Thursday, August 20, 2015

Magical Ring - 1977 - Light Flight - More and More

Magical Ring 
Light Flight - More and More

01. Light Flight 3:22
02. Fire Zone 3:55
03. Sight on the Sea 2:29
04. Dreams in the Wind 2:13
05. Spatial Feeling 3:56
06. More and More 3:27
07. No Words 3:25
08. Black Safari 3:14
09. Wakemania 2:59
10. Touch as Much 2:38

Jean-Pierre Decerf: Keyboards
Gerard Zajid: Guitars

Produced for Chicago 2000 & Pema Music
Recorded at J.P. DECERF private studio and mixed at: OLYMPIC SOUND STUDIOS - London.

Like a lot of the Library Records, especially ones that have no reissues, there is little to no information about this album, its context and the artists or musicians themselves.
What we do know is that this is a French release led by Keyboard/Moog player Jean-Pierre Decerf, who is renowned amongst experimental/electronic music fans, for his spacey, Kraut-Rock style electronic mixes.
Along side Decerf, guitarist Gerard Zajid, who has teamed up with Decerf on previous releases, plays a Progressive Rock style guitar (similar to that of Dave Gilmour). A great blend of exciting electric guitars meets the spacey sounds of the moog/keyboards makes this a very rich and engaging listen.

Though, still an obscurity of sorts, its one of the more well known Library Records released from this period. Though the music is fantastic, ’Light, Flight and More and More’ is probably quite memorable because of the lovely cover art on the sleeve too.

The the deeper you venture into the disorienting world Library music, the more you start to recognize particular names beginning to emerge from the vague mists of anonymity, pseudonymity, and mystery.  Jean-Pierre Decerf is one such figure whose name begins to call attention to itself through repetition and excellence.  Once his name is in your head as "one to look out for," his ouvre reveals a pattern of distinguished and sublime works.  Some of the best music in the Library canon belongs to Decerf, but despite this, I confess I know very little of the man; but such is often the case with these subterranean wizards, these luminaries without awards, these marvelous librarians.

Today we'll have a look at some of Decerf's better LPs, starting with the delightful Light Flight/More and More, a Chicago 2000-label Library record credited to "Magical Ring." Somewhat uniquely, Light Flight/More and More seems to adopt a vague impression of a 1970's prog/psych album (hence the fake-ish band name).  Decerf is credited as the composer of all the tracks here, with an additional collaborator or two (from a stable of six total) listed for each one as well.  While it's not exactly a true psych concept album, it actually does pull off something of a cohesive effect, making it one of those special Library efforts that insists on its album-ness (rather than serving as a repository of grab-bag selections for you to sift and pick from), and truly rewards a straight-through listen.   Of course, it helps that all the compositions have Decerf's distinctive stamp, and that they're almost uniformly excellent.

The album opens with the truly unique and odd "Light Flight", a very Decerf-y synthscape with a lumbering Pink Floyd bassline (straight from Meddle, really) and some basic gnarly electric guitar, all ruled over by a deep intoning voice, vampyrically delivering lines like "Yet, in such a brand new discovery, my mind aches... it lingers through the night... the earth and the mysteries of a brand new GALAXY."  This befuddling vocal figure is backed up by Deep Purple-esque rock-harmonizing, painting vague apocalypticisms of "visions of white horses" and other such things (most of which I can't make out at all).  It's a great, almost hilarious, opener; and perhaps not so surprisingly, it's actually a lot better and weirder than most of whatever it's pastiching or drawing its influences from.  One of the greatest pleasures of Library music is the way it seems to present dimension-X versions of fairly conventional music idioms, weird dark mirrors of the familiar.  "Light Flight" sounds like someone shot Uriah Heep through a wormhole and just recorded whatever doppelgangers came back out again.

The next track is "Fire Zone", a very krauty drum machine/ripping guitar duet with an unmistakable "movie music" vibe (quite similar to Irmin Schmidt's Filmmusik).  "Sight on the Sea" follows; an absolute masterpiece in my opinion, one of those truly great Library miniatures that's so arresting, evocative, and compositionally immaculate that it's sort of like gazing into a painting (Caspar Friedrich's foggy seascapes come indelibly to mind).  "Dreams in the Wind" continues the incredibly strong vein begun by "Sight on the Sea", reintroducing the guitar sound while maintaining the enigmatic foggy sound-vistas and aquatic synthesizer burbles.  It doesn't stop there: "Spatial Feeling" is good until it reveals its true purpose of greatness and engages a heart-in-your-throat swelling finale that actually lasts the majority of its runtime (the build-and-repitition of this track reminds me a lot of Sun Araw's repetition-laden avant-psychscapes). "More and More" goes back to that Meddlesome bassline and repeats "Light Flight" as a wonderful instrumental.  "No Words" is actually just so-so, sort of a pastoral whiff... but it sets the stage for one of the greatest single tracks in the whole history of Library.

"Black Safari" is a monster.  A legend, a Jabberwock.  Opening with a deeply artificial sounding collage of animal sounds (they may very well be real animal recordings, they just sound like warped plastic), a devastating drum&drum-machine rhythm skitters onto the scene and then takes off with mechanical determination, with you along for the ride.  Synthesized bird/monkey squalls-and-calls surround you as organ and guitar take turns making the safari increasingly threatening and alien.  This track is an unimaginable treasure, an aesthetic triumph for its genre.  It's followed by "Wakemania", a very enjoyable bit of cinematic organ&guitar psych in manner highly reminiscent of Bo Hansson (though presumably intended as an homage to Rick Wakeman, who was rarely this straightforward or enjoyable, at least when working for himself).  The whole deliriously enjoyable affair comes to an end with a bit of slightly soulful, entirely bizarre, sexy funk-psych in "Touch as Much."  Here, the deep-voiced singer of the opener returns to growl in an Arthur Brown-meets-Isaac Hayes croon: "Touch... as much.  As much as lust... Keep yourself loose... as loose as the wind."

This is one of the best there is.  A Library masterpiece in no uncertain terms, full of psych, synth, exoticism, and all-around greatness.



  2. Very cool lp. but the best library masterpiece for me is Rock on lp on KPM do you know of it? Thanks Drago

  3. no, dont know that one... care to share some more info with the rest of us Spunkie?

  4. Super rare lp only 99 made. Two guy's in the group Danny Edwardson& Seamus Sell from London. Composed 10 songs all under the name ROCK ON got the lp from the Record Collector writer David Wells in1993 the lp was made in 1977. After the title of each song they have a description of the music ie wild rocker , pounding guitar feature , heavy moog feature , dissolving images, gritty progression it's a cool lp

  5. Link is Inactive towards the End ....
    Nice Blog thou ... thanks for sharing

  6. One more link of Decerf's music dead...A re-upload would be great!

  7. Please re-upload mr drago thanks