An early moment of genius from composer Gavin Bryars – and a set that was issued on Brian Eno's Obscure Records label in the mid 70s, which ensured that Bryars' music found a larger audience outside the realm of avant classical! That turns out to be a good thing here, as the music here is almost of its own genre – warmer and more personal than some of the arch modes of the CRI generation – as Bryars mixes a small string group with his own piano, a bit of spoken word, and tapes of additional strings – which add in this eerie sort of ghost vibe to the piece – a slight current of sentiment, but not in a romantic way. The second piece is equally important to Bryars' career – the wonderful "Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet" – which uses a found recording of the older song by an elderly singer, then echoed and augmented by work from Michael Nyman on organ and Derek Bailey on guitar, plus a bit of strings. CD
One of the earliest albums ever from Harold Budd – an artist who'd later rise to great ambient fame in the following decade, but who's maybe at his most sophisticated here! The set has all the hallmark of the new musical experiments that Brian Eno was showcasing on his Obscure Music label – where the set first appeared – and Budd plays electric piano with a very cool set of contemporary musicians – a lineup that includes alto sax from Marion Brown, harp from Maggie Thomas, marimba from Michael Nyman and John White, and glockenspiel from Gavin Bryars. Brian Eno produced the record, and vocalizes slightly – and tracks have a long-spun, almost spiritual vibe – on titles that include "Bismallahi Rrahmani Rrahmani", "Two Songs (Let Us Go Into The House Of The Lord/Butterfly Sunday)", "Madrigals Of The Rose Angel", and "Juno". LP, Vinyl record album
James Chance & The Contortions —
Buy ... LP SuperiorViaduct, 1979. New Copy (reissue)...
A punky funky no wave classic from James White – working here under the name of The Contortions, in a manner that's very similar to his Off White album! The tunes dip, turn, and kind of groove with a mad sort of art school energy – shifting easily between fast and frenetic playing, and some more "out" jazz styled riffing. Most tracks have raw vocals, and titles include "Bedroom Athlete", "Twice Removed", "Roving Eye", "Anesthetic", "Contort Yourself", "Design To Kill", "My Infatuation", "Throw Me Away", and "I Don't Want To Be Happy". LP, Vinyl record album
A sonic juggernaut from Crime – and a set that marks a much-needed addition to their too-few records from the late 70s! Crime were slightly slept-on at the time, but have gone on to get the dues they greatly deserve – a razor-sharp band whose sound is as striking as their use of police uniforms as costumes – a musical quality that's sometimes more Stooges than punk, and we mean that in the best way possible – as these guys are equally off in a space of their own, yet still have managed to influence so many others on so many scenes. The set features rare material from studio session and rehearsal tapes – and titles include "Dillinger's Brain", "Flipout", "Monkey On Your Back", "Yakuza", "Emergency Music Ward", "I Knew This Nurse", "Crime Wave", "Murder By Guitar", and "Piss On Your Dog". LP, Vinyl record album
Tumult ... LP SuperiorViaduct, 1983. New Copy Gatefold (reissue)...
Early genius from The Ex – a set recorded back in the early days when the Dutch group were a punk band first, and experimentalists second – working with energy that's almost reminiscent of the Leeds scene, especially material from Gang Of Four and the early version of The Mekons! There's plenty of politics and anger in the music – served up on these short, sharp shocks that are totally great – raw guitar riffs from Terrie X, and vocals from GW Sok that almost have a Mark E Riley sense of performances – all driven on by the intense drum work of Sabien – on titles that include "Bouquet Of Barbed Wire", "Fear", "Hunt The Hunters", "Red Muzak", "The Well-Known Soldier", "Same Old News", "FUNEIDY", and "Island Race". LP, Vinyl record album
An amazingly weird little record – and we mean that in the best possible way – work served up by an all-vocal quartet who seem to draw from ancient Eastern styles, yet deliver their music with a 70s avant sensibility! Alvin Curran recorded the album – maybe a hint at the placement of these groups within the same Italian generation that gave the world so many experimental records on the Cramps label – but they are also very much in their own spirit, from their spiritual look on the back cover, to the performance of their music – which mixes voices in a way that seems to slow down Gregorian chant to a spareness of 70s minimalism – with a sound that's almost as if Terry Riley convinced some folks at an Ashram to participate in some singalong that was recorded at 45rpm, then played at 33! LP, Vinyl record album
Brilliant minimal work from Steve Reich – pre-fame performances that really get to the core of minimalist composition from the start of the movement – played by a hip small group of musicians that includes Reich, Steve Chambers, Art Murphy, and Philip Glass! "Four Organs" is a wonderful combination of the instruments mentioned in the title – coming together with a cool drone-building quality, and driven by some very slight, soft rhythms on maracas – very cool, and relatively spare – but with a compelling sound that definitely shows that Reich and his contemporaries were onto a whole new groove. "Phase Patterns" has organs again - and is a slow, subtle exploration of Reich's early ideas on patterns of phase shifting – delivered here in a spare, stark, simple way that really hooks you into his musical ideas, in ways that some of the larger concept records sometimes fail to do. LP, Vinyl record album
The earliest sounds ever recorded by Suicide – music that even pre-dates their monumental debut album from 1977 – but which has an equally fuzzy, freaky vibe overall! The music here is maybe slightly more mellow – not as confrontational as the stance the duo would take a few years later, but still completely revolutionary – and forged out of the same stark sonic melange of the vocals of Alan Vega and electronics of Martin Rev – used brilliantly throughout, in ways that are completely different from the overblown qualities of so much of the mid 70s mainstream! You'll definitely hear a few echoes of later songs in the mix here, but most of the music stands strongly on its own – as maybe kind of the first flowering of genius from Suicide – and, given their all-too-small catalog, an important addition to their legacy. Titles include "New City", "Do It Nice", "Space Blue Bamboo", "Spaceship", "Sneakin Around", "Tough Guy", "A-Man", and "Creature Feature". LP, Vinyl record album
Glenn Branca —
Ascension ... LP 99 Records/SuperiorViaduct, Early 80s. New Copy (reissue)...
Temporarily Out Of Stock
A masterpiece of new music for guitar from the legendary Glenn Branca – a set that both draws on all the minimal experiments on the New York scene of the 70s, and the big wave of underground music at the end of the decade! Branca effortlessly fuses the rock and compositional communities here – working with Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth, and artist Ned Sublette – in a fierce set of tunes that blend four guitars, electric bass, and drums – all with an instrumental frenzy that matches some of the best early jams from Sonic Youth. Branca's approach is less freeform, but has very much the same intensity – and titles include "Lesson No 2", "Structure", "The Ascension", and "Spectacular Commodity". LP, Vinyl record album
Hardcore Vol 2 ... LP Ryko/SuperiorViaduct, 1970s. New Copy 2 LPs Gatefold (reissue)...
Temporarily Out Of Stock
Early art punk genius from Devo – the underground material from the pre-WB years – when they were still Ohio college students! Hardcore Volume 2 features 2LPs worth of 4- track recordings made in the mid 70s – darker, creepier synth punk than what you're used to from Devo – but still recognizable. These have a cruder sound than their pop years and a darker, chillier vibe that's pretty incredible. These guys are true originals and trailblazers and the formative work is well worth checking out! Volume 2 includes "Booji Boy's Funeral", "Can U Take It?", "The Rope Song", "Goo Goo Itch", an earlier version of "Be Stiff", "All Of Us", "Man From The Past", "Fountain Of Filth", "Doghouse Doghouse", "Shimmy Shake", "Working In The Coalmine", "Let's Go" and more, LP, Vinyl record album
An early moment of genius from composer Gavin Bryars – and a set that was issued on Brian Eno's Obscure Records label in the mid 70s, which ensured that Bryars' music found a larger audience outside the realm of avant classical! That turns out to be a good thing here, as the music here is almost of its own genre – warmer and more personal than some of the arch modes of the CRI generation – as Bryars mixes a small string group with his own piano, a bit of spoken word, and tapes of additional strings – which add in this eerie sort of ghost vibe to the piece – a slight current of sentiment, but not in a romantic way. The second piece is equally important to Bryars' career – the wonderful "Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet" – which uses a found recording of the older song by an elderly singer, then echoed and augmented by work from Michael Nyman on organ and Derek Bailey on guitar, plus a bit of strings. LP, Vinyl record album
Fantastic early work from The Fall – some key singles issued by the Rough Trade label as 45s during the first few years of the group – already a great showcase for the mad wit of Mark E Smith! While we love the albums from this time, these singles are maybe the songs we go back to again and again – as they sometimes have surprisingly catchy hooks, even while maintaining an edge – and often resonate with that Smith sense of humor that sometimes takes a few listens to pick up on! Tracks include "Totally Wired", "Putta Block", "How I Wrote Elastic Man", "City Hobgoblins", "The Man Whose Head Expanded", "Ludd Gang", "Kicker Conspiracy", "Wings", "Container Drivers", and "New Puritan". LP, Vinyl record album
The Saravah Records debut from this amazing French singer – done with a wonderful sound that really links two generations of French music! At some level, the album's got a slightly more standard feel – bits of jazz, but inflected freshly – almost like the sublime Jeanne Moreau album on 60s Polydor. But at another level, there's already some of Fontaine's experimental spirit strongly at play – putting the songs together with a very creative, poetic approach. Pierre Barouh (of Francis Lai soundtrack & Saravah fame) handled the music, and the orchestrations have lots of cool little bits and weird twists and turns – and Brigitte's voice is strong and clear, more like other familiar female French singers than on her later work. Tracks include "L'Homme Objet", "Le Beau Cancer", "Il Pleut", "Je Suis Inadaptee", and "Comme Rimbaud". Totally worth having if you dig groovy French stuff! LP, Vinyl record album
Joe McPhee —
Nation Time ... LP CJ Records/SuperiorViaduct, 1970. New Copy (reissue)...
Out Of Stock
Wild early work from avant jazz genius Joe McPhee – and a set that's actually pretty darn funky too! This rare indie release features 3 long tracks – two of which were recorded live, with a tight combo that includes a very funky drummer! The album kicks off with the hard wailing "Nation Time", which begins with a shout from Joe, and which rolls into a vamping modal groove (almost Pharoah Sanders-ish) filled with spiritual tenor work from McPhee, and some nice electric piano that sounds very off-kilter – funky, but unusual too. Next up is "Shakey Jake", an excellent 13 minute funk number – with bubbling organ, vamping rhythms, and a nice extended jazz dance groove – one of the rare tunes that has kept the album at the top of collectors' lists for years! And last up is "Scorpio's Dance", a pretty raw and somber track, with a nice open-ended loft jazz quality – balancing things out with a bit of avant energy. LP, Vinyl record album
One of the greatest in Scientist's early 80s run of essential dub records! In The Kingdom Of Dub find's Scientist working his dub alchemy on a dozen Roy Cousins productions laid down by Sly & Robbie, Santa & Flabba, Ranchie McLean,Pablo Black and Skully. It's an excellent set of deep space dubs – and all the more exciting, given the too rarely heard source rhythms! Includes "18 Drumalie Avenue Dub", "14 Grass Quit Glade Dub", "Chariot Dub", "Thunder & Lightning Dub", "Disciple Dub", "Burning Sun Dub", "Next Door Dub", "11 Guava Road Dub", "Jurusalem Dub" and more. LP, Vinyl record album
A masterpiece from Spacemen 3 – maybe one of the greatest psychedelic albums of all time – and one that we'd rank right up there with giants from the late 60s, and all those lesser-known acts that always seem to get rediscovered over the years! There's a definite 80s quality to the production, but there's also a timeless approach here that really sets the trio apart from so many of their contemporaries who'd reach for fuzz and echo, yet end up sounding completely dated just a few years later. Everything seems set to "rumble" – the Vox Starstreamer, the Fender Jaguar, the Telecaster, Rickenbacker, and other vintage instruments that made this drum-less record so wonderful right at the core – and although the vocals are part of the package too, it's really the guitars that do all the singing here. Titles include "Come Down Softly To My Soul", "How Does It Feel", "Let Me Down Gently", "Lord Can You Hear Me", "Suicide", "Honey", and "I Believe It". LP, Vinyl record album
The title certainly gets it right – as Spacemen 3 were legally-registered heroin addicts in the UK at the time of this recording – very unusual in the years before heroin chic of the 90s! The set came out after the group's first few landmark records, but actually features earlier demo material recorded in 1986 – really wonderful sounds that are a great change from the tighter direction the group were taking as the 90s moved on – as these sides still have them very much awash in fuzz, and probably pretty fuzzed-out themselves! Sonic Boom provides loads of wonderfully trippy guitar feedback, and the group's a quartet here – with guitar, bass, and percussion – on titles that include "Come Down Easy", "That's Just Fine", "Mary Anne", "Sound Of Confusion", "A-Men", and "Losing Touch With My Mind". LP, Vinyl record album
An amazing companion to the soundtrack album from the film Solaris – an extended suite of tracks that works in a very similar way – with electronics layered in these beautiful, hypnotic modes – sometimes noisy, sometimes pleasant – always compelling throughout, thanks to the visionary music of Edward Artemiev! This lovely package features a cool gatefold cover, with the images from the Italian poster of the film from the 70s – but the mindblowing music on the record is the real appeal – an extended suite of electronic sounds, in 17 movements! LP, Vinyl record album
Brigitte Fontaine & Art Ensemble of Chicago —
Comme A La Radio ... LP Saravah/SuperiorViaduct, 1970. New Copy Gatefold (reissue)...
Out Of Stock
One of the coolest albums ever recorded – a legendary meeting between the Art Ensemble Of Chicago and inventive French singer Brigitte Fontaine! The set was recorded at the end of the 60s in Paris, and it perfectly sums up all of the incredible energy bubbling out of the post-68 years – an openness to new music, new ideas, and new forms of expression – presented here in an open, honest way that only the Saravah label could muster! Fontaine's vocals are wonderful – soft-sung and spoken, with a style that's like that of a more artful and poetic Jane Birkin – and the backings from the Art Ensemble are some of their most sensitive ever – very balanced and conscious of sound, in ways that make us wish they'd recorded a lot more like this. There's never a dull moment on the record, and the set is honestly one of the reasons we first got into this business in the first place – the kind of life-changing record that's a real honor for us to stock. Frequent Fontaine partner Areski joins in on a few tracks, and titles include "Comme A La Radio", "L'Ete L'Ete", "Le Brouillard", "Tanka II", "Leo", and "Les Petits Chevaux". LP, Vinyl record album
Pre-Liquid Liquid work from Richard McGuire – a pair of different groups that both have a much more outside vibe than his more famous material! The Liquid Idiot tracks are from 1978, and have a definite No Wave vibe – almost improvised jazz at times, and definitely fairly avant – with instrumentation that is heavy on guitar, plus bits of organ, drums, saxes, and clarinet – all used together in modes that are cyclic, but not nearly as funky as later Liquid Liquid material. The Idiot Orchestra material is a bit more fully formed, but still pretty avant – kind of a larger jazz ensemble working together in unison, but moving to relatively free territory as well – an aspect that's emphasized by the rougher qualities of the production style, which is very moody. Titles include "Medium Egg", "Scotty Laughs", "Times When I Go", "Yeah I Know", "Brown Paper Suit", "Duets", "Jungle", "Big City", and "Appolo Thinner". LP, Vinyl record album
One of the most amazing albums ever from Spacemen 3 – and maybe the one in which they really hit their core potential! The group's previous records had all been great – and introduced a whole new level of fuzz and echo to the late 80s indie scene – but this set has the group moving into territory that was even more mindblowing – a long-form performance inspired by the work of La Monte Young, which stretches out as one very long instrumental that builds on layers and cycles of guitar fuzz and feedback! There's no vocals at all – and the shifts in sound and texture really put the group at the level of Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and other minimalists! The performance was done in 1988, and titled "An Evening Of Contemporary Sitar Music" – and here, it's issued with other compelling tracks that include "Spacemen Jam" and "Ecstasy In Slow Motion". LP, Vinyl record album
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