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
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
Sublime sounds from a group who definitely offer up what they promise from their name, but also add in some great extra elements too! The use of flute and voice seems to start in a space that's inspired by Indian music, but also takes off into slightly progressive territory too – very spare, and acoustic throughout – with vocal sounds instead of lyrics, and more guitar and sitar than flute! The tunes build slowly, spaciously – almost with an improvised vibe – and the vocal lines are usually a bit more back in the mix than the guitar, and the two work together with a quality that's almost like improvised music, but with more of an advance structure overall. Great package includes the group's first album – plus their never-issued Hallo Rabbit record from the same time! (Rock, Out Sound)LP, Vinyl record album
Four compositions performed by the Kronos Quartet – Michael Daugherty's "Sing Sing: J Edgar Hoover", Lea Hyla's "Howl" with Allen Ginsberg reading from his poem of the same name, Harry Partch's "Barstow: Eight Hitchhikers' Inscriptions From A Highway Railing At Barstow, California", and Scot Johnson's "Cold World Suite From How It Happens (The Voice Of IF Stone)". CD
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