Monday, August 17, 2015

Bill Bissett & Th Mandan Massacre – 1967 - Awake In Th Red Desert

Bill Bissett & Th Mandan Massacre 
Awake In Th Red Desert

01. Th Deacon Bros In Barbados    0:23
02. A O B A    2:29
03. An Ode To D A Levy    1:26
04. My Mouths On Fire    4:20
05. 2 Awake In Th Red Desert    3:38
06. Arbutus Garden Apts. 6pm    4:31
07. Heard Ya Tellin'    2:38
08. Fires In Th Tempul    2:11
09. She Still And Curling    3:32
10. Is Yr Car Too Soft For Th Roads    0:32
11. Nd Th Green Wind    1:51
12. Yu Sing    1:10
13. Now According To Paragraph C    2:32
14. She's A Very Good Cook    2:17
15. Metting At Th Transmittrs Centr    3:36
16. Ium Going 2 Sleep Now / City Of Tomorrow    6:41
17. Th Book Is Insyde Hr Hed    4:09

Flute – Roger Tentrey
Guitar – Terry Beauchamp
Keyboards – Wayne Carr
Loops [Tape] – Ross Barrett
Percussion – Gregg Simpson, Harley McConnell, Ken Paterson, Martina Clinton
Vocals – Bill Bissett

Dedicated to Eliane Stewart, Th Adventures of Hajii Baba, suspended and no sentences, and my chakra baby.

Bill Bissett, poet, artist, performer, publisher (b at Halifax, NS 23 Nov 1939). The son of a judge, Bill Bissett ran away from home several times as a child, once to join a circus, looking to escape conventional middle-class life. In 1958-59 he moved to Vancouver, where he spent 2 years at the UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA before dropping out to pursue writing and painting. Although his poetics harmonized with the experimental creativity of the TISH movement, he was unable to find a publisher for his concrete and visual poetry. As a result, he founded blewointment magazine in 1962 to promote his own poetry and that of similar writers, such as bpNICHOL and Steve McCAFFERY. Bill Bissett is known for his distinct spelling, for combining lyric, visual, and sound poetry with drawing and collage, and for a deceptively naïve voice that masks the personal and political perceptiveness of his work.
From the beginning, in collections such as lebanon voices (1967), sunday work (?) (1969), and awake in th red desert! (1969), bill bissett's work broke down artificial barriers within and between arts. Fundamentally, his idiosyncratic phonetic and quasi-phonetic spelling represents the sound of the word as spoken: "devotions" becomes "devosyuns" and "people" "peopul." Along with white space and a lack of punctuation, this gives bissett's poems many characteristics of a musical score. awake in the red desert! even included recordings of bissett reading, and in the 1980s he released several recordings such as sonik horses (1984) and luddites (1987).
Repetition, typography, collage and the physical composition of a blewointment book also create visual and tactile patterns. For example, the poem "Liberating Skies" runs repetitions of the word "earth" together (earthearthearthearthearth) so that the word breaks down into three words that develop into a theme: earth, hear, heart. The poems in the oversized book IBM (1971), on the other hand, are all hand-written, and several suggest symbolic associations for letters as pictograms: X, for example, may be a "prayer wheel." A similar aesthetic appears in bissett's paintings, where faces merge with celestial images and bodies transform; the images aim somewhere between representation and symbol.
The strength of Bill Bissett's early work led Anansi to publish the selection NOBODY OWNS TH ERTH in 1971, the first of his books published outside of British Columbia. With an expanding audience, Bissett published more than 25 books in the 1970s, notably MEDICINE my mouths on fire (1974), and the collection of poetry and collage stardust (1975), which played off of the impersonal and symbolic qualities of iconic images. As his career has progressed, bill bissett's compositions have consolidated some of their former variety, concentrating on text and line drawings.
Frank in both language and illustrations, Bissett's poems link expressions of love to philosophical explorations of love's value, and anti-materialism to the pursuit of peace. He criticizes any attempt to control or regulate thought and experience, and has faced some opposition as a result. In 1977-78 a group of parliamentarians attempted to cut his government funding, objecting to the counter-cultural aesthetic of his work. The resulting financial difficulties forced him to sell blewointment press in 1983.
Bill Bissett remains both prolific and influential. In recent years he has published his most thoughtful work about his writing philosophy in what we have (1988) and inkorrekt thots (1993). In 2006 Nightwood Editions released radiant danse uv being, in which poets and small-press publishers paid homage to him. Nightwood has also revived the blewointment imprint to carry on Bissett's goal of publishing innovative Canadian poetry. In 2007 bill bissett was awarded the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding contributions to literature in British Columbia.

Bill Bissett together with an ensemble of ten musicians committed the Awake In Th Desert, a recorded book, to tape.  In all 14 tracks were laid down and originally the project was commissioned  as a companion release to the Talon Books title of the same name. That book is an even more rare collectors item than the album . It was released however,  in 1968 along with a companion book in a limited edition of 500 copies by See/Hear Productions.

See Hear was a recorded magazine and AWAKE IN TH RED DESSERT was Volume 1 Number 2. Musically  Awake In Th Desert  is a freaky psychedelic romp that is at times, barely accessible, yet none the less intriguing.

If you took CRAZY PEOPLE, ACID SYMPHONY, MOTHERS OF INVENTION & DREAMIES and rolled them all into one, this would be pretty close. Wild drums, plunky acoustic guitars, ranting and ravoing vocals, weird noises and God knows what else those other sounds are! It's every bit a time capsule as A CID SYMPHONY was.

Julio Presas - 1978 - Amaneciendo En La Cruz Del Sur

Julio Presas
Amaneciendo En La Cruz Del Sur

01. Amaneciendo en la cruz del sur (4:01)
02. Ronda al fin (3:24)
03. La reunión (4:07)
04. Siempre dependemos de la escuela (4:10)
05. ¿Por qué perdimos pasión? (3:21)
06. Desconcertado estás (2:56)
07. Otoño de soledad (5:40)
08. Tristeza Vienesa (2:06)
09. Las suaves palabras (3:34)
10. En un mar de silencio (4:22)

Bonus tracks from the soundtrack of the short film "Lo Que Pudo Ser" (1976)
11. Lo que pudo ser
12. Apertura
13. Cierre

Julio Presas: guitars, bass, percusion and vocals.
Carlos Cutaia: keyboards.
Carlos Riganti: drums.
Alicia Presas: backing vocals
Marcelo Vitale: Synths on 7-9 y 10.

On the bonus tracks:
Julio Presas: guitars and vocals.
Mono Fontana: drums and percusion.
Carlos Cutaia: bass, synths, and piano.

Born in 1950 in Buenos Aires, Argentinian guitarist composer Julio Presas became known as one of the main composers and contributors of Materia Gris' Rock Opera ''Ohperra vida de Beto'', released in 1972.Six years later he released his solo debut ''Amaneciendo en la cruz del Sur'', handling the guitar and bass and collaborating with keyboardist Carlos Cutaia from La Máquina de Hacer Pájaros and Alas' drummer Carlos Riganti.Alicia Presas provides female voices in a few tracks and Marcelo Vitale appears on synthesizer in a few others.An unclassified album, ''Amaneciendo en la cruz del Sur'' is actually a gentle experience on influences coming from Folk, Soft Rock and Classical Music, featuring a pastoral atmosphere similar to the works of ANTHONY PHILLIPS and based on the mellow acoustic and electric guitar of Presas and the intense soundscapes provided by the backing band.It's some sort of guitar-based, all instrumental Art Rock effort, characterized by the careful orchestrations and the tight arrangements.Synthesizers provide somekind of a symphonic nature in specific pieces, while the rest of the tracks are following a folkier vein with slow tempos and cinematic edges.Alicia Presas' wordless voice delivers an exotic atmosphere similar to SAINT JUST, but the music overall is pretty easy-listening with only occasional light interplays and mostly following the guitar lines of Presas.The album has been reissued by Viajero Inmovil and contains three very short bonus tracks, used as a soundtrack for the 76' short movie ''Lo que pudo Ser''.These follow a slightly more experimental vein with an Avant-Garde atmosphere and a jazzier sound, featuring some percussion, flashy electronics and inventive guitar work.Problem is I've never seen an actual vinyl copy of the album, rising questions if this was ever released in time.Presas returned to team efforts for some time with the early-80's Pop Rock group La Ley and then developed his own studio and skills as a sound enginner and producer, while remaining involved in music with several collaborations and a pair of other solo releases.Instrumental mixture of Folk Rock, soft Symphonic Rock and pre-New Age stylings, creating a dreamy and ethereal set of electroacoustic pieces. Recomended!

Someone I really appreciate is having his birthday today... and this one I know he will love...
Ley asere, pasala de pinga, metase unmonton de planazos de buena chispa e tren... y siga pa lante!

Earthstar - 1982 - Humans Only

Humans Only

01. Rainbow Dome
02. Don't You Ever Wonder?
03. Indian Dances
04. One Flew Over the Ridge
05. TV Funk
06. Tip Toe Funk

Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Guitar [Sprag], Chimes, Bells, Percussion – Daniel Happ
Bass Guitar, Synthesizer [Bass Synth], Mellotron [Birotron] – Andy Retscher
Bells – Melanie Coiro
Congas – John Leogrande
Drums [Drum Kit] – Bob Mishalanie
Drums, Vibraphone – Dan Zongrone
Flute – Anne Hacker, Kathy Fusco
Rattle, Voice – Mark Magnet Kimsinger
Saxophone – Mark Rowe
Sounds, Wood Block – Tim Finnegan
Synthesizer [Moogmodular System, Elka], Mellotron, Mellotron [Birotron], Celesta, Synthesizer, Piano, Performer [Industrial Box, Horn Keys], Percussion – Craig Wuest
Vocals – Meredith Salisbury

Recorded at LCA Studio & Aurasound Studio, Utica, N.Y. & Klaus Schulze Studio, W.G.

Earthstar's much maligned fourth album, "Humans Only", was their final release for Sky Records and marked the end of the band's stay in Europe. Actually, by the time this album was recorded much of the band had already left for the States. Though drummer/percussionist/keyboardist Daniel Zongrone does appear on this album it is mainly a partnership between synthesist Craig Wuest and a new guitarist, Dan Hapanowicz, who replaced Dennis Rea for this album.

In some ways the change in sound could be seen as evolutionary. Distinct, more conventional melodies had shown up on "Atomkraft? Nein, Dannke!" and on the unreleased "Sleeper, The Nightlifer". On the A side of "Humans Only" the revamped Earthstar was recording songs, albeit instrumental ones, with Hapanowicz's mainly electric guitar work now front and center on most of the tracks. Only on "Indian Dances", a rework of the main recurring theme from "Sleeper, The Nightlifer", is Wuest's synth work the center of attention. Not surprisingly this is the best track on the album. The entire first side is a very decent blending of the electronic sound of previous Earthstar efforts with electric guitar that would fit well on progressive rock albums. At times Hapanowicz almost seems to channel Mike Oldfield.

It's the second side of the album where the changes in Earthstar become really jarring. The addition of vocals to "TV Funk" was probably the biggest shock to most Earthstar fans since "Sleeper, The Nightlifer" was never released. The piece also featured a steady electronic drum beat giving the entire track the feeling of a dance piece slowed down to the point where nobody would want to dance to it. This certainly isn't funk and it sounds decidedly off kilter.

"Tip Toe Funk", the longest piece on the album, opens with a drum roll. What follows is almost a blend of an orchestral sound with synth, flute and strings painting what today would probably be called a dark ambient soundscape for the first three minutes. An electronic bass line begins as well as a synth orchestra melody overlaid on the eerie electronics we've heard to this point. Despite the title "Tip Toe Funk" is the one and only piece on "Humans Only" which dips into the krautrock and Berlin School electronics that so influenced earlier Earthstar works. About six minutes in Hapanowicz guitar work is added, once again mimicking the style of Mike Oldfield, and drums also build. By seven minutes in "Tip Toe Funk" has morphed itself into a jazz/rock fusion piece and most of the weirdness and experimentalism is gone. By the 10 minute mark we've heard acoustic piano work and a layering of instruments that almost harkens back to "French Skyline, not so much in style but rather in the sheer depth of sound Wuest crafts into the music. At eleven and a half minutes the wordless vocals start, but they are used as yet another instrument in the textured sound. The beat stops and the darker sound returns to conclude the piece. What makes this piece fascinating is that the transitions are accomplished so gradually and skillfully that it all somehow works.

"Humans Only" is by far the most inconsistent of the four Earthstar albums which were released. It also contains some of their most experimental work in the seriously misnamed "Tip Toe Funk". This album doesn't deserve the derision that has been heaped upon it by some reviewers. It's an interesting effort, one which deserves to be reissued on CD. I somehow thing today's audience would appreciate it more than the one which existed in the early '80s.

Earthstar - 1981 - Atomkraft Nein Danke!

Atomkraft Nein Danke!


01. Golden Rendevous (7:20)
02. Sonntagsspaziergang (5:04)
03. Garden's End (2:57)
04. Wind Mills (5:35)
05. Cafe Sequence (2:03)
06. Cafe Exit (incl.March of theFlanged Angles) (5:44)
07. White Cloud (4:18)
08. Solar Mirrors (3:43)
09. Jet Sets (6:51)
10. Forest Floor (6:51)
  a.Part I: Atomkraft? Nein, Danke!
  b. Part II: Aras

Bells, Percussion – Melanie Coiro
Cello – Christoph Lagemann
Electric Guitar – Dennis Rea
Electronics [Harmonizer] – John Bunkfeldt
Keyboards, Synthesizer, Electronics [Night Machine], Piano, Percussion – Craig Wuest
Loops [Tape Loops], Electronics [Night Machine] – Louis Deponté
Piano, Vibraphone, Bells – Dan Zongrone
Violin – Rainer Bohm
Violin [Electric] – Daryl Trivieri

Recorded during 1979 and 1980 at Deponté la Rue Studio in Paris, France, and IC Studios and Emch Studio in West Germany. Additional tracks were recorded at Aura Sound Studio in New York State. Mastered at Blackweg Studio.

The moment the music starts on the first track, "Golden Rendezvous", you know this is a very different Earthstar album. The opening of the song is melodic, gentle, pastoral, and today would likely be described as ambient. The duet between pianist Dan Zongrone and guitarist Dennis Rea is crisp and clean. There is no "wall of sound" on this track and you can identify every instrument. As the track progresses Craig Wuest's synthesizers and his Birotron chorus add to the building sound. So begins Earthstar's environmental tone poem, "Atomkraft? Nein, Danke!", which is German for "Nuclear power? No, thanks!"

In reality the heavily overdubbed, multitracked "wall of sound" from "French Skyline" isn't gone. It's just been limited to a few tracks. What is striking about "Atomkraft? Nein, Danke" is that Wuest & company have traded a coherent electronic sound for a wide variety of styles to paint sound portraits of the different scenes and moods in their environmental message. The second track "Sonntagsspaziergang" (German for "Sunday Stroll") and "Wind Mills" are upbeat, melodic, mainly electronic pieces. "Gardens End" and "White Cloud" are gentle and melodic but have the denser sound and feeling that is more like Earthstar's previous work. "Cafe Sequence", "Solar Panels", "Jet Sets", and "Forest Floor" are dense, multitracked, electronic pieces. "Cafe Exit" is probably the most distinct recording of a Birotron choir ever made.

Despite this variety "Atomkraft? Nein, Danke" comes together as a cohesive piece. Overall the style is more laid back than any other Earthstar album. It's Earthstar's most complex work and it's the one that stands the test of time best. To me it's almost criminal that this album hasn't been reissued on CD.

Earthstar - 1979 - French Skyline

French Skyline

01. Latin Sirens Face The Wall
   a.Part I - Sirens (4:14)
   b.Part II - The Amazon (10:18)
   c.Part III - The Flourishing Illusion (5:07)
02. Splendored Skies And Angels (6:21)
03. French Sky Lines Suite
   a.Movement I: Morning Song (for Iris and Richard) (3:50)
   b.Movement II: Sources Change, Including 'The Movement' (4:48)
   c.Movement III: Demensional Music (4:47)
   d.Movement IV: Wind and Sky Symphony/Reprise: Morning Song (5:13)

Graig Wuest/synths (Minimood, Polymoog, Oberheim Synths and Sequencers, PPG 1020, Elka String Synth, ARP synths)
Norm Peach/bass
Tim Finnegan/Flute
Marla Thomson/flute
Dennis Rea/guitar
Klaus Schulze/recording, keyboards

French Skyline was the second album by Earthstar. It was their first release for Sky Records and, more importantly, their first release after relocating to Germany at the invitation of Klaus Schulze. Schulze co-produced the album with Earthstar keyboardist/synthesist Craig Wuest. He also provided technical advice and programmed the synthesizers. Schulze's influence is much greater than that: he changed Earthstar's sound and his influence is greatly heard on this album.

Under Schulze's guidance Wuest and Earthstar created what some have called a "wall of sound": heavily multitracked and layered pieces so dense that it is often impossible to tell which instruments are playing. It's a rich, textural electronic sound that in many ways resembles Klaus Schulze's work more than other Earthstar albums, particularly on the two long pieces, "Latin Sirens Face the Wall" and "French Skyline Suite". The shorter piece sandwiched in the middle, "Splendored Skies and Angels" opens with the only discordant section of this album and is a bit harsh to my ears. The rest of the album flows beautifully and is an absolute pleasure for fans of '70s electronic music in general and Klaus Schulze in particular. It's an excellent album and it, by far, is Earthstar's most coherent in terms of sticking with one style.

Earthstar - 1978 - Salterbarty Tales

Salterbarty Tales 

01. Splendored Skies and Angels 5:48
02. Serindego (Including - Rapid of HU) 9:11
03. Salterbarty Overture 3:03
04. Wee Voices Touch 1:32
05. Broken Chain of Euphoria 8:30
06. Canyon Nebula (Rapter Relcafe, Sunspots Theme, Rapter Releafe Reprise - Final.) 22:10
07. Night Tones 5:05
08. Sunsets 1:14
09. Shades 1:02

Bass – Norm Peach
Drums – Dan Zongrone
Flute – Tim Finnegan
Guitar – Dennis Rea
Keyboards – Craig Wuest
Percussion – Dan Zongrone
Violin – Daryl Trivieri

Recorded during 76 · 77 · 78 at Aurasound Studio and Pale Light Studio, Ltd.

EARTHSTAR progressed into the late, mainly unknown and granted classic place of the Berlin School electronic sessions, with the ambition of new music within common styles and deep already familiar notions, thanks to American keyboardist and synth-adapter Craig Wuest. Almost all the recordings are the effort of a multinational ensemble, credits bewildering the orchestral resonance of the project, going from electronic eclecticism (different ranges of Moogs, Mellotrons and Synthesizers) to guitar, wind and string instruments and even songwriting. However discrete comes EARTHSTAR in terms of being known and scrutinized, it is still a band and a movement with small reference in the aesthetic or the simple variety of the Berlin School dominating orientation of electronics, later new-age and fusion.

Upon the mid-70s, Craig Wuest started corresponding with legend electronic artist Klaus SCHULZE, who encourages him to leave America (along with his small synth-band project) and to try a new orientation in Germany. SCHULZE's help was sensed all the way from influences and strong characters (which approve the style and, right here, the addition) to recording and collaborating on EARTHSTAR's most intense and prominent album, French Skyline. Considering SCHULZE's presence, EARTHSTAR gains the small great experience and the succinct exuberance of cosmic/space arrangements, drone/synth expressions or deep atmospheric sound forms. Impressive remains, all the way, the good ensemble (partly European, partly American) that works on this album's arrangement and on the heavily special occasions of music, melody, rhythm or pronounced electronic experiment. Upon the next recordings, SCHULZE cuts off his collaboration; instead, guitar Dennis REA, present on both previous albums, or songwriter Dan Hapanowicz, active on the last project, become notable names.

Under the spell of electronic-oriented craft music, the combination of Berlin-typical movements and independent evolved styles, plus the one of valorous improvisations and random gifts of sound and melody, make the best quality out of EARTHSTAR. The first recording of the group (or of Craig Wuest's solid vision) is Salterbarty Tales, an absolute rarity composed short time before Wuest planned his move to Germany. French Skyline uses most valorously the essence of cosmic play, sound synth exploration and steep movement recordation, in a very characteristic, but also full of impressiveness manner. Cuts more atmospheric, ambiance and new-age (of a beginning's crude form) are present in the last pieces of the album, shaping up a pretty perpetual contrast. By the third album, Atomkraft? Nein Danke, released in 1981, the music gets more light, popular and short essences, mainly dissolving the electronic art into new-age and craft ambiance. Along nine guest musicians (most of them already part of the ensemble), Wuest works on more dynamic and light expressions, using the Birotron instead of the Mellotron. The quality becomes severe and song-written by the fourth and last album, Humans Only, which interprets values and eclectic rhythms in the most laid back artistic development EARTHSTAR ever composed and understood.

With references to SCHULZE's mid-70s important sound and synth quality, TANGERINE DREAM's more frontal digital progression, ASHRA's very calm groove or electronic impressionistic form, but also with some new-age wild-rosining characteristics, the ensemble of EARTHSTAR (along with the musical personality of Craig Wuest) evolved deeply around the Berlin-school late (or still discernable) characteristics.

I didn't know what to expect on this rare debut by Earthstar. Would it be the Berlin School tour-de-force of "French Skyline" or more towards the new age sounds of "Atomkraft...". The opening track had me drooling, with processed fuzz guitar mixed in with the electronics. A definite French vibe pervades similar to what Phillippe Besombes was doing with the Pole label. The next two tracks highlight piano and harpsichord respectively, and are definite proto new age songs. Following this, we are taken back to the otherworldly sounds of the first song, though this time there's oboe buried in the mix. Perhaps the best use of the instrument I've heard in an electronic setting. Side 2 opens with a lengthy near side-long composition that at times is sublime and combines the best elements of the 1st and 4th songs on Side 1, and also adds a bit of sequencing. The album closes on a quieter note, but still fits squarely in the cosmic music realm. I was more than pleasantly surprised by the quality of this album.