Sunday, August 5, 2012

26 x 26 x 33

Today, a challenge. Stay indoors, finish off photo albums and stuff... and play only vinyl LPs that I haven’t played for 26 or more years ago, one for each letter of the alphabet. Just side one. Will this reveal some hidden gems, or will it be several hours of rubbish? Let’s see…
- Amon Duul II  Live in London (1973) – never liked them much, tried this one again… nah…
- Jacques Berrocal  Musiq Musik (1973) – his first album on the semi-legendary Futura label, and way before he formed Catalogue. Very free jazz, very improv, but refreshing after the Duul dirge.
- Chris & Cosey & John Lacey  Elemental 7 (1984) – underwhelming soundtrack to a video made by the three of them, which I think must have included a performance I saw in the summer of ’83 in which they made a garden inside a strange building somewhere near Great Portland Street in London. Dome were also playing…
- Dome  Dome 2 (1980) – austere, post-#1 Wire. I loved this at the time but it was just too angstsy now.
- Embryo  Embryo’s Reise (1979) – double album documenting a tour through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India on three battered buses, possibly the last of the hippy ‘magic bus’ jaunts before Khomeini ousted the Shah and the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. Some of it is live, some recorded on their return to Germany. Better than I remembered it.
- Fluence  Fluence (1978) – originally released in 1975 but my copy’s a ’78 re-release, although still pretty obscure I should think. Fluence was a one-off project by Pascal Comelade, with a few friends, notably Richard Pinhas. It sounds very Heldon-ish.
- Gentle Giant  Live: Playing the Fool (1977) – I liked a lot of prog – still do to some extent – but could never get into GG. This is dire.
- Richard Horowitz  Eros in Arabia (1981) – fine North African inspired debut album on Ethnotech Records, reverse-credited to Drahcir Ztiworoh (god knows why; he was hardly signed to another label at the time). Went on to work with Sussan Deihim and score part of Bertolucci’s The Sheltering Sky.
- Ilitch  10 Suicides (1980) – great lost album by French ‘band’ (Thierry Muller & co), although I believe it’s been re-released recently. It came out of the Industrial scene, but despite being abrasive, sounds fresh & fairly accessible. “Waiting for Mabelle” is wonderful.
- Scott Johnson  John Somebody (1986) – tricksy edited vocal loops and electric guitar aspiring to the work of Steve Reich (whose Different Trains was similarish). Got bored of it after a while though.
- Kitaro  Silk Road II (1980) – soundtrack to a Japanese TV documentary about the Silk Road which sold millions and effectively made his name. A welcome, if somewhat saccharine, relief after J-J-John Somebody…  
- Lady June  Linguistic Leprosy (1974) – eccentric poet & artist who moved in the circles of Kevin Ayers, Pip Pyle, Eno and David Vorhaus (they all play on this). This was apparently recorded for 400 quid in the front room of her Maida Vale flat where she held legendary parties (one of which ended tragically for Robert Wyatt when he fell out of a third floor window and broke his back).
- Meredith Monk  Turtle Dreams (1983) – heavily influenced by Philip Glass. Actually the vocals grated after a while. I prefer her next album, Do You Be.
- Negativland  Negativland (1980) – Their first album, released in unique sleeves on their own label, Seeland (you could tell they were Neu! fans) - mine's a square of wallpaper and a ripped out recipe. I think it’s pretty rare now. It’s OK, the sort of stuff I liked at the time. They would later become (in)famous for sampling and being ‘sued by U2’ (actually, Island Records, not U2). 
- Operating Theatre  Rapid Eye Movements (1981) - aka Irish composer Roger Doyle. Bric-a-brac electro-acoustics, thoroughly at home on United Dairies. He’s still active.
- Pyrolator  Inland (1979) – aka Kurt Dahlke, ex-DAF, Der Plan and Fehlfarben. Fairly cold electronic album, barely realised it was on.  
- Queen  Greatest Hits (1981) – oh, for more Qs..
- Eric Random  Earthbound Ghost Need (1982) – unsung Manchester-based post-punk musician involved with Cabaret Voltaire, Pete Shelley, Free Agents, Nico etc. Actually, I have played side 2 quite recently (great version of Ravel’s Bolero) but not side one.
- Yochk’o Seffer  Delire (1976) – French saxophonist, ex-Magma; this is the first of his Neffesh Music series with various musicians. Very improv, and somehow both dreamy & earthy after Random.
- Telex  Sex (1981) – a minor revelation. This was their third album, with lyrics by Ron & Russel Mael of Sparks. The year before they’d represented Belgium in the Eurovision Song Contest, hoping to finish last which they nearly achieved had Portugal not given them 10 points towards the end. Just wiki-d their founder, Marc Moulin: hadn’t realised he had died (of cancer) four years ago. Good guy: one-time member of Aksak Maboul, produced Anna Domino, Sparks etc
- Univers Zero  Univers Zero (1977) – French avant chamber rock, part of the Rock In Opposition ‘movement’. Still sounds fresh. They’re still going.
- Patrick Vian  Bruits et Temps Analogues (1976) – son of poet & jazz musician, Boris Vian. Used to be in legendary group Red Noise, then made this solo album, which sounds surprisingly good still… and then he disappeared.
- Wishbone Ash  Classic Ash (1977) – compilation. You know what? After all the difficult stuff, this was a breath of fresh air. I saw them once, in 1978.
- X-beliebig  X-beliebig (1982) – young Austrian band (I think they were all in their teens) who made this one album, heavily influenced by The Cure and Joy Division.
- Stomu Yamash’ta & Go Project  Go Live (1977) – a sort of Island Records super group with Yamash’ta, Steve Winwood, Al di Meola, Klaus Schulze and Michael Shrieve, but a real damp squib.
- Zed  Visions of Dune (1979) – alter ego and first album by Bernard Szajner, better known as the inventor of the Laser Harp (and less known as a member of The Hypothetical Prophets and collaborator with Howard Devoto). Still a good album.

Did this tell me anything?  For some reason a lot of it was French.  Don't I have something better to do with my time?  Should I get rid of half of them?  Well, like my CDs or the 12,000 songs on iTunes, there’s good, mediocre and bad stuff. Perhaps a minor cull might be in order, but do you think I can be bothered to get on e-Bay? Not really.


  1. Hm, 10 of those I have on vinyl too....and Pyrolator I listened to last week (CD re-release) and Kirato 2 weeks ago....Sad my vinyl is still in 2 storage places. Zed had a very good CD re-release, but I'm the same, still keeping all my vinyl....

  2. Well, half on them I've never heard. No. Really.
    Listened to Richard Horowitz a couple of months ago - felt it was way too long.
    Pyrolator I couldn't get away with when I listened to again after a few years.
    Zed & Univers Zero, still wonderful.
    Keep meaning to listen to the Embryo again, really liked it when I first got it.
    Don't like the live version of GO, but the studio I still like.

  3. Hi both. It was an interesting experiment. Glad I limited it to side one only though. Of course, I could only get away with this while the cat's away...