 1969. Despite their success, the band received virtually no income from these often re-released records, until legal action finally secured payments from the present licencees in the early 2000s.

According to Small Faces drummer Kenney Jones, most of Immediate's assets and income were embezzled by one of the company's senior partners, who allegedly channelled the funds to offshore bank accounts.

In the U.S., Immediate first set up a deal with MGM Records, who issued three singles (033 - Chris Farlowe, 035 and 036-both Twice As Much) as part of the regular MGM series. Then Immediate set up a short-lived deal with United Artists, who issued two singles (047-P.P. Arnold, 050-Small Faces) as E-1901 and E-1902, using the Immediate moniker. Then Immediate signed a deal with CBS to set up a new label series, which picked selective Immediate singles and albums until they had a falling-out. Finally, Immediate set up a short-lived independent label in the U.S. to issue one single (082) and the last Nice album before the label went out of business.

Track Listing:

01. Small Faces - Here Comes The Night
02. Chris Farlowe - Out Of Time (Jagger / Richards)
03. P. P. Arnold - Angel Of The Morning
04. Humble Pie - Natural Born Boogie
05. Amen Corner - Half As Nice
06. The Nice - America
07. John Mayall - I'm Your Witchdoctor
08. Small Faces - Tin Soldier (live)
09. Small Faces - Itchycoo Park
10. P. P. Arnold - The First Cut is the Deepest
11. Twice As Much - Sitting On A Fence
12. Amen Corner - Hello Susie
13. Fleetwood Mac - Man Of The World
14. The Nice - The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack
15. Chris Farlowe - Handbags And Gladrags
16. Small Faces - Lazy Sunday


Only found here:

- 9-Sky (in Japanese): Main shop - Listen it on-line

- Wikipedia

Dare - Belief (2001)

Darren Wharton linked up with Thin Lizzy just as their downward spiral began, a decline that can't be laid at the then-17-year-old keyboardist/backing vocalist's door. Wharton loyally remained with the group until the bitter end, forming his own band, Dare, only after Phil Lynott's untimely death. The group's 1987 debut, "Out of the Silence", and its follow-up, 1991's "Blood from Stone", were both well received; however, a label shakeup left the band out in the cold. Wharton moved to Wales to consider his future, then joined the re-formed Lizzy in 1994.

The years passed, and it wasn't until the new millennium that the singing keyboardist put together the new look and new sound of Dare. "Belief" arrived in 2002, with Beneath the Shining Water emerging two years later. It was six years before the two albums were given an American release, when they were picked and paired on a two-CD set by Rock Ridge. It was a sensible move, as both titles were very much cut from the same cloth — misty rock with a Celtic flair.

"Falling" is arguably the closest Dare get on either set to pop/rock in an almost classic mode, with both albums instead dominated by midtempo rockers and keyboard-lit ballads. On "Belief", it's the title track that's the arena showstopper, a lighter-in-the-air sway-along, sent soaring by Steve Ricard's incendiary guitar solos. "Beneath the Shining Water" features a clutch of such anthems, including the set-opening "Sea of Roses," the U2-tinged "The Battles That You've Won," the triumphant "Where Darkness Ends," and the haunting, guitar-swept "Storm Wind." While this set contained the stronger rockers, Belief boasts the prettier ballads, with the best of the batch the lovely "Phoenix" and the keyboard and acoustic guitar-led "Take Me Away." However, the copious arrangements, full-blown productions, and misty atmospheres that infest both sets eventually begin to dull the senses, and give the songs a rather samey feel, emphasized by the lack of any real dynamics.

The music is certainly sumptuous, but a bit overly rich in one sitting, and one wishes Dare would dare to mix up their sound a bit more. (C) AllMusic.com

LINKS:

Listen this album online with Spotify

Dare official site

PURCHASE:

- Amazon
- CD Universe
- Go-Music
- 7-Digital ES
- 7-Digital UK

Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass (2006)

After the elegant, introspective romantic narratives of And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out and the beautifully crafted but restrained pop textures of Summer Sun, it was hard not to wonder if Yo La Tengo was ever going to turn up the amps and let Ira Kaplan go nuts on guitar again. For more than a few fans "Pass the Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind," the opening cut from YLT's 2006 album I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass, will feel like the reassuring sound of a homecoming — ten minutes of noisy six-string freak-out, with James McNew's thick, malleable basslines and Georgia Hubley's simple but subtly funky drumming providing a rock-solid framework for Kaplan's enthusiastic fret abuse.

After the thematic and sonic consistency of their previous two major albums, I Am Not Afraid marks a return to the joyous eclecticism of 1997's I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One, though nearly ten years down the road Yo La Tengo sounds noticeably more confident in their embrace of different styles and less hesitant in their technique on this album — even Kaplan's gloriously unkempt guitar solos start to suggest a certain degree of well-earned professionalism.

The songs also sound a shade less playful and more disciplined, though the group's ability to bring their distinct personality to so many different styles attests to their continuing love of this music and the quiet strength of their vision — the neo-Byrds-ian psychedelia of "The Race Is on Again," the homey horn-punctuated pop of "Beanbag Chair," the plaintive folk-rock on "Black Flowers," the aggressive Farfisa-fueled minimalisms of "The Room Got Heavy," and "Daphina," which suggests a John Fahey track transcribed to piano and then used as the root for a eight-minute exercise in low-key atmospherics, all function on a different level and each one satisfies.

What's both engaging and impressive about I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass is that, as usual, these 15 songs always end up sounding like Yo La Tengo, whether they're upbeat guitar pop or dense loop-based drones, and if there's a bit less childlike élan here than in the past, there's also an intelligence and joy that confirms Yo La Tengo is still one of the great treasures of American indie rock, and they haven't run out of ideas or the desire to make them flesh in the studio just yet.

(C) AllMusic.com

Tracklist:

01. Pass The Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind
02. Beanbag Chair
03. I Feel Like Going Home
04. Mr. Tough
05. Black Flowers
06. The Race Is On Again
07. The Room Got Heavy
08. Sometimes I Don't Get You
09. Daphnia
10. I Should Have Known Better
11. Watch Out For Me Ronnie
12. The Weakest Part
13. Song For Mahila
14. Point And Shoot
15. The Story Of Yo La Tango

Listen it online with Spotify

Buy it:

- Amazon
- Price Minister
- CD Universe
- 7-Digital ES

sábado, 30 de mayo de 2009

Camel - The Snow Goose (1975)

El tercer álbum de la banda, y el primero completamente conceptual (posteriormente, realizarían en esta onda "Nude" y "Harbour Of Tears"), con el que realmente estableció un estátus de reconocimiento para Camel que no habían conseguido con sus anteriores trabajos. La base para su construcción partió de la idea del grupo de crear un disco que estuviera influenciado o basado en una obra literaria de gran repercusión, tras el relativo éxito conseguido con la suite de "El Jinete Blanco" (The White Rider), basado en el personaje de J. R. R. Tolkien para su famosísima trilogía "El Señor de los Anillos", editado en el anterior disco "Mirage".

Andy Latimer y Doug Ferguson tenían predilección por realizar un disco sobre unos textos del escritor Paul Gallico, votando por reconstruir musicalmente hablando la obra que ellos habían elegido, "The Snow Goose", mientras que el teclista Peter Bardens había puesto su voto a la obra literaria de Steppen Wolf. Se decidió finalmente por Gallico. El riesgo asumido para la puesta en marcha del proyecto se había hecho y solo quedaba trabajar en la idea musical, mientras que desde la compañía y su representante harían lo propio por conseguir el beneplácito y el permiso del escritor.

Las negociaciones con el escritor fueron infructuosas, aun cuando se pretendía conseguir que Gallico escribiera unas notas para el álbum y se permitiera usar el nombre de su novela en él. Finalmente, se consiguió que el título completo del nuevo disco tuviese la coletilla "Music inspired by", como reza en el diseño de su portada, tanto en el formato original LP como en las consecuentes ediciones en CD. Gallico llegó incluso a demandar al grupo por infracción del copyright, cuando aún el álbum estaba todavía en su fase de producción, pero retiró su demanda al tiempo que se decidió añadir dicha frase en el encabezamiento de la portada.

Por aquél entonces, Camel había pertenecido al sello Deram bajo el cual se hizo realidad la publicación de su segundo disco "Mirage", un disco que bien mirado y escuchado a fondo, era bastante notable y del cual se aprecia mucho uno los temas que más veces se ha llevado a los conciertos en vivo, "Lady Fantasy". Tan pronto como habían concluido el nuevo trabajo, tras varios meses de ensayos y otros tantos de producción en los estudios de grabación, se publicó en el sello principal del grupo Decca, con el número de catálogo SKL-R 5207 (en el Reino Unido) en el mes de abril de 1975. Al mes siguiente, el disco había conseguido entrar en la lista de los 50 discos más vendidos en el pais británico, permaneciendo dentro de esa lista durante 13 semanas, consiguiendo alcanzar el puesto 22 en tierras inglesas. No obstante, en los Estados Unidos no consiguió tanta repercusión.

Las críticas no fueron realmente amables al principio, y apenas consiguió tener alguna difusión en las emisoras de radio por el formato publicado, hasta que apareció el primer single "Flight of the Snow Goose / Rhayader", que ayudó por fin a la promoción del álbum. Al poco tiempo, se publicaría un segundo sencillo "The Snow Goose / Freefall", conteniendo uno de los fragmentos del disco más reconocidos por la audiencia en su cara A y con el cual Camel comenzaría a ser respetado por buena parte de la prensa especializada.

Camel se llevó el Disco de Oro por las excelentes ventas conseguidas. En su producción participó el compositor y musicólogo David Bedford (muy conocido en otros menesteres como acompañante en el Whole World de Kevin Ayers y también como colaborador y amigo de Mike Oldfield en algunos de sus discos, y siendo correspondido también por Oldfield para sus trabajos "Nurses Song with Elephants", "Star's End", "The Oddyssey", "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" e "Instructions For Angels") en los arreglos orquestales.

Manticornio escribe acerca de la sinopsis del disco: Pocas veces he escuchado un álbum concepto cuya elocuencia con la historia haya sido tan bien representada. En síntesis, la historia trata sobre un hombre maltrecho, Rhayader, que tras su joroba, y brazo como garra de ave, esconde un gran amor por la vida. El segundo personaje principal es Fritha, una adolescente que descubre a la persona real detrás de un físico de pesadilla. Rhayader vive en un Faro y sólo va al pueblo más cercano cuando no hay otra opción. Él dedica su tiempo a cuidar las aves de la zona. Precisamente por esa realidad es que Fritha va a buscarlo: porque le dijeron que Rhayader podía curar al ave que Fritha había encontrado herida. El ave es, como habrás supuesto bien, un ganso. Pero no era cualquier ganso. En Inglaterra (lugar donde se desenvuelve esta historia) se conoce como Snow Goose, pero resulta extraño que haya estado por allí, pues el ganso es canadiense. En fin, que Rhayader lo cuida y Fritha lo visita sólo mientras vive cerca del faro. La historia se desenvuelve a través de los descubrimientos afectivos que se dan por esas visitas de Fritha al ave, mientras Rhayader cultiva en silencio lo que poco a poco va sembrando en la pequeña niña.







Tracklisting:

1. The Great Marsh (2:02)
2. Rhayader (3:01)
3. Rhayader Goes To Town (5:20)
4. Sanctuary (1:05)
5. Fritha (1:19)
6. The Snow Goose (3:12)
7. Friendship (1:44)
8. Migration (2:01)
9. Rhayader Alone (1:50)
10. Flight Of The Snow Goose (2:40)
11. Preparation (3:58)
12. Dunkirk (5:19)
13. Epitaph (2:07)
14. Fritha Alone (1:40)
15. La Princesse Perdue (4:44)
16. The Great Marsh (1:20)

Total Time: 43:22

Bonus tracks on Decca remaster (2002):
17. Flight of The Snow Goose (single edit) (2:05)
18. Rhayader (single edit) (3:09)
19. Flight Of The Snow Goose (alternate single edit) (2:49)
20. Rhayader Goes To Town (Live 10-30-1974) (5:07)
21. The Snow Goose / Freefall (Live 10-30-1974) (11:01)

As with "Moonmadness", a Deluxe Edition has been released in a 2-CD nice pack, available at the well-known retailers and sellers, via online or at your local music stores.

Line-up / Musicians
- Andy Ward / drums, percussion, vibes
- Doug Ferguson / bass, duffle coat
- Peter Bardens / organ, Minimoog, acoustic & electric pianos, pipe organ, ARP Odyssey
- Andy Latimer / electric, acoustic & slide guitars, flute, vocals

Listen it via Spotify

Get it legally:

- Amazon USA (2002 Remastered)
- Amazon UK
- CD Universe
- Inside Out shop
- Record Shop X (Deluxe Edition)
- Ciao ES
- 7-Digital UK
- 7-Digital ES

Camel - Moon Madness (1976)

This album was where Camel really came of age. From the first notes of "Aristillus", a brief but striking instrumental, the attention of the listener is caught.

The well worn criticism of Camel's vocal capabilities can undoubtedly be applied to "Moonmadness". After "Snowgoose" however, another instrumental album would perhaps have appeared indulgent, and would certainly have implied that the band accepted the criticism, giving up on the vocals altogether. Without wishing to labour the point, the vocals are indeed the weak point, but not to the extent that they spoil the album.

In any case, Camel's instrumental prowess is still very much to the fore here. The excellent closing track "Lunar Sea" (Lunacy = Moon Madness, get it?) for example is entirely instrumental, with slightly more jazz leanings than on previous albums but still very much in the symphonic prog vein. There isn't a weak track on the album, but my personal favourites are "Air Born" with it's dramatic pauses and soaring finale, and "Chord change" A remastered version of the album is now available, with a number of bonus tracks, although none of these can be considered essential.

Footnote, "Moonmadness" was originally was intended to be a concept album based around the personalities of the band members (musically if not lyrically). Andy Latimer was "Airborn", Andy Ward was "Lunar Sea" Peter Bardens was "Chord Change" and Doug Ferguson was "Another Night".

(C) ProgArchives







Tracklisting:

01. Aristillus (instrumental)
02. Song Within A Song
03. Chord Change (instrumental)
04. Spirit Of The Water
05. Another Night
06. Air Born
07. Lunar Sea (instrumental)

Bonus tracks:

08. Another Night [Single Version]
09. Spirit of the Water [Demo Version]
10. Song Within a Song
11. Lunar Sea
12. Preparation/Dunkirk

All these three last tracks were recorded live at Hammersmith Odeon, London 14th April 1976.

Recently this year has been released a Deluxe Edition 2-CD pack, in jewelled cardboard gatefold case, including the previous tracklisting and two first bonus tracks plus "Lunar Sea" as a B-side from "Another Night" single, taken from recorded live at Hammersmith Odeon 1976 concert, while the second CD contains a full live concert from that event:

01. Song Within A Song
02. Excerpts From The Snow Goose
03. Air Born
04. Chord Change
05. The White Rider
06. Preparation / Dunkirk
07. Another Night
08. Lady Fantasy.

Listen it via Spotify

Get it legally:

- Amazon
- CD Universe
- MP3 City
- 7-Digital UK
- 7-Digital ES
- mp3va.com

The Bell Is Back (London, June 6th 2009)


Para celebrar el relanzamiento de Tubular Bells, Mercury Records está preparando un evento especial para el 6 de Junio en el British Music Experience en el O2 de Londres. El espectáculo contará con un numeroso conjunto de tocadores de campanas del Reino Unido más un set de Orbular Bells proporcionado por el grupo de música electrónica The Orb.

Habrá incluso talleres relacionados con el tañido de campanas, concursos y más.

Dicho evento comenzará a partir de las 2 de la tarde, hasta las seis, y la admisión será de 12 Libras esterlinas para los adultos, 12 Libras para los expositores, mientras que los niños podrán entrar gratis. Más detalles en la nota de prensa.

######


To celebrate the re-release of Tubular Bells, Mercury Records is holding a special event on June 6th at the British Music Experience at the O2 in London.

The event will feature the 29 piece Handbell Ringers of Great Britain and an Orbular Bells DJ set by The Orb.

There will also be bell ringing workshops, competitions and more!

The event will be from 2 until 6pm and admission is £15 for adults, £12 concessions and children go free (details in the press release).

Fuente / Source: tubular.net

viernes, 29 de mayo de 2009

Mike Oldfield - Los Conciertos de Popgrama (1979)



Documento histórico de los archivos de TVE, rescatado recientemente, hace ya unos cuantos años, para el ya extinto canal temático Nostalgia y posteriormente subido a Internet con una más que aceptable calidad de imagen, mientras que el sonido es realmente excepcional. Se trata de la emisión realizada para el espacio "Los Conciertos de Popgrama" del año 1979, conteniendo un fragmento del concierto realizado por Mike Oldfield en Madrid con motivo de su "Exposed" European Tour. Este fragmento consiste únicamente en la interpretación del "Tubular Bells" al completo -pero editado para que la emisión tuviese una más que estricta media hora de duración-, con la instrumentación a la que me habré referido con anterioridad en el blog.

Se añaden a las imágenes del concierto otras de corte paisajista, una de las finuras televisivas de la época. Muy recomendable para todos los fans del músico inglés.

Por cierto, la sintonía del programa proviene del tema "Preludi I Record" del grupo de rock/fusión catalán Iceberg, incluido en su álbum "Coses Nostres". Ahí queda el dato. ;)

Sobre el programa en cuestión, no hay muchos datos en Internet, pero sí es verdad que empezó a emitirse en la segunda cadena de TVE como "Popgrama" a partir de 1977, gracias a uno de los gurús musicales del momento, el simpar periodista Carlos Tena, junto con otro de los expertos del momento, Diego A. Manrique. Se mantuvo en antena hasta entrados 1981. (Ver ficha IMDb)

Who knows?

¿Quién puede saber o reconocer alguna de estas canciones? Las encontré y grabé en cinta desde algunas emisoras de radio (sin locutor) y en un canal de audio de la televisión por cable hace años y desde entonces hasta ahora no he podido averiguar nada al respecto. Los instrumentales, sobre todo si son de los años 60, son los más difíciles de situar, pero ¿quién sabe?

Who can know or find out any of the following songs? I recorded them on tapes from radio stations and one cable television audio-channel several years ago. Since then I couldn't figure anything about them. Instrumental tracks, as recorded in the 60's, are the most hazardous to realise, but who knows?

01: HOTLEGS - NEANDERTHAL MAN (1970) - Confirmed!

Video on YouTube

Hotlegs was a short-lived English band best known for its hit single "Neanderthal Man" in 1970. The band consisted of Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley, Lol Creme and – briefly – Graham Gouldman. In 1972 the band was relaunched as 10cc.

I swear it, I've never known they were responsible of this song.

02: Blues song from Sixties. Maybe Muddy Waters, but I can be wrong.

03: 60's pop instrumental, quite rhythmical.

04: Song "Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean", but female singer isn't easy to averiguate, not even using Internet searches.

Possible singers: Ruth Brown (another clip), Grace Knight, Susan Tedeschi, Sarah Vaughan, Koko Taylor, Lita Roza... but none seems to be like the previewed one. Big Maybelle, Bette Anne Steele, Dinning Sisters, Marva Wright and Mitty Collier are other options but no music archives to check them out were found.

05: 60's Reggae song.

06: 60's Pop Instrumental.

07: VIC DAMONE - DON'T LET ME GO (Live) - confirmed!</a<

Listen it clearly here:
Deezer

08: 60's - unknown

09: 60's - unknown

10: ¿Singer? - BALTIMORE (?)

11: French song (?)

12: 60's - unknown

13: 60's Reggae song - instrumental.

14: 60's - unknown

15: 60's Pop Instrumental.

Gracias por cualquier ayuda prestada. / Thank you for any good help.

jueves, 28 de mayo de 2009

Mike Oldfield - Mike Oldfield's Single (Promo especial)







De la lista Taurus IV ha salido este videoclip en forma de promocional con un extracto del tema "Mike Oldfield's Single" llamado así por ser el nombre del primer tema oficial compuesto por Mike Oldfield para su primer single en toda su carrera, quitando el single promocional del Tubular Bells realizado en Norteamérica en el que solo habían extractos del LP. Prácticamente ya se sabe cómo va a sonar la remezcla 5.1 de esta canción que estará presente en muchas de las ediciones especiales que Mercury / Universal están ultimando para poner a la venta a partir del mes que viene (no sé cómo lo han hecho los chavales de Taurus IV -deben tener algún enchufe o un padrino en la discográfica-, pero ahí está) y esto es un regalo para los oidos.

El tema, para entendernos, es un arreglo más melódico, acústico, pastoral y emotivo de una sección de la Segunda Parte de la obra más reconocida de Mike, precisamente la que comienza a partir del minutaje 8:49. Originariamente editado en 1974 para secundar la promoción del LP Tubular Bells, el single salió al mercado junto con un tema "folkie", un arreglo de una cancioncilla medio populachera titulada "Froggy Went A-Courting", en su cara B, donde Mike Oldfield lleva también las riendas en la parte vocal, a modo de recitativo, junto con Bridget St. John como vocalista acompañante. De esta canción hay dos mezclas distintas, una aparecida en la edición inglesa original y otra en el resto de ediciones (no está comprobado en todos, pero tengo al menos una edición española en la que fijarme) donde hay un intercambio de frases entre Mike y Bridget en algunas secciones de la canción. Pero voy a hablar solamente de la cara A de este single (o cara B en alguna edición extranjera).

Se puede comparar el sonido de este primer video con el de este otro:







La fuente de este clip es claramente del vinilo original y se perciben en él todas las características propias de su montaje final, además de oir íntegramente la canción. Pues si así suena en su edición de 1974, ¿cómo va a oirse en la nueva e inminente reedición de este año? Pues a la prueba de antes me remito.

miércoles, 27 de mayo de 2009

Azul y Negro en televisión - Me Estoy Volviendo Loco (TVE, 27-5-2009)







Hace ya muchos años desde que la música de Azul y Negro se paseó por la vuelta ciclista a España y ha sido recuperarles para el programa que se emite en horario de "prime time" de TVE "Los Mejores Años de Nuestra Vida" que me pareció hasta un sueño hecho realidad. Ojalá esto no acabe aquí y que los medios de comunicación sepan de la nueva etapa de esta formación encabezada por el maestro Carlos Gª Vaso, sin menospreciar ni mucho menos su calidad tanto profesional como humana. Así que, productores televisivos, menos "triunfitos", festivales eurovisivos con sabor agridulce y procacidades insípidas y más meter a los grandes maestros de la música de siempre. Hay que reivindicar su regreso a los medios y más cuando hay un nuevo disco de Azul y Negro que lleva ya un tiempecito a la venta, como es "Déja-Vu" y el mismo Carlos anuncia desde su foro está preparando otro para salir o bien este año, o el siguiente.

Hay que dejar el pabellón bien alto y dejar de lado las tendencias rastreras de la industria discográfica, que solo son capaces de ofrecer más basura y simplicidad frente a la calidad, emotividad y creatividad de otras décadas. Cualquier tiempo pasado fue mejor.

Y que no decaiga.

Para ver el programa al completo: RTVE a la carta

martes, 26 de mayo de 2009

Record Information Services

Many people would be pleased to me, but firstly to John Stuart, as the man in charge for the distribution and sale of Paul Pelletier's Record Information Services catalogues. All are edited by same Paul and, undoubtly, they are invaluable to any serious record collector. The whole series has expanded over the years covering an amazing amount of UK labels. Each volume gives a brief label history and details of every release including withdrawn items, giving issue numbers + A & B sides and date of the issue.

Standard range cost 4,75 Sterling Pounds each. These titles come in two formats (A5 sized and in printed booklet, the most of the issues; A4 sized, the second format, is laser printed with ring bound). A new title, comprising British Bell Records label (from BLL 1000 to 1200 series) is also available.

Premium range is formed by two A5-sized printed booklets with laminated cover and costs 6.00 Sterling Pounds each. Both booklets are exclusively dedicated to Capitol (see image insert) and Decca catalogues.

Finally, another Premium Range in A4 format and 10.00 Pounds each, in solid print with laminated cover, contains a two-volume British Directory of Popular 78/45 rpm singles catalogue between 1950 and 1980

Any enquire for complementary information, issues details and requests must be done to John Stuart, 7 Ely Court, Wroughton, Swindon SN4 9JP (England, UK) and also via e-mail or phone.

lunes, 25 de mayo de 2009

Tangerine Dream - Force Majeure (1979)

What's that? You say that the planet is about to be destroyed to make way for an interstellar expressway, and I'm only allowed to bring ONE Tangerine Dream disc to Tralfamadore? Bummer.... Guess I'll have to learn to live without all my other TD CDs.... Do they have good pizza there?

If (perish the thought!) I were to be limited to a single recording from Tangerine Dream, FORCE MAJEURE would soon make the cut. Why does this 1979 release stand above its brethren in my esteem? Well, I've always been a big fan of band founder Edgar Froese's lead guitar work (indeed, when I saw the group live sometime in the early 90s, his axe-work was a definite highlight), and there is more guitar on FORCE MAJEURE than on most TD albums. Though guitar is not a mainstay of TD's synthesizer-dominated sound, it imparts a vital human element and extra level of interest when it appears, and Froese is a subtle master of the instrument. Add to the equation the inclusion of a living, breathing, adept drummer in Klaus Krieger, plus some of the strongest writing yet from Froese and Franke, and you have a truly superlative session from these stalwart psychedelic synth sorcerers.

Each of the disc's three tracks is quite strong. The opening title piece is the longest, and starts off in a scary fashion, yet never sticks to a single mood or theme for too long. "Force Majeure" is as brilliant, cinematic, and varied a suite as any in TD's accomplished oeuvre, and, frankly, my all-time favourite composition from the band. There are sections of impressive power via soaring lead, contrasted with others of uplifting splendor, all woven together in a splendid whole. Krieger's drums are a particularly welcome and effective addition here.

The second and shortest track, "Cloudburst Flight," is also a winner. This one features a lovely, sensitive acoustic guitar opening section, that melds into a tour de force of driving synths, drums, and almost frantic lead, before ending on a very peaceful and evocatively beautiful note. The music well suits the title -- one can easily imagine a sudden, powerful storm that vents its fury upon a summer day, before it rolls away to leave the earth refreshed, and the air clear and clean. Brilliant!

The final number, "Through Metamorphic Rocks," is another longer suite, and pure vintage TD that delves through varied moods and soundscapes. There is more great lead guitar and drums, in a majestic opening section that segues into real horror soundtrack territory, replete with a synthesized night-black, hell-bound train, a gibbering madman (demon?), and howling wolves -- or could that be the baying of Cerberus? (I had this one playing last Halloween night -- shudder!)

FORCE MAJEURE is a terrific Tangerine Dream album, and quite simply their best, for my money. The material is superb, and the inclusion of drums and generous amounts of Froese's guitar makes this perhaps the most accessible TD disc for "mainstream" prog fans. A masterpiece of psychedelic progressive rock, without question -- highly recommended, indeed! On to Tralfamadore!

Tracks Listing

1. Force Majeure (18:18)
2. Cloudburst Flight (7:21)
3. Thru Metamorphic Rocks (14:15)

Total Time: 39:54

Recorded in 78 with a new introduction of acoustic instruments such as drums, cello, various guitars and flute. The track »Through metamorphic rocks« found its roots in the sudden malfunction of an out board piece of equipment. The malfunction occurred during the final mix and accidently became part of the song's basic structure.

Line-up / Musicians

- Edgar Froese / synthesizer, bass, guitar, composer, keyboards, producer, mixing
- Christopher Franke / keyboards
- Edgar Meyer / cello, engineer
- Klaus Kruger / drums

For Spotify users

LINKS OF INTEREST:

- Clear vinyl edition at Cover Art

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- Tower Records
- Play.com
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Tangerine Dream - Encore (1977)


The live album Encore represents historically and also musically speaking, a marking point in Tangerine Dream's discography. Not just for the reason that one of the most important members (or ex-members) of Tangerine Dream, Peter Baumann, left the formidable trio,but also the style further used has changed in many pointes of view.What follows in the next years,although does not seem at that much of a difference,is a new "wave" of Tangerine Dream (I'm strictly refering to the 1978-1986 period; what the next evolutionary period is even more departed). Not even the closest trio to this, Franke/Froese/Scmoelling, does not entirely reproduce the "tangerian rhythm" and other elements that maintain their greatness in the "Baumann" years. Encore is a tribute and a model "compilation"combining the best of Tangerine Dream in the 1972-1977 period. I cannot think of a better album to mark the ending of Baumann collaboration (vulgary speaking, because I still have sadness in my eyes because of his decision).

Encore is in every point of my view, making hundreds and hundreds of review practicly useless without this word, a masterpiece. Both a masterpiece of a live album (I don't care at all if the live material was re-sketched in the bathroom, it's still live material) and a masterpiece of a Tangerine Dream album also regarded in the same way. Flawless in every structure and untouchable in organization. The 70 minutes are a delight to listen, spotless every time and refreshing in the same time.

The four tracks: Cherokee Lane, Monolight, Coldwater Canyon and Desert Dream consume all there is creation and amplify it to infinite scopes. Every one of the four pieces express something else, sharing an rememorating parts of the wonderful and excellent albums that were made in the Baumann/Froese/Franke period: Phaedra (1974), Rubycon(1975), Ricochet(1975), Stratofear(1976) and Sorcerer (1977). Although many excerpts from these album are reminded and discovered through the pieces of Encore, for example, the most obvious excerpts are: the piano part from Ricochet, Part Two; the main theme from Stratofear; Main Theme from Sorcerer, plus improvised themes similar to darkened melodies from Phaedra or Rubycon (see Desert Dream); these are not "costing" more than 3 minutes and do not confer more than endings to a graduate Display of the main theme of the piece. So Encore is not a live performance of previous album, in order to promote them, but something with new sounds and new works, made to promote only him.

As for the "tangerian rhythm", he finds another exposition of him with this album, interpreted in such numerous forms, the counting is futile, and the technique is exceptional and masterliness, achieving such great hights in Cherokee Lane and Coldwater Canyon. And the Desert Dream piece that makes Encore integral, absolutely essential.

(C) ProgArchives.com

Tracklist:

1. Cherokee Lane (16:19)
2. Monolight (19:54)
3. Coldwater Canyon (18:06)
4. Desert Dream (17:30)

Total Time: 71:49

Double-Live-Album from the band's 77 USA-Tour which included such famous places as the Greek Theatre in L.A. and the Avery Fisher Hall in New York. On this tour the audience could enjoy a lasershow on the road for the first time.

For Spotify users

Buy it:

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- 3 MP3 Digital Downloads

jueves, 21 de mayo de 2009

Neil Parsons - Magnetic Fields 5 "The Last Rumba"







My personal arrangement over Jarre's "The Last Rumba" from his 1981 album Magnetic Fields. As usual with other musical clips made by myself in my private room, rough sound and stridency mark principal defects, but still has some enchantement. Hope to buy quite soon a brand new video camera and get rid of this one: a simple Starblitz digital photo camera (that's how I created it). Suggestions about a decent and cheap video-recorder will be appreciated, telling me just the model, not the price. ;)

(C) 1981, Jean Michel Jarre.

As far as own Jarre explicitly allows fans to make fan videos, using his concerts and music, as long as they remain fair and credit him. So I do.

Instruments used:
Casio WK-3200 (Rumba rhythm and guitar synth leads) and Casio MA-101 (jazz guitar preset).

--

Tangerine Dream - Atem (1973) (1996 Remastered)


The fourth album of Tangerine Dream, and the last before they would sign with Richard Branson's burgeoning Virgin Records label, Atem (meaning "Breath") ranks among their most enigmatic. The album is less static than the previous Zeit, but overall continues along the quiet, ambient pathways.

Not at the start, though. With an opening rivaling the majesty of Popol Vuh's "Aguirre," the first 5½ minutes of the title track makes you feel like you are inside a huge, ancient, Egyptian temple. The sound, defined by a repetitive motif on Froese's mellotron (the instrument's first appearance with TD) and Franke's tribal tom-toms, is an all-encompassing sanctity and awe. The percussive pace quickens to a climax, but then dissolves into a void of white light. It is after this great opening that the remainder of the track goes to minus eleven, like having been instantly teleported to the surface of an alien terrain so remote, astronomers wouldn't even bother to put it on their charts. But even while so removed, prog and Kraut fans should recognize the territory well. It is the rock-meets-electroacoustic avant garde style also explored by peers Klaus Schulze, Cluster, and early Pink Floyd: minimal, usually atonal organ mixed with unsettling electronic sounds (e.g., humming reverberation, sizzling noises, trickling). Perhaps it is "Fauni Gena" that best encapsulates the meditative and mystical feel that pervades the album, beginning with an aria of flute mellotron and proceeding along to string mellotron, all surrounded by naturalistic sounds and occasionally whispered voices. The interesting thing about this track is how organic and synthetic it manages to sound at once. Listening to it, you could imagine yourself being in the Garden of Eden, or conversely in some futuristic simulation of an aviary or rainforest. The final track, "Wahn" (German for "delusion"), splashes some cold water into the listener's face, with prehistoric vocalisms and screams that at the same time have a clear studio reverb to them, before closing out with some more tom-tom and 'tron magic.

A minus that warrants mention: similar to the other earliest Tangerine Dream albums in the Castle reissue series, though this boasts "digital remastering" done in 1996, the sound remains substandard with significant vinyl buzzing, particularly in the opening of "Atem" where it most matters. It's too bad that the band hadn't quite made it to Virgin quite yet, where the original master tapes most likely would have survived in reasonable condition. Barring the sound, this is one that most prog fans should hear and most hardcore Krautrockers probably already have. It seems to be less talked about relative to the other albums they made around this time, such as Alpha Centauri, Zeit, and Phaedra. If you want easy listening, go with Frank Sinatra. But if you want something more challenging and exploratory from this period of popular music, then Atem is an inevitability.

(C) Ground And Sky.

Line-up:

Edgar Froese, mellotron, guitar, voice;
Chris Franke, organ, VCS3 synth, drums, voice;
Peter Baumann, organ, VCS3 synth, piano

Tracklist:

1. Atem — 20:24
2. Fauni Gena — 10:45
3. Circulation of Events — 5:49
4. Wahn — 4:29

Total time 41:37

Buy it:

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- Tower Records
- Ciao (UK)
- Sanctuary Records
- Play.com
- MP3 Music Collection

miércoles, 20 de mayo de 2009

Tangerine Dream - Alpha Centauri (1971)


The second album by Tangerine Dream marked the entrance of Chris Franke, who would remain a key member of the band for the next ensuing decade and a half, though was originally brought on board for his drumming. Alpha Centauri is sonically pretty much where it stands chronologically: right smack in-between Electronic Meditation and Zeit. It is similar to the former with its caveman-era ambience where sounds churn and grapple with one another, yet closer to the latter in terms of its greater sense of form, astral imagery, and a 'no one can hear you scream' quality entrenched firmly in the bowels of space. Also, much as in "Fauni Gena" from Atem, one is also always cognizant of the tremendous reverb that nonetheless encases the music as one listens, a component of Dieter Dierks' studio were these were recorded. Listening, you feel like you are set about in a humongous terrain with a huge glass container perched over it.

"Sunrise in the Third System" makes a stunning opening track, the music you envision might have been playing as God said 'Let there be light.' It begins with pin-pricks from Froese's guitar, like tiny sparks from a flint flying up against a vast, blackened void. From this arises a theramin-like voicing (I'm assuming it's Froese's electric guitar again) crying out and eventually a lonely, gothic organ from Schroyder. For me, "Fly and Collision of Comas Sola" is the first categorically great track to the band's name. The track begins with a howling wind-tunnel of synth, out of which gradually materializes Froese playing a solemn pattern of chords on his guitar in tandem with a softer-edged organ, as traces of flute ride above it all. The dynamics slowly build, with the synth howls peeking in from time to time, until the piece finally climaxes with Dennebourg's flute emerging more prominently, and an explosive tom-tom and cymbal freak-out from Franke. The title track is another glacial twenty-two minutes, given to dreamlike waves of organ and all manner of rising and descending, twirling, whistling, and swooping. The band paints a Guernica-sized sound portrait, one that finds its ultimate end in an ominous broadcast speaker-recitative, more gothic organ, and a sea of ghostly choral vocals.

Successfully atmospheric, but like all of the albums they made back then, not an easy listen. Of the pre-Virgin Records albums that Tangerine Dream recorded, Alpha Centauri is the one I would recommend the most. For those with their eyes to the stars.

(C) Ground And Sky.

Line-up / Musicians:

Edgar Froese, guitar, bass, organ, coffee machine;
Chris Franke, drums, percussion, lotos flute, piano harp, zither, VCS3 synth;
Steve Schroyder, hammond and farfisa organs;
with Udo Dennebourg, flute, voice;
Roland Paulick, VCS3 synth

Tracklist:

1. Sunrise in the Third System — 4:20
2. Fly and Collision of Comas Sola — 13:23
3. Alpha Centauri — 22:04

Total time 39:52

Buy it:

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- Price Minister
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martes, 19 de mayo de 2009

Mike Oldfield - 1979 European Tour (private recordings)


Mike Oldfield, when "Incantations" album was released the year before, had to enterprise an European tour, carrying with him a troupe of musicians, a string orchestra and a female choir. That's why he decided, at last, to represent on stage his previous works along Europe. By his character rather changed with Exegesis therapy, Oldfield's music would gain in vitality in this series of concerts which started in Spain, from the city of Barcelona. So it was Mike's worrying because everything happens successfully and perfect, even he longed one month above the scenaries of his first performances in Madrid and Barcelona to check everything was right, according to his needs. The fact, some improvements were made to avoid echoes in the doom of the Palace Of Sports of Barcelona, which gave some problems on previous live concerts. Spanish public was always, for so many foreign artists, the most warm, cheerful and enthusiast, according to them. That's the reason Mike decided to begin his European tour in Spain, so they would allow themselves some rolling up without going everything well.

In the other hand, Oldfield's music was so complicated: many instruments to use and vocals need of a huge amount of people, between musicians, technicals and stage assistants over the scene. Mike did understand the situation and he accomplish the risk to contract more than 75 persons, most of them friends of him, uneasily settled over the stage, as if was a symphonic orchestra; so much people for so strict musical reasons, searching for a major quality, resulting quite different shows to the ones offered by Pink Floyd or Jean Michel Jarre some years later.

So, they were at the "Tubular Shows", besides Mike, David Bedford as string orchestra conductor and choir, Nico Ramsdem and Phil Beer with guitars, Pekka Pohjola with bass guitar, Pete Lemer and Tim Cross with keyboards, Pierre Moerlen (Gong) on drums and percussion, for which rest of contributions were corresponded to Mike Oldfield, David Bedford and Benoit Moerlen (Pierre's brother), including Ringo McDonough at bodhran, Maddy Prior (of Steeleye Span fame) as vocalist, Queen's College Choir, plus violins, violas, trumpets, cellos and contrabasses (a 23 musicians orchestra), and finally Sebastian Bell and Chris Nicholls on flutes.

One of sound stage engineers was an usual collaborator of minimalist musician Philip Glass, Kurt Munkacsi. It is said that Oldfield was an admirer of Glass music on that time (lately he'd arrange a theme of him for his next studio album, Platinum, joining him for the occasion Kurt Munkacsi and another Glass' collaborator, Michael Riesman).

Ensuring a better sound balance, Oldfield assigned an individual microphone to every orchestra instrument; to control the rightful quality of sound and distribution along the wired net, as rock as orchestral instrumentation, he needed of a new soundboard mixing table never used before but failed during rehearsals.

In every city, the "repertoire" was composed of a new arrangement of complete "Incantations" album on the first part of the concert, plus a funky-styled version of "Tubular Bells" on the second part, preceeded towards a new theme, a dancing "Guilty" that'd become quite enjoyable to the audience and for which the resulting studio version as a 7" single and 12" maxi-single would rock the charts at the United Kingdom, reaching #22 position. It's notable for being Oldfield's first obvious attempt to capitalise on a current musical trend, in this case disco/dance music.

About the tour, in spite of public assistance to his concerts, Oldfield had a strain suffering bankrupcy. A risk he had to run, for such problems derivated of musicians contracted, the cost of salaries and a lot of expenses in equipment maintenance, stage make-up, lightning, foods and transport. Virgin Music financed a part of this European tour, unless not being totally right with its magnitude, made Oldfield changing his mind for some demands to improve the performances (as adding a classical complete choir with more than a hundred members, finally reduced to sixteen). A complete financial disaster for Mike. Very soon, he could economically recover himself by his next records' sales and the release of a double album with a selection from live performances made during this tour that same year, "Exposed".

Maddy Prior


1979 Tour Of Europe: You can choose the concert you want. All encoded to MP3, 44,1 KHz and 128 kbps.

1979-03-31 Live in Barcelona
1979-04-02 Live in Madrid
1979-04-04 Live in Paris
1979-04-05 Live in Dusseldorf
1979-04-07 Live in Berlin
1979-04-18 Live in Frankfurt
1979-04-26 Live in London
1979-05-02 Live in London
1979-05-03 Live in Birmingham

domingo, 17 de mayo de 2009

2009 Eurovision Festival (and the winner is... Norway!!)







NORWAY!!! One of Eurovision favourites among the public and critics won the present year edition of this edulcorated and expensively veteran contest. With a surprising 387 points score, so many distance from the second place gained by Iceland contestant, Alexander Rybak with his song "Fairytale" made the gold in a frosty and emotionless edition of this Europe TV show, in which only 25 countries between 42 could qualify for semi-finals showed yesterday Saturday's night. I don't even care about the show as I didn't observe it completely but some events, also if I haven't stayed all the time watching it, something for which I got sick since several years ago, not even for contestants quality (undoubtly, some may seem better than the rest, but that's not the case) but also for the politics in scoring. The only part I could only stay was during countries classification scoring. As expected, in spite of SMS messages.

Last year, in which Spain pretended to inflame the ubiquitous TV contest with his freak Chiquilicuatre, a bad tasted joke in all senses, was a horrible one for that and what it could be concerning Ireland and a turkey trot in between... until Moscow won that edition with an emotional and sensitive song (I'm so right with the decision).

Sadly, our Spanish contestant, Soraya, did reach the penultimate position, after having staged a well done performance, including David Copperfield's imitating state-of-the-art disappearing in mid-air in a moment of the song. A too much obvious trick but it didn't surprise anyone. We don't lift any head no more since 1995, when we could only top at the second position thanks to Anabel Conde and her song "Vuelve conmigo" (Come back to me), the year Secret Garden won Eurovision contest for the very first time.

Well, let's congratulate Norway unless I don't really like the song.

sábado, 16 de mayo de 2009

Kevin Ayers - Whatevershebringswesing (1972)


Behind this typically Canterbury-humor title, and a Jerome Bosch-like artwork sleeve hides may be one of Ayer’s more average solo career album. Although Coxhill is gone (Gong-man Didier Malherbe on reeds replaces him), Bedford and Oldfield are still around and the drum stool is held by ex-East Of Eden Dufort.

Right from the first note of the opening track There Is Loving Among Us, you know that you are in for some of the most serious musical explorations in Ayers’s career. The slow intro and outro of this track is simply fascinating and indicative on how talented Ayers could be, but this reinforces the sad feeling that he never did force his talent enough. Margaret is a rather fine but soft love track and Oh My is the only flaw on the first side of the vinyl. Song From The Bottom Of A Well is another stunner, although one wish it was longer.

The second vinyl side starts with the rather strange title track, but although pleasant, it is rather overlong but with Robert Wyatt on backing vocals. Next is one of Ayers’ most enduring song (but not my fave), Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes, Champagne Cowboy blues being almost country but holds a very recognizable Oldfield guitar, but the track almost digresses for a few second into a fanfare and Lullaby is rather plain.

Bonus tracks are not that interesting, Stars being the B-side of the Stranger single and one would wish for inclusion on the original vinyl. The other two tracks also missing the cut and having been released on his 76 compilation Odd Ditties.

Following this album, Ayers will tour with Gong, even planning to join, but this was not to be, and there will be a one off BBC In Concert special – maybe the best CD from Kevin up to nowadays. Anyway had the quality of the tracks from the first side been repeated on the second side, we would have a real classic, but again as usual, the album is rather uneven and this is again due to Ayers not forcing his talent.

(C) ProgArchives.

Track Listings

1. There is Loving/Amongst Us/There is Loving (3:04)
2. Margaret (3:20)
3. Oh My (2:59)
4. Song From The Bottom Of A Well (4:37)
5. Whatevershebringswesing (8:13)
6. Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes (3:24)
7. Champagne Cowboy Blues (3:56)
8. Lullabye (2:14)

Total Time: 36:09

Bonus tracks on Eclipse remaster (2003):
9. Stars (3:32)
10. Don't Sing No More Sad Songs (3:46)
11. Fake Mexican Tourist Blues (4:38)
12. Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes [Early Mix] (3:19)

Total Time: 51:27

Line-up/Musicians
- Kevin Ayers / vocals, guitar, bass
- David Bedford / keyboards, orchestral arrangements
- Mike Oldfield / bass, guitar
- Dave Dufort / drums
- William Murray / drums
- Tony Carr / drums
- Robert Wyatt / vocals (5)
- Didier Malherbe / saxophone, flute
- Gerry Fields / violin
- Johnny Van Derek / violin

Spotify: link over here and listen it on-line

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Kevin Ayers - Bananamour (1973)


Bananamour is the fourth Ayers album released but the last one on the prog label Harvest before he left to Island Records for a shot at stardom. This album follows the same pattern than its predecessor Whatevershebringswesing, except there are here no tracks as good as, for example There Is Loving / Among Us. On the other hand, there are really no silly songs (except the bonus tracks) either, disrupting the flow of the album, a remarkable achievment for someone like Kevin Ayers!

What we have here is a good album that can be listened with pleasure but doesn't leave a memorable mark when it's over. All the songs are well arranged as usual but there is nothing you wouldl whistle when you are walking the streets. The opener Don't Let It Get You Down is a perfect example, great arrangements with a refined sound full of lush orchestrations, discreet horns, but what makes the song noticeable are the strong backing vocals of the 3 ladies repeating the chorus sounding a little bit like the ones used by latter days Pink Floyd. Good, but not great!

Steve Hillage was touring at the time with Kevin, but his contribution is limited to a great solo on SHOUTING IN A BUCKET BLUES! AYERS going blues?? Everything is possible! But a la KEVIN AYERS evidently; What strikes me when listening to SHOUTING and the next one WHEN YOUR PARENTS GO TO SLEEP , is those 2 songs sound like the.............ROLLING STONES period EXILES OM MAIN STREET, horns included!! Just listen to them and tell me if am wrong! WHEN YOUR PARENTS is so blues, even Kevin Ayers let his new sidekick bassist ARCHIE LEGGETT take the lead vocal on this track as Kevin's voice is definitely not suited for "earthy" songs!

INTERVIEW is good psychedelic adventure with a hypnotic bass rythm enhanced by once again a wonderful fuzz solo organ from former bandmate MIKE RATLEDGE giving a great deal of help with his unique characteristic sound.INTERNATIONAL ANTHEM can be seen as an intro to the best track of the album, the "trippy" 8 mns DECADENCE, a really good song, I'm sure, created and recorded "under high influence". It might sound monotonous at first taking its sweet time to develop,but that's more of a special athmosphere to enjoy. It reminds me, yes, the build up of THE END from THE DOORS. Yes, this statement might sound stretched, but once again, tell me if this is not the same kind of deranged athmosphere.

DECADENCE is a tribute to his good friend NICO, the former VELVET UNDERGROUND singer nicknamed "Marlene" here. Next, comes another tribute to one of his peer, Kevin has been used to be compared with, SYD BARRETT. OH WOT A DREAM is a very simplistic song, fun but not that memorable. Oh no! I forgot, there is something to remember about this song, what about the duck singing with Ayers! how could I almost forget? A duck doing backing vocals?? how more prog can you be?

Hymn is another great track well in the mood of the album: a tranquil, cozy, refined way to end the album followed by the "epilogue" 1' 19" orchestral Beware Of The Dog. Bananamour is definitely a good album, just not a great one and not a necessary addition to your collection, but if you like Ayers music, of course you should get it.

I won't waste time describing the bonus tracks which showcase Ayers "talent" for writing "tropical islands" songs; so you are treated first on a Reggae with Connie, then you go to Tahiti in a story with crazy bananas before ending under a Caribbean Moon which happens to be yellow!!!

3 stars for the album, no extra for the "bonus" tracks.

(C) ProgArchives

Tracklist:

01. Don't Let It Get You Down (3:58)
02. Shouting In A Bucket Blues (3:44)
03. When Your Parents Go To Sleep (5:45)
04. Interview (4:43)
05. Internotional Anthem (0:42)
06. Decadence (8:04)
07. Oh! Wot A Dream (2:48)
08. Hymn (4:35)
09. Beware Of The Dog (1:19)

Bonus tracks:
10. Connie On A Rubber Band (2:55)
11. Decadence (6:55)
12. Take Me To Tahiti (3:35)
13. Caribbean Moon (3:07)

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Kevin Ayers & The Whole World - Shooting At The Moon (1970)


Kevin’s second solo album is clearly his best album as far as progheads should be concerned, but it is also maybe the best attempt he made at forming a group. What a line-up also: David Bedford, Mike Oldfield, Lol Coxhill (one of those real weird and crazy figures of the early 70’s on sax) and Fincher might really have felt like the Whole World. Sadly after a few tours, this line-up would not last until the next album.

Even if there are ten song titles and just four tracks on this album (although some are more collages of tracks rather suites), it will be easy to see for progheads, that this is where Ayers lived up the his Soft Machine Heritage best even if it is also the only one of his early albums where he got no help from his old mates (if you do not count Wyatt’s chorus contribution on one song). The first track (a 9 min affair) holds two of his most enduring tracks May I and Colores Para Dolores separated by some seriously weird but inventive studio doodlings and a no-less inventive Reinhardt bit which might be Ayers’s most Canterbury-esque moments since he left the Machine. The second track, the almost 13 min Lunatic Lament with its crazed guitar lines (you never heard Oldfield this rough before or since) and Kevin’s madman yellings is a real stunner and IMHO, Ayer’s career apex. Coxhill and Bedford shows us a thing or two in the following few atonal minutes (I suspect that this is where Bedford made his biggest impact on this group – listen to his album Star’s End for a quick peek into his musically forays) in Pisser Dans Un Violon (Piss in A Violin), which actually hold no violin, but sounds like one achingly complaining about the treatment the title suggests.

The 4-part third track (12 min+) starts with one of those silly ditties Ayers is so reputed for before plunging Underwater with Oldfield and Coxhill bon the verge of sanity, before returning to a Syd Barret-like tune before digressing into a sax- dominated parade of colors. Truly a worthy listening experience although not suitable for the fragile minds. The title track is the only self-standing track on the album, but it does not need any help to be the highlight of the album, as it is simply a stunning close to a stunning album

It seems as though at this point, that Ayers was on the verge of forming a solid group base that would make musical groundbreaking a second nature, but sadly for characterial reasons, the group would implode before they recorded the next studio album, even if Bedford and Oldfield would help out further. There is a BBC recording of this line-up in concert, and to this reviewer, it might just be the best Ayers album coupled with this studio.


Tracklist:

1. May I? (4:01)
2. Rheinhardt & Geraldine/Colores Para Delores (5:40)
3. Lunatics Lament (4:53)
4. Pisser Dans un Violon (8:02)
5. Oyster and the Flying Fish (2:37)
6. Underwater (3:54)
7. Clarence in Wonderland (2:06)
8. Red Green and You Blue (3:52)
9. Shooting the Moon (5:53)

Bonus Tracks:
10. Gemini Child (3:16)
11. Puis Je? (3:41)
12. Butterfly Dance (3:45)
13. Jolie Madame (2:26)
14. Hat (5:27)

Musicians:

Kevin Ayers: vocals, guitars, bass
David Bedford: keyboards, arrengements
Lol Coxhill: sax, zoblophone
Mike Oldfield: bass, guitar
Mick Fincher: drums
Bridget St. John, Robert Wyatt, Girly Chorus, The Ladybirds: chorus.

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Kevin Ayers - Joy Of A Toy (1969)


A gifted songwriter, guitarist, bassist and singer, Kevin Ayers has been flitting in and out of prog throughout his long, languid career. Present at the very beginning of the Canterbury Scene as a key member of the WILDE FLOWERS alongside such Canterbury veterans as Robert Wyatt, Richard Sinclair and Hugh Hopper in 1963, Kevin Ayers was already secured a place in Canterbury history. By 1966 SOFT MACHINE was born, and Kevin Ayers was recruited as a bassist and vocalist for the group. He lasted but one album before deciding he couldn't take the pace of touring, preferring to concentrate on solo efforts. In 1970 a somewhat formal band (The Whole World) was formed to help with Ayers’ solo efforts which featured the likes of saxophonist Lol Coxhill and a certain young Mike Oldfield on guitar. Alas, the band was no more by the end of 1971. Ayers continues to play informal gigs as and when and may even swagger into the studio once more, but maintains as much of a laid-back attitude to these activities as his music itself exudes.

For prog fans, the albums "Joy of a Toy", "Shooting at the Moon", "Whatevershebringswesing" and "The Confessions of Dr Dream" are of most interest as they contain reworkings of Ayers’ early SOFT MACHINE material as well as copious very proggy pieces ranging drastically in style from lazy ditties to avant-garde sound explorations. After these albums Ayers’ work became increasingly song-orientated and acoustic and may hold little fascination for the average progger.

Highly recommended to all Canterbury enthusiasts and lovers of creative and finely crafted songs.

Concerning his first album, after disbanding Soft Machine, Kevin Ayers proves to be a brilliant psychedelic singer-songwriter and vocalist on his debut solo album, with a sound much like a continuation of the Soft Machine's first two albums... Indeed, his fellow Softs provide lovely backing for him on this and his second album, "Shooting at the Moon." You'll even hear some songs that he used to play with the Soft Machine on this album. Kevin Ayers' left the Soft Machine after their first album, but his first few solo albums blend that wild Canterbury spirit of his former band with a mellower song-craft, tempering it to perfection. He calls not only on his former band-mates Robert Wyatt, Hugh Hopper, and Mike Ratledge; but also Mike Oldfield, David Bedford, Rob Tait, Jeff Clyne, Paul Minns, Paul Buckmaster, Cyrille Ayers, Sean Murphy, and two Welsh girls for backing vocals: Jean and Mary. Here is psychedelia, jazz, rock, pop, a singer-songwriter sensibility, and avant-garde all melding into an early Canterbury masterpiece. A sound that is decidedly British. And the cover art is oh so whimsically silly... fits the music to a tee! I simply can't recommend this album enough. I'm telling you,

Personnel:

Kevin Ayers - Guitars, Bass and Vocals
Robert Wyatt - Drums
David Bedford - Piano, Arranger
Mike Ratledge - Organ, Piano & Flute (1, 5 & 6)
Hugh Hopper - Bass (1 & 5)
Paul Buckmaster - Cello
Rob Tait - Drums (5,6)
Jeff Clyne - Bass
Paul Minns - Oboe
Sean Murphy - Vocals

Tracklist:

1. Joy of a Toy Continued (2:53)
2. Town Feeling (4:49)
3. The Clarietta Rag (3:19)
4. Girl on a Swing (2:49)
5. Song for Insane Times (3:59)
6. Stop This Train (Again Doing it) (6:04)
7. Eleanor's Cake (Which Ate Her) (2:53)
8. Lady Rachel (5:16)
9. Oleh Oleh Bandu Bandong (5:32)
10. All This Crazy Gift of Time (3:49)

Bonus Tracks
11. Religious Experience (Singing a Song in the Morning)
12. The Lady Rachel (Extended First Mix)
13. Soon Soon Soon
14. Religious Experience (Previously unreleased)
15. The Lady rachel (Single Version)
16. Singing a Song In The Morning (Single Version)

SPOTIFY: Joy Of A Toy (w/ bonus)

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jueves, 14 de mayo de 2009

Economy crisis knocked on army's doors





Popol Vuh - Hosianna Mantra (1972)


This is probably POPOL VUH's most well known album, and my second favourite after the next one "Seligpreisung". I really feel that Conny Veit adds so much with his guitar playing on those two albums. I don't think Djong Yun sounds any better than she does on this album, her shining moment i guess you could say.

"Ah!" opens with some beautiful piano melodies and then it calms right down 2 minutes in. Piano and a fuller sound returns before another calm arrives 3 1/2 minutes in. Piano is back to end it.

"Kyrie" features electric guitar and piano early and the Djong comes in like an angel before a minute. It's so moving 1 1/2 minutes in until it settles at the 3 minute mark. Guitar is back before 4 minutes. Nice. The vocals are fantastic! "Hosianna Mantra" takes a while to get going and then the piano, guitar and vocals become prominant. Oboe after 3 minutes then guitar. This is gorgeous! Words do little to express the emotion and beauty right here. Just listen.

"Abschied" is led by oboe on this another moving song. "Segnung" is mellow with vocals. A brighter sound with piano and guitar takes over before 4 minutes. Vocals return. "Andacht" is a very short guitar tune. "Nicht Hoch Im Himmel" features vocals and piano early. Her vocals are so dreamy. Guitar comes in after 3 minutes. It's so peaceful 5 1/2 minutes in. "Andacht" like the earlier tune of the same name is short with guitar. This one has some atmosphere to it. Simply a must have if you like spiritual contemplative music.

(C) ProgArchives

Lately, this record would be rerelased within "Tantric Songs" in one single CD, edited by Celestial Harmonies label (Amazon).

Track Listings

Hosianna - Mantra (20:18):
1. Ah! - 4:43
2. Kyrie - 5:20
3. Hosianna Mantra - 10:15

Das V. Buch Mose (16:42):
4. Abschied - 3:10
5. Segnung - 6:00
6. Andacht - 0:40
7. Nicht hoch im Himmel - 6:17
8. Andacht - 0:35

Total Time: 37:00

Line-up/Musicians

- Florian Fricke / piano, harpsichord
- Conny Veit / guitar
- Robert Eliscu / oboe
- Djong Yun / vocals
- Klaus Wiese / tambura
- Fritz Sonnleitner / violin

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Popol Vuh - Aguirre (1974)


Another of peak-period PV, Aguirre has gone through several releases. The one I used to own (Spalax #14219) combined some of the tracks featured here with the full, previous album by the band, In Der Gärten Pharoahs. This improved reissue retains the title track and the "Spirit of Peace" triptych, while adding tracks 2-5. The title track is the ubiquitous soundtrack in Werner Herzog's classic film Aguirre, the Wrath of God, an excellent movie about a doomed party of conquistadors gradually swallowed up by an uncaring jungle. Fricke created here a transcendent masterpiece of ambience; seriously some of the finest mellotron work I have ever heard, and I try to be conscientious about using such exaggerations sparingly. The two alternate versions of "Aguirre" presented here differ only in their choice of codas. The first features a pan pipe ending, I think taken from the movie. The second features a full band conclusion.

"Morgengruss," written by Fichelscher, seems to me a re-recorded version of the piece which originally appeared on the album Einsjäger & Siebenjäger. Similarly, "Agnus Dei" is pretty much a lengthy slice of "Gutes Land," also from Einsjäger & Siebenjäger. It was not re-recorded but openly spliced wholesale, except with a brief, alternate oboe opening. I assume the oboe player was an uncredited Robert Eliscu, as he had played with the band around this time. "Vergegenwartigung" is another high point, a collection of several dreamy musical vignettes. The first is the strongest, recalling the same calming and alternating light-dark atmosphere on Pink Floyd's "A Pillow of Winds." Djong Yun's vocals will fully possess the listener here. The closer, "Spirit of Peace," is solo piano minimalism, broken into three sections. Another top-notch Popol Vuh release, though if it's of concern, be warned that it's definitely on the mellower side of an already mellow band.

(C) Ground and Sky review

Florian Fricke, piano, mellotron;
Daniel Fichelscher, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, drums;
Djong Yun, vocal;
Robert Eliscu, oboe;
(uncredited), pan pipe

Tracklist:
1. Aguirre I — 7:23
2. Morgengruss II — 2:57
3. Aguirre II — 6:16
4. Agnus Dei — 3:02
5. Vergegenwärtigung — 14:43
6. Spirit of Peace, part 1 — 3:34
7. Spirit of Peace, part 2 — 7:27
8. Spirit of Peace, part 3 — 9:45

total time 55:36

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