Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet —
Landfall ... CD Nonesuch, 2018. New Copy ...
A beautiful collaboration between two of the most important forces in leftfield music in the early 80s – multi-media artist Laurie Anderson and modern string legends Kronos Quartet – coming together here in an extended Anderson composition inspired by the experience of Hurricane Sandy! It's been years since we've last heard from Laurie, and she's really returned to her roots here – still using her voice a bit, but also playing violin a fair bit too, along with keyboards, samples, percussion, and lots of her unusual filters and other electronic elements. Most selections are sort, and work together beautifully – almost in territory that might be described as a string quartet take on the modes of United States. Titles include "All The Extinct Animals", "Built You A Mountain", "Darkness Falls", "Dreams Translated", "The Water Rises", "Our Street Is A Black River", "Nothing Left But Their Names", "Thunder Continues In The Aftermath", "Old Motors & Helicopters", and "Everything Is Floating". (Rock, Out Sound)CD
Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet —
Landfall ... LP Nonesuch, 2018. New Copy 2LP ...
A beautiful collaboration between two of the most important forces in leftfield music in the early 80s – multi-media artist Laurie Anderson and modern string legends Kronos Quartet – coming together here in an extended Anderson composition inspired by the experience of Hurricane Sandy! It's been years since we've last heard from Laurie, and she's really returned to her roots here – still using her voice a bit, but also playing violin a fair bit too, along with keyboards, samples, percussion, and lots of her unusual filters and other electronic elements. Most selections are sort, and work together beautifully – almost in territory that might be described as a string quartet take on the modes of United States. Titles include "All The Extinct Animals", "Built You A Mountain", "Darkness Falls", "Dreams Translated", "The Water Rises", "Our Street Is A Black River", "Nothing Left But Their Names", "Thunder Continues In The Aftermath", "Old Motors & Helicopters", and "Everything Is Floating". (Rock, Out Sound)LP, Vinyl record album
Aqueduct Ensemble is more of a duo than the large group you'd expect from their name – but they manage to serve up some very spacious sounds over the course of these improvised tracks! The core of the group features Stu on piano and Kit on woodwinds and electronics – acoustic elements that are often layered a bit, with currents that move far from jazz into more lyrical soundscapes – maybe somewhere in that world after the ECM experiments of the 70s, when instrumental groups from a variety of different scenes were making subtle, beautiful records like this! We might put this material somewhere in the sonic territory of Durutti Column, Penquin Cafe Orchestra, or any number of records from the Benelux scene – but there's also a more pastoral quality to the album that really gives it a special vibe. Titles include "Potter's View North", "Borrowed Sax Test", "Cut Grass 1 to 3", "In Perfect Air", and "To Close Without Saving". (Jazz, Out Sound)LP, Vinyl record album
Bernard Baschet/Michel Deneuve/Alain Dumont —
4 Espaces Sonores ... LP Transversales Disques (France), 1979. New Copy 2LP Gatefold ...
A very cool entry in the underground legacy of 70s sound sculpture recordings – that is, recordings that were made based around the sounds created by specific objects designed to make noise! In Chicago, we had Harry Bertoia, whose creations were often designed to interact with organic forces – but the Baschet brothers in France had a more dynamic approach – one that almost had them creating these sculptures that were like Harry Partch instruments, but played in a more indirect way! The title here – four sound spaces – should give you a good idea of the vibe of the record – as there's often as much space around the sounds as the sounds themselves – with each performance utilizing the sculptures as a way to sonically explore the space in which they reside. Titles include "Resurgence", "Errance", "Iranon", and "Polykinese". LP, Vinyl record album
Franco Battiato —
Pollution ... LP Superior Viaduct, 1972. New Copy Gatefold ...
A really full-on early set from Franco Battiato – a set that's maybe halfway between some of his more avant compositions and some of the modes of the Italian prog scene at the time! The album's a concept one, based on the growing pollution of the planet – in a mode that's maybe similar to Earth Rot, by David Axelrod – and like that set, Battiato mixes together unusual sounds and ideas with some more straightforward rockish passages. Battiato works with a small group of musicians – and while guitar steps to the lead at some points, others very much more abstract sounds and forms. Titles include "Il Silenzio Del Rumore", "31 Dicembre 1999 – Ore 9", "Beta", "Plancton", "Pollution", and "Areknames". LP, Vinyl record album
Robert Craft conducts these 2 modern orchestral works by Boulez and Stockhausen. The Stockhausen piece, as you'd expect from the name, is played by a small woodwind ensemble. The Boulez work is performed by a slightly larger group, and the instrumentation is voice, flute, viola, vibes, xylophone, guitar, and assorted percussion. (Classical, Out Sound)LP, Vinyl record album
(6 Eye mono pressing. Includes insert with notes on the music by the conductor. Cover has a split spine.)
They're not kidding with the title of this one – as the album leaps off to a very dramatic style, right from the start – with a surprisingly noisy sound titled after the incubation of the heavens! That noise moves aside a bit as the album moves on, but the whole thing still stays very strongly in the fuzzy, freaky territory you might know from other Italian rarities issued under the name of Braen and Raskovich – which were both studio pseudonyms for Alessandro Alessandroni and Giuliano Sorgini! Yet despite the fame of both of those artists in other settings, they're very much in a different space here – not just psych-inspired sound library modes, but also pre-industrial sounds too – of a style that seems to hint at the darker depths of the British underground in the post-punk years. At times, if we told you the album was a project by Throbbing Gristle, you wouldn't be surprised – and like TG, there's some surprisingly tuneful points amidst the noisier moments. Titles include "Dispersi", "Accerchiamento", "Linea Di Resistenza", "Insidia", "Ultimo Istante", and "Avanzata". (Sound Library, Out Sound)LP, Vinyl record album
A remade version of an album recorded by this enigmatic German duo in the mid 70s, but never issued at the time – resurrected from its original tapes in the mid 90s, and augmented in ways that really open up the sound, while still keeping the core of the music intact! The instrumentation here is a bit more dynamic than on earlier Flute & Voice projects – and uses a bit of keyboards, electric guitars, and more acoustic strings with the two elements of the group's name – so much so, the music almost features more of those other aspects than just flute and voice! Things are relatively spare, and mostly instrumental throughout – kind of at a spot where prog moves into spaciousness, like the start of the Sky Records scene. Titles include "Dear President", "Drachenlied", "Ruth's Blues", "Wie Lange", "Zwolf Monde", and "Bajazzo". (Rock, Out Sound)LP, Vinyl record album
Remi Gassman and Oskar Sala each present pieces of modern electronic music in this hard to find LP for Westminster, very much in the style that was in vogue in New York in the 50s and early 60s. Gassman performs his "Electronic Music For the Ballet Electronics", which has a spare spooky sound, and Sala gives us "Five Improvisations On Magnetic Tape" – which are a bunch of short electronic tracks with a fragile, yet noisy feel to them. As the back of the record says "If anyone cares, this record has a dynamic range of 51 dB. Its lowest frequency is 15.4 cycles per second, its highest fundamental 3951 cps, the highest harmonis or overtone 15806 cps. It can blow out speakers, traumatize cats and arouse the landlord." LP, Vinyl record album
Cathy Berberian —
Pop Art ... LP Vinyl Ermitage, Late 60s/1970s. New Copy ...
Cathy Berberian's a hell of a hip singer – one who could work in very avant modes, yet also get name-checked by Donald Fagan at the same time – thanks to the wide-ranging scope of her work! That scope is explored very fully here – as Berberian performs a range of material that runs from sharp commentary by Kurt Weill, to very offbeat performances of Beatles material, to some more familiar avant vocal material – scored by frequent partner Luciano Berio, as well as William Walton – and even featuring one piece composed by Berberian herself! Titles include "Stripsody", "Sequenza III", "Avendo Gran Disio", "Tarantella", "Song Of Sexual Slavery", "Surabaya Johnny", "Yesterday", "Ticket To Ride", "Something Lies Beyond The Scene", and "Michelle". LP, Vinyl record album
A really moody little sound library record – heavy on analogue electronics, but used in ways that are nicely changed up from track to track – and quite different than the usual library album of this style! Some tracks are light and tuneful, but others are quite dark and experimental – sometimes almost verging into territory that's not too far from Throbbing Gristle, especially on one weird vocal number! Even the lighter tunes are offbeat – maybe more in the territory of early 80s German groups like Pyrolator or Der Plan – showing once again that most of the sound library scene was years ahead of its time – given the freedom they had to experiment. Titles include "Oscillazione", "Caotico", "Dinamica", "Fede", "Sereno", "Speranza", "Miraggio", and "Ricerca Chimica". (Sound Library, Out Sound)LP, Vinyl record album
Fantastic percussion pieces from this ultra-cool New Zealand ensemble of the 70s – a group who take their name and inspiration from the Scratch Orchestra of Cornelius Cardew – but who also work in a more intimate setting, with lots of instruments of their own creation – with a vibe that sometimes reminds us of the music of Harry Party! Given the smallness of the NZ scene at the time, these guys were less of a high art ensemble, than the kind of creative criss-crossing of big ideas and grass roots expression – similar to that moment when the art and punk worlds worked together so strongly in late 70s New York. And the sound here would be right at home alongside some of the more creative artists from the Kitchen scene – as the group play, drum, and blow themselves through a wonderful array of rhythmic sounds! Titles include 'Out In Part", "Passage", "Drumwheel (part 2)", and passages from "Gung Ho". CD