Friday, 28 April 2017

Kraftwerk - Electric Café (1986)

Staying in the German-electronic-80s zone for the time being, here's a not-so-classic album that I've been trying to give an honest re-evaluation.  And to be honest, it still sounds great.  Once the rhythms of Boing Boom Tschak really kick in I always wish it could be twice as long; the rest of that Techno Pop/Musique Non Stop suite is great too, probably their last great extended/conceptual work; and the last three tracks are at least entertaining.  In fact, Der Telefon Anruf/The Telephone Call always strikes me as another quite touching portrait of loneliness and isolation, from the same narrator as on Computer Love five years earlier.  No such redeeming features on Sex Object, unfortunately; especially not those truly hideous bass sounds.

zippy / mega

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Tangerine Dream - Logos: Live At The Dominion, London (1982)

As promised last week, some more live TD - this time taken from a concert in London on 6 November 1982.  By this point, Peter Baumann was gone, and his replacement, Johannes Schmoelling, well integrated into the group.  The TD sound had updated from the long-form improvisations of the 70s into something much sleeker and polished, but Logos is still a cracking live set to listen to. 

For release, the material from the concert that already appeared on studio albums was snipped out, leaving just the great little encore-finale (which always makes me think more of Jean-Michel Jarre than TD) and the new 'Logos' suite, with its sections named by colours - respectively, Cyan, Velvet (not quite a colour, but whatever), Red, Blue, Black, Green and Yellow, bookended by an intro & coda. 

These contrasting sections offer plenty of variety across the suite's 45 minute duration: highlights for me include the dark ambience of Intro, Cyan and Black; the longest stretch (Red), from about 12-20 minutes into the piece, which looks forward to Hyperborea, and the uptempo section towards the end (Yellow), its rhythms more suited to the dancefloor than the stoner futon.

zippy / mega

Monday, 24 April 2017

Charles Lloyd - Forest Flower: At Monterey, 1966 (rel. 1967)

Speaking of Keith Jarrett... nearly thirty years prior to that trio date in Tokyo, he appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival in his early sideman role to the great Charles Lloyd.  Showing great promise even then, Jarrett fills out the clipped, Latin rhythm (Jack DeJohnette's here too) of the 'Forest Flower' suite as the perfect foil to Lloyd's warm, mellifluous tenor sax.

Jarrett ups the groove whenever Lloyd takes a more free flight and takes an assured solo early in the 'Sunset' section, and even plucking the piano strings towards the end.  The fact that I've mostly made this writeup all about Jarrett clearly shows I need to listen more widely to Charles Lloyd (his flute playing on the Jarrett composition Sorcery is also superb), so consider that my homework.

zippy / mega

Friday, 21 April 2017

Keith Jarrett Trio - Tokyo '96 (rel. 1998)

From the intermittent SGTG tradition known as Jazz Piano Friday, some more Jarrett, Peacock & DeJohnette on rollicking form at the Orchard Hall, Tokyo on 30 March 1996.  By the time ECM released it two years later, Jarrett was laid low with ME/CFS, but would fortunately recover in time to take the Standards Trio into the 21st century for more transformed songbook classics and extended improvs.  Highlights on this particular release include the turbo-charged It Could Happen To You and Billie's Bounce in the first half, and the two Jarrett originals - Caribbean Sky and Song - that are effortlessly segued from standards at the end.

zippy / mega

Previously posted at SGTG: Changeless / Blue Note June 4, 1994

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Nurse With Wound & others - Angry Eelectric Finger (Spitch'cock One) (2004)

Sampler for a series of collaborative albums, spawned by Steven Stapleton giving chunks of NWW raw material to a select group of acquaintances.  Review, written by me for Head Heritage shortly after the release of this CD, can be found here (published 13 years ago today!).  Needs a bit of editing if I'm honest, being about five times as long as the average SGTG writeup... and despite saying I couldn't wait to hear the rest of the project, I've still to get around to it, for shame.  Anyone heard the other installments? Worth picking up?

zippy / mega

Monday, 17 April 2017

Tangerine Dream - Encore (1977)

Been rediscovering Tangerine Dream lately, so here's the first of a couple of live albums that number among my favourites (Logos coming up next week).  Forty years ago this month, Froese, Franke and Baumann were touring the US recording the material that would be used for Encore, with their great washes of mellotron and rhythmic sequencer work at its height on these four side-long tracks.

Coldwater Canyon is possibly the best of the best for me here, especially with Froese letting rip on lead guitar, and the mellow, meditative finale of Desert Dream is a classic too for highlighting the more atmospheric side of TD, with only a short sequencer section at the very end.

Encore
alt. link (zippy)

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Friday, 14 April 2017

Vyacheslav Artyomov - Requiem (rec. 1989)

Quite fancied posting more Artyomov after mentioning him the other day, so this'll do as an Easter-weekend post.  Artyomov's Requiem was written between 1985 and 1988, and recorded in 1989.  Opening with a dramatic organ blast, like a more rough-around-the-edges version of Fauré's Requiem, the various sections of the work show Artyomov's orchestral forces and use of organ and bells at their most fully realized.

The choral parts are at times stately, unsettling and mournful, as centuries of Russian Orthodoxy and other liturgical traditions are woven into something timeless.  As Artyomov himself preferred, this is "eternal music" rather than just contempoary classical.  This CD was a bit hard to digest when I first got it - all one track! - so I split it up using timings that I found, which made it more accessible.  Definitely one worth sticking with.

Requiem
alt. link (zippy)

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Dimitri Yanov-Yanovski (1998 compilation of works '91-'97)

Uzbek composer Dimitri Yanov-Yanovski was born in Tashkent in 1963.  These 1997 recordings of his works from that decade were recorded by the Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble, and make for a really interesting and worthwhile listen.  The definite highlight for me was Pressentiment (premonition), for chamber ensemble and the voice of a muezzin on tape; the eerie buildup of the droning strings and distant gongs gives the perfect backdrop to eventually introduce the voice.

Elsewhere, there's two different works for soprano and string quartet, which really caught my attention just from being a combination I haven't heard much at all.  One of these, the album opener Lacrymosa, gave Yanov-Yanovsky wider exposure in 1993 when it appeared on a Kronos Quartet album with Dawn Upshaw taking the vocal part.  The ensemble work Lux Aeterna is another highlight here, with its ominous piano and gongs and a mournful violin solo; it reminded me a bit of Vyacheslav Artyomov.

Dimitri Yanov-Yanovski
alt. link (zippy)

Monday, 10 April 2017

AMM - The Crypt, 12th June 1968 - The Complete Session (rel. 1992)

There's nothing like blowing the cobwebs away at the start of a new week with nearly two hours' worth of fearsome, ear-blasting free improvisation, so enjoy.  A decade before Throbbing Gristle were terrifying London audiences (including at The Crypt), and three years before Kluster recorded Eruption, there was AMM at their most unhinged.

Wishing to stake out territory far beyond free jazz, Eddie Prévost, Keith Rowe and Lou Gare hooked up with pianist/composer Cornelius Cardew and percussionist Christopher Hobbs to make this glorious racket.  Prévost continues with versions of the group to this day.  First released as a an extract on one side of a shared LP, more of the Crypt performance was given a double-LP release in 1981 before the complete recording came out in 1992 on this 2-CD edition.

Fades where they occur are when tapes ran out; other than that, all 109 minutes of the show are here for your, erm, enjoyment, and actually it's not all quite as extreme as it starts out.  Long passages of meditative, near-ambient formlessness crop up at intervals; often I just pick a random 20 minute section of The Crypt to listen to, and always find something new to focus on.

Disc 1
Disc 2
alt. link (zippy) CD1
alt. link (zippy) CD2