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Date: Thu, 8 Dec 1994 00:21:31 -0500
Subject: Krautrock (Warning: long)
The following is a personal best of Krautrock that a friend and I composed following some pretty fragmented discussion a few months back on the Ixnay-L. I guess I consider my self an expert on the genre (that means I'm an obsessive record collector geek).
As a prelude to this, Kraut-rock was a scene or a movement only in the vaguest sense of the word. I'm sure that everyone would rather not get into a long and dull academic digression about why the Germans made the most interesting music directly following the psychedelic era. I'll spare you my theories and say that this list really does have most of the esssential groups, and has been compiled with indie/psych fans in mind. Not every record that came out on Brain, OHR, and Kosmiche Kourier was good. Many of them S-U-C-K-E-D. If anyone is interested in a list of records to avoid, that's a whole other subject. I suppose people will look back on Main, Spectrum, Stereolab, Labradford, Flying Saucer Attack ,etc, etc. one day and say "man, the early 90's, now those were the days..." In the meantime...
-----Bill and Eammon pick the winners: The "best" of KRAUTROCK We didn't agree on everything, but we decided that the following LP's would be the cornerstone of any self-respecting record-collector freak's collection:
Agitation Free: - Last (1976) (Ist 2 LP's had vaguely "arabic" touches. "Last" was a live record with 3 trance inducing instrumentals)
Amon Duul II: - Yeti (1970) - Tanz Der Lemminge (1971) (Many member group dividing their time between short west-coast psych influenced numbers and long and wild improvisations. Later records not as interesting. Still extant.)
Ash Ra Tempel: - Ash Ra Tempel (1971) - Schwingungen (1972), - Inventions for Electric Guitar (1975) (More hippy headcases, s/t LP is insane "jams," later LP's have shorter pieces and vocals.)
Can: - Tago Mago (1971) Ege Bamyasi (1972) - Future Days (1973)
- Soon Over Babaluma (1974) (Should be known to everyone. Can were a combination of sublime "grooves" and zonked electronics/vocals/editing. Later records not as ground breaking but still worth hearing.)
Cosmic Jokers: - Cosmic Jokers (1974)- Galactic Supermarket (1974) (Ash Ra + Klaus Schulze + others. Side long pieces, better than most Ash Ra and later Schulze.)
Cluster: -II (1972) (Early electronic duo. Beats the crap out of most "industrial" music.)
Faust: - s/t (1971) So Far (1972) - The Faust Tapes (1973) - Faust 4 (1973) (Optimized use of electronic tape collage in rock music. Records that will probably always sound "contemporary.' Can't imagine anyone being without these.)
Guru Guru: - UFO (1970)# - Hinten (1971) (Insane trio freakouts, sort of an early 70's Sun City Girls. Later records more "fusion-y.")
Harmonia: Musik Von (1973) (Cluster and Michael Rother from Neu! Excellent meeting of the two styles.)
Kraftwerk: -1(1970) -2 (1971) Ralf and Florian (1973) (Little known early LP's were short on electro-pop and heavy on long and weird bits. Completely baffling how they got from this to "Computer Love." Not that those later LP's aren't good.)
Neu!: - Neu! (1972) - Neu! 2 (1973) - Neu! '75 (1975) (One-note trance numbers battling it out with bizarre tape experiments. Their "rock" moves have been stolen wholesale by Stereolab. The two main Neu guys were also in the early Kraftwerk lineups.)
Popol Vuh - Seligpreisungen (1973) - Einsjager & Siebenjager (1975) - Das Hohelied Salomos (1975)
-Die Nacht Der Seele (1979), Bruder Des Shattens/On the Way To A Little Way (1978) (Brooding yet peaceful songs, with emphasis on piano/oboe/droning vocals. Will be too new-agey for some. Made many, many records.Sort of a love- it-or-hate-it deal. Good music to pray to.)
Agitation Free: - Malesch (1972) - Second (1973)
Amon Duul II: - Phallus Dei (1969) - Wolf City (1974) -Lemmingmania (1975) comp.
Anima: -s/t (1972) (Free improv stuff, closer to jazz than Xhol or Annexus. Good.)
Annexus Quam: - Beziehungen (1972) (Often described as "jazzy" cause' they had a sax player. The music does not actually feature any of the interaction that marks true jazz, instead going for more of a dadaist collage effect. Often imitated by (early) Nurse With Wound.)
Ash Ra Tempel: - Seven Up (1971) - Join Inn (1973) - Starring Rosi (1973) (The "vocals" era. Some parts good, some hilarious.)
Can: - Soundtracks [1968-70] (1970) - Monster Movie (1969) - Unlimited Edition (1976) - Saw Delight (1977) -Landed (1976) (The rest of their LP's, basically. Later ones still available as cut-outs.)
Cluster: Zwei Osteri Kluster (1970) Zuckerzeit (1971) Cluster 72' (1972) (More good electronics.)
Embryo: - Opel (1970) - Steig Aus (1973) - Rock Session (1973) (Still active group noted for their collaborations with "ethnic" musicians in far-flung locales. Early records more in the "German" style.)
Faust: - Last (1985) - Munich & Elsewhere (1986) (Posthumous LP's (early 70's material) put out by Recommended. Still great.)
Faust w/Tony Conrad: -Outside The Dream Syndicate (1973) (More Tony Conrad's LP than Faust's, a much sought after record for many many years. Nicely re-issued w/bonus material. LONG pieces featuring droning violin tuned in unusual intervals. The direct opposite of any other Faust record.)
Guru Guru: - Kan Guru (1972) - Guru Guru (1973) (Last couple with original line-up. Also see live 72'/Uli Trepte LP on United Dairies.)
Harmonia: - Deluxe (1975)
Necronomicon - Tips Zum Selbsmordt (1972) (Tremendously rare record, now available as a $100 re-issue from Forced Exposure. Psych.)
Popol Vuh: - In Den Garten Pharaos (1972) - Hosianna Mantra (1973) - Aguirre OST (1976) - Letzte Tage - Letzte Nachte (1976) - Coeur De Verre (1977) (More of their many recs. Early ones feature bongos n' moog.)
Rufus Zuphall - Weiss der Teufal (See Necromomicon. Warning: heavy flute content)
Tangerine Dream: -Electronic Meditation (1969) (Later went on to much synth garbage, but this was one of the very early scene artifacts and is pretty weird in its own right.)
Xhol: - Hau-Ruk (1971) (See Annexus Quam) Yatha Sidra -Meditation Mass (1974) (Sorta like Popol Vuh but not quite as good. Still worth hearing.)
Amon Duul 1: AD 1 made several LP's in a "communal" style, lots of strummy guitars and bongo playing. People are deeply divided over the listening enjoyment to be had from these, tho' Eammon and I concur that there are no moments on them worth $60.
Holger Czukay: Can bass player/editor made the only really good Can solo LP, the incredible Movies (1979). It's really a Can LP, but all of the parts were manually edited together by tape splicing. The incredible thing is, it's not a "collage" record, but rather sounds like a full blown Can session. Also has one of the best disco songs ever ("Cool In The Pool"). Floh De Cologne: Group engaged in Henry Cow style Marxism but sounded (and looked) more like the early Mothers of Invention. What "Tommy" is to Broadway, these guys were to... made several LP's on OHR. Neu: Solo LP's. La Dusseldorf carried on the Neu sound in a "new wave"/Roxy Music way. OK. Michael Rother made a bunch of kinda dull LP's. 'Flamenden Herzen" is the best of em'.
Cluster: Solos by Rodelius and Moebius should be available in your local used record store. For the most part, there's a good reason for that. Klaus Schulze: Left Tang. Dream after their 1st. Has made about 40LP's worth of synth doodles, including a couple of good ones ("Picture Music," "Irrlicht"). The quality of his records deteriorated in direct proportion to technological advances made in synthesizer technology.
Virtually all of the German records that were in any way noteable have been reissued on those accursed little CD's. Exceptions: Neu! (due soon, supposedly), Harmonia's "Deluxe," and the early Kraftwerks.
Terrible sorry if the length/inaccuracy/incompleteness of this has bummed anyone out. We were just trying to provide a public service. Believe me, you don't need to E-mail me and tell me what a record collector geek I am, cause' I know. Specific questions, please forward them to Eammon or myself.
Bill K and Eammon
Date: Thu, 8 Dec 1994 19:20:28 -0500
Subject: More Krautrock
Bill & Eamonn--( and everyone else)Thanks for a fairly brilliant summing up of an often tangled subgenre. I concur with most of your assessments, but I think you left a few good ones out:
Dom, _Edge Of Time_: Amazing trance-stasis drone stuff, highly reminescent of post-Barrett, pre-pomposity Floyd. A private press album, reissued on CD a year or two back.
Gila, _Gila_: flashing, certifiably out-there guitar scree. Fits somewhere between Cosmic Jokers and Guru Guru. Their second album has eluded me; anyone out there heard it?Emtidi, _Saat_: a really unusual trance-folk masterpiece. Sounds like a cross between _Future Days_ and the Mellow Candle album.
Kalacakra, _Crawling To Lhasa_: mantra-style drone-jams; similiar to (but better than) the Yatha Sidra album.
Honorable Mention (pre-Krautrock Krautrock): The Monks, _Black Monk Time_: a bunch of American ex-GI's stranded in Germany at the end of the beat boom, The Monks recorded this amazing amphetamine-crazed drone-punk album in 1966. It's a lost precursor of just about everything cool that came later: the VU, Suicide and Faust definitely come to mind (and the guys in Faust must have heard this album, I'll wager). Released on German Polydor in 1966, reissued by Repertoire just a few months ago. So ahead-of-its-time it's hard to believe. Hear it and be amazed.
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 1995 01:53:27 -0400
Subject: Re: Amon Duul and stuff
] Anyhow...i was wondering if someone could give me the low-down on this ] band, what their music is like etc...Amon Duul (umlats over the 'u's ] of course) and to my surprise a number of very strange titles came up. ] Die Losing, Hawk and a Penguin (or some such), something about ] menarnac (please excuse my sparse recollection,
No, you don't want those- without making a long story long, there a basically 4 AD "catagories":
1) LP's made by Amon Duul 1
2) LP's made by Amon Duul 2 before they started to suck
3) LP's made by Amon Duul 2 after they started to suck
4) LP's made by a bogus AD2 in the 1980's
Amon Duul was a student-hippy collective. Their first ever gig of note was at the Essen song-fest in 1968- after that, they split into 2 groups, AD and AD 2. Of course, the groups shared members, but basically AD was the "political' group and AD 2 the "musicians" group.
1) The original Amon Duul made 5 LP's, which depending on your ability to stomach endless atonal drum and acoustic guitar jams are either essential or wretched. I say both, but none of these are on CD, so...
2) AD 2 made these great psych/rock records: _Phallus Dei_ ("God's Penis"), _Yeti_, _Tanz Der Lemming_. _Wolf City_ and _Live in London_ are passable but not as good. These are all readily available from FE or Wayside or maybe at Tower. AD 2 in their prime were the German update of the west coast sound, whereas say, Can, were the German version of the VU.
3) In the mid 70's, AD 2 went down a more narrow road and have continued on and off to make records to this day. these later records are not too hot, I'm afraid.
4) Dave Anderson was the bass player in Hawkwind and AD 2 in the early 70's. Sometime in the 1980's, he decided that he alone could justify calling a group AD 2, and made a bunch of lousy records that he put out on his own label, the name of which escapes me. Beware.
Date: Thu, 29 Aug 1996 23:45:42 -0500
From: Fred Becker [email@example.com]
Subject: Cluster Album Summary
mark griffey wrote:
can someone post brief reviews of each cluster album? i like them a lot but i don't quite know what to get. i have zuckerzeit and cluster 2 and both are excellent. thanks
in keeping with your ee cummings style, i'm using all lower case!
first, some references:
cluster information service: http://www.rcww.com/curious/clustinf.htm
cluster discography (complete): http://www.rcww.com/curious/disco1.htm
cluster discography (not complete): http://www.nwu.edu/music/eno/cluster.html
kluster klopfzeichen kluster osterrei kluster kluster und eruption (schwarz) harsh and experimental electronics. speaking voice ruins these, i feel. cluster cluster more harsh and experimental electronics. no speaking voice on this one. cluster cluster II harsh and experimental, but the beginning of something recognizably cluster harmonia musik von harmonia recorded with michael rother. very strange intro track. still nothing like it. second track a wonderful mind journey in music. very visual. remaining tracks also great. one track, dino, is the ultimate krautrock track, in my opinion. cluster zuckerzeit first track hollywood is truly a classic. too bad nobody took them up to the hollywood sign for a photo shoot during their recent tour. maybe next time. the track has an unusual rhythm accompaniment and soaring synth sounds with wierd bass sequences perhaps done with tape loops from their hawaiian guitar. remaining tracks equally classic, alternating more or less between roedelius and moebius. harmonia harmonia de luxe even better than zuckerzeit or musik von harmonia, perhaps. there is singing on the opening track "immer, wieder." the words are silly: immer wieder rauf und runter einmal drauf und einmal drunter immer wieder hin und her kreux und quer mal leicht mal schwer rother's searing guitar punctuates the e-piano and synthesizer. the song is orchestrated and structured like a symphony. it is somewhat like a shorter happier version of autobahn by kraftwerk. can't get too long now. cluster sowiesoso the title track is a beautiful track evoking images of blue skies. remaining tracks sometimes happy, sometimes pensive, always unusual, always interesting. cluster & brian eno cluster und eno cluster takes a quiet turn with eno. still unusual. still interesting. moebius et al. lilienthal now a rare lp. some fun music in a large group setting. roedelius durch die wuste/desert a large album full of musical ideas. some soaring, building pieces. some quiety thoughtful moments. some strange things like cow sounds, medieval instruments. there are at least two classic tracks on this. cluster & brian eno after the heat contains some singing by eno. the feeling from here on out becomes somewhat more professional or anticeptic. cluster grosses wasser produced by baumann instead of plank. the music is still unusual, but is heard in a different way: more minimalist and clean. moebius & plank rastakraut pasta a fun collaboration. quirky and interesting. not as serious as anything before. roedelius jardin au fou the piano comes to the fore on this album. some very beautiful tracks. roedelius selbstportrait I roedelius selbstportrait II roedelius selbstportrait III once you are into roedelius, these are essential. they show him recording in a relaxed and uninhibited way. synth and organ dominated. sky is reissuing these three (not complete, i understand) on two cd's. cluster & farnbauer live in vienna don't know. roedelius lustwandel also piano dominated. some classic roedelius piano pieces are on this one. also produced by baumann. cluster curiosum this was recorded with small portable synths, i believe. the first track is interesting, but i haven't gotten into the rest of the album yet. side 2 is very quiet and minimalist. roedelius wenn der sudwind weht music like the selbstportrait series. some very nice pieces. The remaining albums are all interesting, but maybe someone else can tackle mini reviews for them. This is getting long! moebius & plank material roedelius offene turen roedelius flieg' vogel fliege roedelius wasser im wind moebius & beerbohm strange music moebius tonspuren moebius,plank & neumeier zero set roedelius gift of the moment moebius blue moon roedelius like the whispering of the wind roedelius weites land roedelius momenti felici roedelius fortress of love roedelius variety of moods roedelius der ohrenspiegel cluster apropos cluster roedelius piano piano ersatz ersatz roedelius fruhling roedelius friendly game roedelius cuando adonde ersatz ersatz II roedelius tace roedelius the greetings: piano live aquarello to cover the dark roedelius theatreworks roedelius synfonia contempora cluster one hour roedelius selbstportrait VI moebius & plank en route roedelius vom nutzen der stunden roedelius sinfonia contempora II: la nordica roedelius pink, blue and amber Sincerely, Fred Becker
A very extensive Faust WWW site can be found at http://www.adweb.co.uk/andyw/faust/
A Can WWW site can be found at http://www.io.com/~jwc/rock/can.html
From: Jonathan Dunne (WPGI) (Softrans) [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Date: Wed, 26 Apr 95 10:39:36 PDT
Subject: Re: Popol Vuh
Hi all, here is a discog and summary of Popol Vuh, beware of a norwegain band with a different spelling, ie Popul Vuh, I'll include their discog so you won't be confused. I believe these two bands have completely differnent sounds so beware!!!
-Popol Vuh [Germany]
Affenstunde (71), In Den Garten Pharaos (72), Hosianna Mantra (73), Seligpreisungen (73), Einsjager & Siebenjager (75), Das Hohelied Salomos (75) Music from the Film Aguirre (76), Letzte Tage - Letzte Nachte (76), Yoga (76), Coeur De Verre (77), Singet, Denn der Gesang Vertreibt die Wolfe... (77), Bruder des Schattens - Sohne des Lichts (78), Die Nacht der Seele: Tantric Songs (79), Sei Still, Wisse Ich Bin (80), Agape-Agape, Love-Love (83), Spirit of Peace (85), Der Gesang Der Engel (88), Florian Fricke (90)
One of the very best German bands, that exemplified "cosmic music" in its myriad of forms. Earlier stuff ("Affenstunde," "In Den Garten Pharao") is spacey and ethnic almost electronic music. "Hosianna Mantra" is close in style with ethereal and uplifting female vocals. My favorites, though, are the mid seventies albums like "Seligpreisungen" or "Einsjager & Sibenjager" This music is undeniably classic with spacy guitar/piano/percussion jams that spiral and reach amazing crescendos. And is always beautiful. Very peaceful and mesmerizing. Best albums IMHO are the ones with Djong Yun on vocals: _Hosianna Mantra_ and _Das Hohlied Salamos_. Beautiful stuff. I've only heard part of _Affenstude_. Way out there space/psych with lots of electronics and quiet percussion. It will definitely carry you along for a mellow ride. Popol Vuh are best known as early pioneers of the German rock scene, fusing folk and gospel music with rock influences, with releases that have spanned two decades. _For You and Me_ is the latest release from the German group who have been making music since the early seventies. Their music combines elements from folk music, rock, and new age, with religious overtones. Rather than describe this album in my words, I will excerpt from the sleeve notes, which convey the effect very well " ... merging the styles of various cultures ... elements from the Himalayas, Ireland, Greece, and Africa ... instrumental base of new age/world/folk music with transcendent vocals ... eclectic mix of instruments, rhythms, and arrangements ...". Categorized with the German space-rock of the seventies, Popol Vuh is a great place to start if you're looking to fill your collection with original sounding music. I've combined Einsjager & Siebenjager and Das Hohelied Salomos into one review because they go so well together they could be considered one release. The band is lead by Daniel Fichelscher on guitars and percussion and Florian Fricke on the piano. Aside from occasional guest musicians on vocals and various eastern instruments, these two create the Popol Vuh sound. The music on these two CDs consists mainly of multi-tracked bluesy guitar leads backed up by piano chording and jazz-inflected drumming. Fichelscher and Fricke and very good musicians, though not in the virtuostic way that Bill Bruford, Keith Emerson or Steve Hillage is. While complex enough to please prog-heads, they don't show off. Yet the music is not minimal. Many of the tracks feature vocals by Djong Yun and have a full, lush feel to them. This is excellent music to relax or meditate to. I surprised me to find how peaceful the music is, even when they are playing fast. I've been told the lyrics have a religious twist to them, but as far as I can tell they are in German. In any case the majority of the vocal tracks seem to be chanting rather than singing.
I can't think of any bands to compare Popol Vuh to. Their style has diverse roots that I'm not going to attempt to guess. They sound like no other progressive band I've ever heard. These two CDs work well together and if you're thinking of ordering one, you might as well get both. An excellent addition to any collection, I highly recommend these recent and welcome re-releases.
Date: Thu, 2 Nov 1995 18:33:42 +1030
From: Anthony Dale [email@example.com]
The past 10 years has seen a sea change in the structures that underpin the work of guitarists at the cutting edge of rock. The music of Spacemen 3 and Main, through to more recent efforts by Flying Saucer Attack and Labradford, is as likely to be influenced by folk, classical and eastern musics, as by rhythm and blues. This baroque approach echoes the work of an earlier group of experimentalists, the British baroque guitarists of the 1960s, including Davy Graham, Martin Carthy, Bert Jansch and John Renbourn. This issue, Tony Dale takes a look at the work of Davy Graham.
Davy Graham's reputation as one of the folk guitar's greatest innovators was sealed with the release of a series of extraordinary EPs and LPs in the early 1960s. Initially playing only acoustic guitar, he broke down barrier after barrier, mixing blues with jazz, folk and eastern forms. Part of this insight can be traced to genetics. He was born on the Isle of Skye in 1940. His father, a Scot, taught Gaelic, was an amateur singer and an athlete. His mother was born in Georgetown, Guyana, with oriental and American Indian traces in her ancestry.
He got his first guitar when he was 16, and his primary early influence was the blues, which he absorbed in the Soho blues haunts so prominent in the late 50s and early 60s, and especially Les Cousins, the epicentre of the folk-blues movement at that time. Thus commenced his life as an itinerant musician, starting out on the streets of Paris, where his experiences ranged from jail for busking to playing for Elizabeth Taylor. From there he moved to North Africa, playing in Tangiers for food, working for six months in a eating establishment whose specialty was a hash cakes. This compulsion for travelling the folk routes of Europe, Africa and the Middle East has informed his work since.
On the folk side, Jack Elliott and Bob Dylan were big influences. On the blues side these: Leadbelly, Bill Broonzy, Robert Johnson, king Solomon Hill and Howlin' Wolf. Jazz was up there with Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus. There were many other threads mixed into his work, like flamenco and fado, Indian and Arabic, and Early English.
In 1961, all his influences conspired to seismic effect in the extraordinary - but mostly ignored - EP 3/4 AD, which he recorded with the "father of British blues" Alexis Korner. The title track was inspired by Miles Davis' Kinda Blue, and the EP contains the haunting classic Angi (itself a mutation of Jack Elliott's Cocaine Bill), much beloved of folk guitarists since. The "Folk Baroque" movement, running through Graham's work to Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Pentangle and Fairport Convention, originated with this EP. He followed up in 1963 with another epochal release The Thamesiders and Davy Graham, which contained the profoundly influential Indian raga rendition of the folk standard She Moved Through the Fair. Fairport Convention later added vocals on top of a similar arrangement to create the definitive version that appears on their first album.
Davy Graham's first LP, Folk, Blues and Beyond (Decca 1964), pulled together all of his influences into a cohesive whole. On it he sings and plays acoustic guitar, not until later will he consider himself proficient enough to record other stringed instruments. Typically, the LP starts in fusion mode, with a spine-tingling eastern motif, which morphs into an upbeat version of Leadbelly's Leaving Blues. The LP ends in jazz invention, with a version of Better Git in Your Soul, originally by Charles Mingus. In between, the material ranges from folk balladeering, to interpretations of songs by Broonzy, Dylan, Elliot (a spritely version of Cocaine, in contrast to the super laid-back JJ Cale version). Personal favourites on this one are the pacy and dexterous moroccan workout, Tangiers, and the glacial Norwegian tune Black is the Colour of My True Love's Hair, Graham's clear vocals backed by sinewy drones and arabesques. An essential record, and enough to ensure Davy Graham a place in guitar legend, but there more adventures ahead. Score a copy, if you can, and be awe-struck.
For his next album, Folk Routes, New Routes (Decca 1964) Graham played guitar accompaniment to one of the best known UK folk singers of the time, Shirley Collins. Collins had already upset the traditional folk establishment by using strange American stringed instruments like banjo, autoharp and mountain dulcimer to back the usually unaccompanied British folk songs she sang (hard to imagine anyone caring about this today, but this was the mid-60s) so she had no problem being accompanied by a fusion master like Graham. I'm not a huge fan of Collins' voice per se, I find it tends towards the academic and passionless (like someone - I can't remember who - once said about Joy Division "there is no warmth here, only accuracy"), but her pure and detached vocals work well with Graham's aesthetic, to produce a chemistry that is transcendental. It had everything from Davy's instrumental takes on Thelonious Monk, to Collins' medieval pieces accompanied and unaccompanied. In 1975, Karl Dallas wrote in his notes to The Electric Muse compilation, "It was there, at that instant, electric folk, folk rock, call it what you will, was born". Get the reissue on Righteous Records from 1980 if you can, the Decca was released Mono, and is probably unobtainable anyway, and the reissue presents the original stereo recording for the first time.
Although Davy Graham's releases became more infrequent through the rest of the 60s and 70s, two others are worth tracking down. Large as Life and Twice as Natural (London 1968) follows the pattern set by Folk, Blues and Beyond, dishing out the usual eclectic folk, blues, jazz, Arabic and Indian mixture. The Complete Guitarist (Kicking Mule 1977) concentrated on the blues and Folk aspects of his muse. There were no North African or Indian pieces because he had decided to only play these pieces on the original instruments, which he was in the process of mastering, and would not record as he said in typical fashion "when I'm at a professional standard". This he did on Dance for Two People (Kicking Mule 1979), playing the Arabic Oud, North Indian Sarod, and the Greek Bouzouki, in addition to the usual guitars. The broader expression possible with these instruments opened up a whole new range of options for Graham...but since I'm still trying to find out what he did next, that's another story.
Date: Thu, 2 Nov 1995 12:37:41 -0500
]Speaking of which, what Sun Ra stuff do people suggest as a good ]starting point?
My faves (out of the 25 or so CDs of his I have):
1) Cosmic Tones For Mental Therapy/ Art Forms Of Dimension Tomorrow- Evidence
2) Other Planes Of There, The Magic City, Atlantis (all on Evidence), The Heliocentric Worlds of, Vol.1 (ESP)
These are all from arguably his farthest "out" period, the latter half of the sixties. A great record that's not as far out is Strange Celestial Road (Rounder), from 1980 or so. It's only a half hour long though.
Date: Thu, 2 Nov 1995 17:06:32 -0600 (CST)
From: "K. Moist" [firstname.lastname@example.org]
I agree totally with all Jon's recommendations, and would only add:
_Nothing Is_, on ESP, recorded the year after the _Heliocentric Worlds_ stuff, live on tour at colleges in New York state. Oh, to've been there. Every bit as wild as anything else from this period, and kinda underrated.
_Sun Song_, maybe his first record, 1956, real weird space-age reinterpretation of Ellington's rich textures. Delmark's cd reish has a beautiful booklet with art and photos and Sonny's poetry.
Been listening to _Fantastic Sounds Of..._ from 1961 too, not quite as crazy but still plenty curious, may've been Ra's (and probably Savoy's, too, seeing a market) attempt at an "exotica" album.
Also VERY worth ingesting is the early-70s film _Space is the Place_, a bizarre hr-long independently-made feature that sorta works as _Superfly_ meets _The Day the Earth Stood Still_, blaxploitation in outer space. The Arkestra, returning to earth one last time, tries to convince the African race to throw off oppression and move to the outer-space paradise they've created. The scene where Ra "raps" with the kids in the urban school is ... uh, odd. The FBI are the baddies, trying to stop his message of liberation. Movie ends with the Arkestra flying off into space and destroying the planet earth. I kid you not. It's out on video now, shouldn't be too hard to find. Some intense scenes of the band in concert (though not nearly enough, really).
Date: Sat, 23 Apr 1994 17:06:37 -0500 (EST)
heres my 2 cents on 1st vu purchase:
1) The "banana album" (w/Nico) . . . very diverse, some tunes quite "mellow", "haunting", "precious" or what have you (_i'll be your mirror_ and _sunday morning_ quite good, latter is especially meaningful after a saturday nigth, or any night for that matter i guess, or losing touvh with your mind). other tunes are wild orgies of lou's feedback/fuzz/tortured guitar throwing up interference for cale's wiling, screaming viola (esp _heroine_) . . . also contains classic tune _waiting for the man_ about white punk trying to score dope in harlem . . . lyrically i feels its reed at his best . . . _heroine can be read as commentary on man's detachment from everything but his own private pursuits, whatever these happen to be ("because when the smack begins to flow, then i really don't care anymo' . . ."
2) white light/white heat -- basically vu invents punk, a mind melting feedback/fuze/distortion etc extravaganza . . . many intensely dislike this album so its a risk best known cut is _Sister Ray_, a 17 min + descent into sonic hell, but some lesser known tunes of contrasting calm and serenity also on disc
3) the velvet underground -- a complete change of pace which alienated many velvet fans when 1st released. also, 1st post-cale album which also lost the band some fans . . . very introspective and "clean", i.e. fuzz etc is no where to be found, or rather heard. contains classic rocker _what goes on_ w/reed's mutliple toned "ostrich" guitar
4) Loaded -- basically, a vu pop album w/_sweet jane_ and _rock and roll_ the two songs most frequently cited when some blowheard cites reed's ticket to the mythical rock and roll hall of fame . . . rest of the album is uneven . . . seems like followers of the drone scene wouldn't go for this one much
hope this helps
From: email@example.com (TP Uschanov)
Subject: Velvet Underground Appreciation Society
Date: Mon, 9 Jan 1995
I like to think of them as sort of a Freemason equivalent (yes, the Velvets influence was _that big_), but in reality I don't know anything about them except they have a newsletter, offer tapes of related material (incl members of the Dream Syndicate, so they have Lamonte radio broadcast tapes etc) and probably all really hate REM's _dead letter office_. I think I have an address swimming around in my account somewhere, if anyone cares I'll post it to the list or send it or whatever.
A good description. They have a tape series of around 50-60 C90 audio tapes and around 15 videos, all of related material, and periodically auction off duplicates in their archives. Besides the newsletter, they occasionally (the VUAS was established in 1979, and by '91 they had reached #4) put out an absolutely fabulous full-size fanzine devoted to the VU, _What Goes On_. BTW, the disclaimers in the info box of _WGO_ about the writers' opinions being their own includes a sentence to the effect that the publishers 'actually have no trouble with R.E.M. or Lou Reed'. Real nice!
The address is
M. C. Kostek
5721 Souteast Laguna Ave.
Stuart, FL 34997-7828
A Velvet Underground WWW site is located at: http://www.infi.net/~aland/vu/
There is a USENET newsgroup called alt.music.lou-reed which occasionally gets some VU talk, but most of the focus is on the Reed solo albums.
There's a John Cale web page located at http://faraday.ucd.ie/~eoin/johncale.html
A Cale mailing list is also available. To subscribe to the John Cale list, send mail to "firstname.lastname@example.org" and include the word "subscribe" in the subject field (not in the body text).
Date: Sat, 11 Nov 1995 14:40:53 +0200 (EET)
From: T P Uschanov [email@example.com]
MGM's chief staff engineer, Val Valentin, mixed the third album, but a little too late Lou wanted it withdrawn and replaced with his own, quieter "closet" mix. So the U.S., where the album had already shipped, and the rest of the world ended up having different mixes until the 1985 remastering job using the Valentin mix.
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 95 17:20 EST
From: "kevin m" [KMM104@PSUVM.PSU.EDU]
To respond to the bit of confusion in the preceding review:
"Bull..." was the 13th Floor Elevators fourth and final album, and considered by most fans to be their absolute worst (barring that fake live album, of course, which actually had some pretty good demo performances buried under the annoying crowd noise). There remains some confusion even among big fans as to the circumstances of its recording and the actual identity of the musicians on it; not, I think, their finest moment.
That honor would have to be reserved for their first two albums, "Psychedelic Sounds of the..." and "Easter Everywhere". Both of these are total knockouts, and should have a hallowed spot in the collection of anyone who claims to have an interest in things psych. The first is more assaultive and acid-wild crazed, feat. the all-time classics "Rollercoaster", "You're Gonna Miss Me", "Splash 1", and...well...the whole darn thing, really. The second is a bit less frantic, more mystical perhaps, though no less intense; "Slip Inside this House" remains my fave Elevators performance (and Primal Scream should be summarily executed for their idiocy).
There're lots of shoddy bootlegs around masquerading as real albums, live or demo material. Avoid at all costs.
One other Elevator release of great note is the second volume of the "Psychedelic Microdots" series on Sundazed records (subtitled "Texas Twisted"). There are a few good to middling cuts by other groups, but the majority of the disc is taken up by some simply amazing live performances by the group recorded for local TV station's teen dance party show. I can only imagine what those go-go dancing youngsters must've thought when Roky & the boys launched into "Rollercoaster" or "Fire Engine"; amazing, over-the-top versions, plus a few covers are bashed into submission. There's even a hilarious interview segment in which the idiotic host tries to figure out the musical jug thing.
Anyway, enjoy, and don't hurt yourself.
Couple of 13FE and Roky WWW sites of note here:
There is a lengthy and very complete site for Glenn Branca at:
A HUGE Hawkwind web site can be found at http://www.pcmicro.com.au/~Sonique/Hawkwind/. If it's not on this site, it doesn't exist.
To: firstname.lastname@example.org (Verbok List)
From: Tony Dale [email@example.com]
Subject: Re: Transatlantic trove and lineage questions
At 07:56 PM 22/04/96 -0500, Phil answered Josh thus:
]] Shit, and I want to find out what the good Fairport albums are, but again ]] I'm prob. asking to be roundly chastised by list-admin . . . ] ]First one, Unhalfbricking, Holidays and Fotheringay get my vote. Most would ]probably recommend Liege & Leif though.
Fotheringay a Fairport, are you sure about that, Phil? Fotheringay was the band the Sandy Denny formed when she left FC after _Liege and Lief_, and before returning to Fairport for _Rising For the Moon_. Anyway, the Fotheringay disc is a pretty good display of Denny's songwriting, although I mainly remember it for the epic traditional piece _Banks of the Nile_. In the US it was on A&M, and shouldn't be that to find.
Fairport travelled nicely for albums two to five (_What We Did On our Holidays_, _Unhalfbricking_, _Leige and Leif_ and _Full House_), and these are ones to go for. The first album (before Denny joined) was almost totally derivative of the US scene at the time and is best ignored. _Holidays_ (untitled in the US for some reason) and _Unhalfbricking_ must have seemed revolutionary at the time they were released. _Holidays_ had extraordinary versions of "Nottamun Fair" (owing more than a tad to the Grahams/Collins version on _Folk Routes, New Routes_) and "She Moved Through the Fair" (chord-waves creating an oceanic space for Denny's voice to sail through). It also had the stunning Denny ballad "Fotheringay" and of course the early Richard Thompson gem "Meet on the Ledge". It also had some clangers "The Lord is in This Place..." and some period filler (obligatory Dylan and Mitchell). _Unhalfbricking_ had some more great originals (Denny's _Autopsy_ is still striking, and you get another version of what I guess is her theme song, "Who Knows Where the Time Goes" - another for the Thompson C90, "Genesis Hall") the visionary supercharging of the trad "A Sailors Life". The rest of the _Unhalfbricking_ material doesn't stand up as well, but probably seemed like a good idea at the time ("Si Tu Dois Partir").
I'm one of those that think it all came together for this band once (and only once) on LP, on _Leige and Leif_, an item that I never seem to tire of playing. There seemed to be a mystical link between Thompson's guitar and Swarbrick's violin, that sent this one into the stratosphere, particularly in the blood-and-thunder dynamics of "Matty Groves" or the slashing supernatural swirl of "Tam Lin". Throw in two of Thompson's most beautifully crafted songs, "Crazy Man Michael" and "Farewell, Farewell" and some pretty cool instrumental folking around, and you got one essential piece of work, after which unfortunately it was mostly downhill. Then followed a steady loss of the talent base, first Denny, then Thompson, then Ashley Hutchings (to form Steeleye Span), and a corresponding decline in release quality. _Full House_ had lots of Thompson guitar and reasonable material, but was under-powered in the vocal department. After that you don't wanna know except for maybe the Sandy one-off reunion thing _Rising For the Moon_, but you would have to be keen.
One obscure coda to this saga was an LP, released by Hannibal in 1987 called _Heyday_, which collected a range of material recorded for BBC radi sessions from 1968 and 1969, with mostly the A team line up. Picked it up on a trip to the US. It contained mostly covers of US stuff, but a much more interesting set of choices, like Richard Farina's "Reno, Nevada" and Gene Clark's "Tried So Hard". I didn't get to hear it though, since when I de-shrinkwrapped the thing I discovered an LP of Bulgarian folk music inside (a similarly numbered release on Hannibal, also produced by Joe Boyd - there has to be more than one of him). It was pretty cool though. So if any one has the jacket of _Balkana - The Music of Bulgaria_, with FC's _Heyday_ inside...
There are a huge number of Pink Floyd Internet resources out there, mostly oriented to the hardcore Floyd fans. DroneOn isn't a Floyd list, but DroneOn does intersect every so often with pre-Dark Side PF, i.e. the Syd albums, More, Ummagumma, Atom Heart Mother, Meddle, and Obscured By Clouds. Drone fans are advised to check out any of the numerous live bootlegs. especially those from 1970 through 1974 or so, in which the band experimented around with what in the studio became "classic rock hits", but were quite psychedelic.
Not surprisingly, one of the better Floyd WWW sites is the PF bootleg database at http://www.pf-roio.de
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 95 17:20 EST
From: "kevin m" [KMM104@PSUVM.PSU.EDU]
Subject: yes spirit
Ahhh, I'm afraid I'm gonna hafta totally disagree with every potted opinion of this band that's been put forth here; I mean, if yer gonna knock somebody, at least bother to know what they're on about, eh? Spirit were a really damn innovative 5-piece from CA who made more records than they probably should've, but the first four are really pretty great (the best are 1968's _The Family that Plays Together_ and 1970's _12 Dreams of Doctor Sardonicus_ [uh, it's a JOKE, dummy]); there's a double cd out on Columbia/Legacy that captures most of the best moments from this period (66-70) and is every bit as essential as that Moby Grape set for capturing all the facets of one of the more important bands of a still-amazing musical time. I dunno if I'd even talk of their music "aging", because no one's really been able to duplicate it, tho some of Bevis's stuff does head in that direction. The group was musically spot-on; Randy California remains one of the most underrated guitar players ever (he worked with Hendrix in 65-66 and was cricual in developing that kinda approach, though his general unwillingness to be a wanking showboat artist has clouded the appreciation of his gains). Probably more than any other group of the time (or since, for that matter), Spirit was a real musical melting pot (emphasis on...), bringing together aspects of blues and acid-rock and jazz and folk and etc., pulling them all into a brew that really swings in its own way, and can certainly rock when it wants to. Actually, in that way I suppose their work hasn't "dated" well, as the trend of today is to do one thing, and one thing only -- I can't count the number of lame one-note bands around today who have one song or sound and just run it into the ground over and over (cf. Luna, Slint, Pavement, etc.). What used to be called genius is now called lack of focus. Anyway, as with all incoporative experiments, Spirit did occasionally fall short of its pretty lofty goals (sometimes different styles of music just don't wanna go together), but their success percentage was a helluva lot better than most of the lame indie-rock albums I've had to listen to for review purposes lately, and they mostly avoided the inherent traps in genre-splicing (i.e. Camper Van Beethoven "look-at-what-we're-doing" cutesiness; CVB never could hold a candle to the original Kaleidoscope, who managed to do every single thing CVB did much better, and 20 years earlier to boot). I mean, shit -- pompous? progressive? Where do you people get this stuff? If anyone's interested and has a turntable, pick up a copy of _12 Dreams_, it's usually pretty easy to find for 5-10 bucks used, and is probably their most cohesive thang overall.
shaking my head in wonder,
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 1996 19:35:30 +0100
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Phil McMullen)
Subject: Spiritually speaking
... the first album, 'Spirit' (1968), is a truly amazing amalgam of spiked West Coast imagery and acid-jazz maneouvers, but the (rarer, tends to be overlooked) 'Clear' from 1969 - the album that preceeded '12 Dreams' - is the one that blows the minds of most initiates, songs like the hauntingly ethereal 'Ice' and stomach-churning stereo feedback guitar of 'Dark Eyed Woman' proving unforgettable once heard.
Incidentally, apropos a recent list thread - few people realise 'Clear' was originally the soundtrack to a forgotten 60s hippy exploitation movie, 'The Model Shop'. Certain list persons will wish to know that a couple of sequences were filmed in a brothel (the Model Shop of the title). I saw a print of the film a few years back and it's easy to see why it was forgotten.
'The Family That Plays Together' (1968) is, next to '12 Dreams', the best known early Spirit album - contains the track 'I Got A Line On You' which was an obligatory piece of filler on just about every 70s rock compilation LP at one time. Best track by far though is the adventurous and doom-laden 'Aren't You Glad'.
'Feedback' (1971) is appalling drivel and best ignored, in fact nothing much of note was released until 1975 (sic) when the remarkable double LP 'Spirit of '76' appeared out of the blue. If you've previously ignored this thinking it was typical mid-70s FM rock by an overblown remnant of the 60s, think again - it's got some amazing guitar work on it and some thoroughly weird trips through the space/time continuum. I'm not sure if that one's out on CD though - I'd be interested to know if anyone's seen it. And if you thought that was weird, check out 'Future Games' from 1977 which is so fried, scrambled and thoroughly completely out-there it continues to defy description.
Finally, ignore the two LPs that came out in between those two ('Son of Spirit' and 'Father Along') and anything released by the band since.
Ask a friendly tape trader to run off a copy of 'Potatoland' for you, as well. Originally recorded in 1973 and never released (although an album of that title came out in 1981 which included a couple of tarted up titles from the original sessions plus some dubbed on conceptual gibberish) it's a scary acid trip through a nightmarish 1984 type scenario wherein the guitar work'll end shivers up your spine if the storyline or melody doesn't get you first.
Anybody out there still awake? Hello?
The penultimate source for all things Eno is EnoWeb which can be found at http://www.hyperreal.com/music/artists/brian_eno/
Date: Mon, 1 Aug 94 19:03 EDT
From: "kevin m" [KMM104@PSUVM.PSU.EDU]
Subject: Re: bands bands bands
I'll also leave the Dead C descriptions to others, as I couldn't do them justice or something like that. Or maybe I just don't have an opinion on them (which probably says something in and of itself).
The Godz, on the other hand, I can certainly rave about, tho perhaps not as eloquently as mr. lester bangs (check out his essay on them reprinted in _Psychotic Reactions and Carbuerator Dung_ for the full drool). The Godz were the original geniuses of stumblingly inspired drug-whacked ineptitude, beside whom just about all modern comers pale miserably in comparison. The real gems are the first two albums, _Contact High_ and _Godz 2_, both of which have some totally amazing moronic freakouts, caterwauling for caterwauling's sake you might say. The second also adds some dark, pounding garagedrone to the mix (they must've learned a chord) and is probably my fave by them. The third album (name escapes me right now) is pretty good as well, some fine numbers sitting beside some almost-competent maybe- "serious" stuff that is pretty hard to figger. Any later release under the Godz name should be avoided like cold spit on the sidewalk.
Hope this helps. Don't say I didn't warn ya.
Subject: Re: Godz Date: 01/23 8:43 PM From: Brian MacDonald, email@example.com To: DroneOn List, droneon@UCSD.EDU
On Thu, 23 Jan 1997 firstname.lastname@example.org wrote: ) Can anyone tell me about the band the Godz? Info such as what they sound ) like, which albums are good (in a droney kind of distorted way). ) thanks ) scott
Which Godz, the seminal pioneers of inept rock from the 60s? Or the octane-breath metal gurus from the 70s?
The following assumes the former: [Funny enough, a similar thread exists on sick-n-tired]
Well, first off, Lester Bangs described them best in his book with the title I'm ashamed of forgetting ("Psychotic Reactions.. Blah Blah") The Godz are it -- having released three worthwhile albums on ESP...(anything afterwards is by all accounts passable)..Here are the three records
Contact High With The Godz (1966)
The Third Testament (1968)
The Godz are/were [forgive for any screwups, I'm trying to remember this off the top of my head]:
Jim McCarthy: mainly guitar/mainly vocals
Paul Thornton: mainly percussion/mainly guitar
Jay Dillon: mainly guitar/mainly violin(?)/mainly miscellaneous
Larry Kessler: mainly bass
The first album is a 20-something minute long exercise in playing mystic folk songs while doing everything possible *NOT* to tune their guitars. Oh yeah.. lots of imitations of cats in heat too. I guess the beginnings of "lo-fi". Not too much variety here, and may get annoying to even those who don't mind annoying music. What keeps the music interesting is the relentless of the guitars that keep hammering away at their dissonant chords louder and louder as the song continues...
The second album is the most liked generally. More variety and fun. I *really* like the Beatles cover -- "You Won't See Me".. very bare and heartrendering.. of course, they cover it twice in the same song. (when you hear it, what I just said will make sense)... All in all, it's a more "together" album while still be completely incoherent. (Hopefully that will make sense too). "2" is the best choice for first Godz album. By the way, there is a song on this album called "Permanent Green Light" which I guess is where the L.A. pop sensation of the same name (feat. Michael Quercio formerly of the 3 0'Clock) got their moniker. The song itself though is hardly pop... probably the darkest song on the album. Also the closer.
The third album isn't purely Godz, but contains recordings by Godz mutations Dogz and The Multitude. This is my favorite album. Lots of noisy noodlings... more animal sounds... and interesting alphabetic jams ("I"M A BOYD!!"). Of course, the part of this album which most folks *don't* like are the more accessible folk songs like "Ruby Red", "Walking Guitar Blues(sp?)", "Like A Sparrow". But these songs IMHO are still great and contain some not-yet-perfect tunings.
After that, I guess things go downhill quick. From hereon, the Godz allegedly try to become "good" and destroy what makes them so charming. There are 3 more releases on ESP from this era, including a Jim McCarthy solo album.
Believe it or not, the Godz didn't officially breakup until 1978 or so. (With Paul Thornton being the last original member)... That's even after the Casablanca motorbike Godz broke up I think..
Subject: the Godz Date: 01/24 9:35 AM From: Daniel.Selzer@oberlin.edu To: DroneOn List, droneon@UCSD.EDU
The Godz were part of the jazz and esperanto speaking record label ESPs attempts at rock music in the 60s. They also released Pearls Before Swine, Peter Stampfel and playwrite/actor Sam Shephard'd the Holy Modal Rounders and of course the Fugs(also on broadside and fantasy) The Godz were the punkiest and least folk. Their first two albums, Contact High and 2(or Radar Eyes) are the best. The 3rd has some okay stuff and the rest pretty much don't. Radar Eyes is my favorite and as far as noisy drone stuff, has Radar Eyes a repetitious punk tune and Where, a 4 minute song with the lyrics, "Where" Theres also some free-form freekout improv political noise stuff, like a cross between the Fugs doing CIA man or something with the Nihilism Spasm Band. Also recommended is the british Godz tribute album, which includes a 7" by one of the members(kessler, i think, don't recall) which is aweful, plus useless covers by thurstan moore's male slut. the price is worth it for the excellent covers by Stereolab and Quickspace Supersport(the best thing they've ever done)