Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Travelling - 1973 - Voici La Nuit Tombée

Voici La Nuit Tombée

01. Voici La Nuit Tombée (18:00)
02. Flamenco (4:02)
03. Passo (3:05)
04. Soleil (3:03)
05. Tout Compte Fait (3:27)
06. Shema (3:06)

Yves Hasselmann/ piano, Hammond organ, vocals
Jacques Goure/ bass
Roger Gremillot/ drums

TRAVELLING were a trio from France who released only one album(1973). The organ and piano dominates their sound that is without question Canterbury flavoured. SOFT MACHINE had to be an influence on these guys as the vocal style and fuzz organ certainly bring them to mind. This band does have it's own sound though and I love it. The side long opening track is one of the best songs that i've heard in a while. What a pleasure to listen to. Pure joy indeed.
"Voici La Nuit Tombee" is an 18 minute ride that I have taken over and over again this past week. It opens with cymbals and bass before the organ quickly joins the fray, and it sounds fantastic. A full sound before a minute that includes piano, fuzz organ, bass and drums. Organ and piano then create a piece of heaven before the vocals come in. The light drums, organ and vocals are other worldly. Did I mention I love this song ? Piano joins in. Vocals stop as fuzz organ returns. I could listen to this all day. Vocals are back after 6 minutes. The fuzz organ comes and goes. The piano takes the lead with bass and light drums 8 minutes in. This section is very jazzy. A spacey, experimental, eerie passage arrives before 10 1/2 minutes that changes 2 minutes later as an uptempo organ, light drums and bass melody arrives. Fuzz organ after 14 minutes. A change a minute later as piano again takes the lead. Vocals are back 17 minutes in. Amazing song !

"Flamenco" features more bass, drums and piano. The vocal melodies a minute in are outstanding and a nice touch. Perhaps a nod to Mr.Wyatt. Some fuzz bass after that with organ. Piano starts to take over.This song blends into the next one "Passo". The uptempo piano melodies continue but bass and drums help out here. This song then blends into "Soleil" as piano melodies continue to dominate. Before 2 minutes we get some fuzz organ joining the piano melodies. "Tout Compte Fait" opens with slower paced piano as the organ provides a nice background. This song blends into the final track "Shema".This sounds better than the previous song because bass, light drums and vocal melodies are added.

This is another French band that has impressed me to pieces. I had heard about them on the ProgEars site and am so thankful I did. A must have for Jazz and Canterbury fans.

Triode - 1971 - On N'A Pas Fini D'Avoir Tout Vu

On N'A Pas Fini D'Avoir Tout Vu

01. Magic Flower (5:32)
02. Misomaque (2:58)
03. Moulos Grimpos (4:06)
04. Blahsha (4:20)
05. Lilie (4:50)
06. Ibiza Flight (4:49)
07. Adeubis (2:44)
08. Come Together (4:46)
09. Chimney Suite (8:54)

- Pierre Chereze / guitars
- Pierre Yves Sorin / bass
- Didier Hauck / drums
- Michel Edelin / flute

One of the most delightful and charming little albums you're ever likely to come across, Triode's sole album is the sort of album that washes your hair before it sings gently in your ear.

With a flute song from distant gardens and a genuine feel of 1970s nostalgia with twinkling cymbals, wooden congas and a slow coarse guitar that sweeps its way through the music like a janitor on acid, - the music filling up your room is one of slow hazy psychedelia lead jazz rock. Every time I play this one, I get the feeling of sitting on a heather shrouded meadow with all kinds of freaky people hanging around on the grass - eating fruits, grooming beards, jumping through fiery hoops, making love in trees and generally just having a funky good old time with everything. This music is being played continuously from up on high, where small midgety folks have decorated the forest treetop line with dozens of Bose speakers. It gives off a certain frivolous kitchen-party-in-the-rough kind of feel, and instantly makes people feel better about their lives, what they're doing with it, and perhaps moreover forget everything nasty in it. Triode feed off your willingness to become one with your lawn, and while not far off Jethro Tull's bluesy flute rock debut - this one seems altogether more with it - in tune with the times surrounding it. Sure it sounds like it was made in 69 with all the bluesyness of the guitars and bass licks, yet the nicely recorded percussions as well as the delicate and jazzy flute make this thing into something timeless.

I like to listen to this at parties, where I sneak in with my I-pod and wait for people's incompetence to play music continuously, and then swooof like a great big leopard I swoop over the controls and let this wonderful chill, saucy, funky, warm, electric, sweaty, jazzy, bluesy and earthy like the very colour of its cover art - music roll over the unsuspecting crowd.

There is indeed something earthy about Triode. An immense musical root network which has buried its feet deep beneath the surface of the soil........... Maybe that's why I always get these hippie images of heathers and people partying on lawns with this thing? Either way, it's the single most alluring part of this album - that warm, earthy feel permeating it.

I played this to my black bird friend I've named Charlie. He sits in the highest pine tree in my folks' garden. Come noon he'll be tooting his horn about whatever it is that birds talk about (Flying methods and possible readjustments perhaps?), and here the other day I had this album playing from a small pair of MP3 speakers resting cosily in an Agave cactus. The moods of the flute seemed to interest him, and at one point I was under the impression that he threw a spastic fit, during a flute spitting manoeuvre of one of the more rocking sections - completely out of his head jumping halfway down the branch - collecting himself enough to jumble back on top of it with an intensive and life invigorating PEEEEP - the likes I normally only hear when there's brown feathered women about him.

So there you have it. This album is so good, it naturally attracts different species. Just think about what amazing get togethers you could throw, if you would be able to expect giraffes and squirrels attending.

Horde Catalytique Pour la Fin - 1971 - Gestation Sonore

Horde Catalytique Pour la Fin 
Gestation Sonore

01. Gestation Sonore 1 - 12:48
02. Gestation Sonore 2 - 3:55
03. Gestation Sonore 3 - 4:05
04. Gestation Sonore 4 - 19:24

- Richard Accart / Saxophone tenor,flutes
- Francky Bourlier / Harpe de verre, flute, vibraphone, percussions
- Jacques Fassola / Contrebasse, guitare, banjo, orgue a bouche
- Gil Sterg / Drums et percussions

"Gestation Sonore" is the only album to be released by the French improvisational quartet "Horde Catalytique Pour La Fin"; which rightfully found its way onto the infamous Nurse With Wound list. The four piece line-up consisted of Richard Accart (Saxophone tenor, flutes), Francky Bourlier (Harpe de verrer, flute, vibraphone, percussions), Jacques Fassola (Contrebasse, guitar, banjo, Orgue a bouche) and Gil Sterg (Drums and percussion).

Released in 1971 on the legendary Futura label, this ultra-rare LP binds the idiocratic tendencies of Free-Jazz and Avant-garde into four intriguing tracks. Staying true to their improvisational ideals the album was record entirely without a predetermined score; with each group member focusing their spontaneous creativity to connect an effortless mind flow between the individual musicians. References for this band come from far and wide, with leafs being taken from likes of early improvisational-ist AMM and Limbus 3. The album weaves its way through dark and moody passages crowned with droning psych like characteristics, only to abruptly cut loose with Skronky onslaughts.

For an improvisational collection the album possess a rare flow from passage to passage; not to mention the wealth of textures and emotion flaunted. This being said, "Gestation Sonore" will test many casual listens into the point of despair. The albums true beauty works on a more subtle level, so don't abandon hope after the first spin.

This is grim stuff indeed. From the outset there's 'skronk' jazz saxophone with a splattering of other tuneless instruments randomly fired at the listener. Bangs, crashes, tinkles and what sounds like someone using a rubber hammer inside a grand piano will give you some idea of what you're about to endure for the next 39 minutes .
If any similarities could be made - it would be with 'AMM' who sounded more sure of their abilities and were heavier in execution. I guess it's also similar to early 'Nurse With Wound', but without the black humour, vocals and tape manipulation.

Recorded in one night at the 'Theatre de Nice' on 26th February 1971, 'Gestation Sonore' is a very difficult listen. Only the bleak soundscapes and creepy flutes hold my attention here. They remind me quite a lot of my earliest childhood TV memory - 'The Clangers'. However if you forced 100 people to listen to this (it would have to be at gun-point, by the way), I can guarantee you that no more than five would reach the end.

There are no hooks, no tunes with just a grey smog prevailing. It's also quite flat sounding in its production, without any feeling of depth.

The dissonant approach does grow on me after 10 minutes. It helps if you can switch off that musical part of your brain and just take it for what it is - a random, garbled collection of acoustic instruments played without any sense of timing or purpose.

Some of the percussion work is quite interesting, sounding like it's being played on children's toys - a bit like the 'Tom and Jerry' cartoons. To tell you the truth, towards the end I was actually starting to enjoy this. However, the sheer alienness of sound will deter even the hardiest of Prog listeners.

This surely has to be one of the most inaccessible recordings in the entire blog... but somehow I keep coming back to it

Red Noise - 1970 - Sarcelles-Lochères

Red Noise


01. Cosmic, Toilet Ditty (0:40)
02. Caka Slow / Vertebrate Twist (4:21)
03. Obsession Sexuelle, No.1 (0:29)
04. Galactic Sewer-Song (4:04)
05. Obsession Sexuelle, No.2 (0:12)
06. Red Noise Live Au Café Des Sports (2:08)
07. Existential-Import Of The Screw-Driver Eternity Twist (2:03)
08. 20 Miror Mozarts Composing On Tea Bag And 1/2 Cup-Bra (2:29)
09. Red Noise En Direct Du Buffet De La Gare (2:15)
10. A La Mémoire Du Rockeur Inconnu (0:40)
11. Petit Précis D'Instruction Civique (0:36)
12. Sarcelles C'est L'Avenir (18:56)

- Philip Barry / guitar, drums, voices
- Austin Blue / percussion
- Jean Claude Cencu / flute, saxophone, voices, wind
- Daniel Geoffroy / bass, electric bass, voices
- John Livengood / organ, hammond organ
- Patrick Vian / guitar, voices

RED NOISE were formed as a French anarchic outfit in late 1960s by Patrick VIAN (guitar), a son of a French poet / writer / jazz musician Boris Vian. It's said they've played on stage defended in barricades in Université Sorbonne. They released one and only album "Sarcelles Lochères" in 1970 and soon were disbanded in the same year. Their indomitable spirit for rock music could be taken over by another French project named KOMINTERN.
Anyway, Patrick Vian should be a tremendous talent methinks. Later he released a solo album as a synthesizer player (not a guitarist), and in his solo work, we can find another gem slightly different from This RED NOISE's interesting noises, named "Sarcelles-Locheres".

Back to the topic, as if not 40 years ago, we can hear flood of progressiveness deeply under cynical (and usually nasty) phrases. Sometimes they slip away upon a wee-wet sheet in a toilet under such a sensual saxophone solo, and sometimes are immersed in poo-poo song ... but I feel their appearance might be very serious, even in such a pleasant and relaxing mood upon the vinyl (especially upon the Side A). In the mysterious and funny atmosphere of RIO, there are lots of beautiful sound stones created by the "serious" players. (For me the saxophone sounds are very addictive.)

And finally, the last song "Sarcelles C'est L'avenir" is exactly a serious battle play among all "serious" players. Improvised spiritual sounds shot by keen soundlauchers could rage like a hurricane, but they should not be destructive but absolutely creative. Let me say that's an much united infernal cry, full of intensive psychedelic & Kraut-ish aggression. 18 minutes is very short in RED NOISE theatre.

Patrick Vian - 1976 - Bruits et Temps Analogues

Patrick Vian 
Bruits et Temps Analogues

01. Sphère (6:10)
02. Grosse Nacht Musik (5:05)
03. Oreknock (6:45)
04. Old Vienna (2:10)
05. R & B Degenerit! (6:10)
06. Barong Rouge (4:10)
07. Tunnel 4, Red Noise (4:30)
08. Bad Blue (1:56)
09. Tricentennial Drag (2:20)

- Georges Granier / electric piano, marimba, noises
- Mino Cinelu / drums, percussion
- Bernard Lavialle / guitar
- Patrick Vian / Moog synthesizer, ARP 2600, Moog sequencer, piano

The recording career of little-known French musician Patrick Vian, son of novelist and jazz trumpeter Boris Vian, began with the sound of someone using and then flushing a toilet. Fortunately, from such inauspicious beginnings came great wonder. That recording, as part of the prog-leaning group Red Noise, came from their sole album from 1970, Sarcelles - Lochères. The band subsequently split in two, mirroring the actions of German krautrock collective Amon Düül. While one half of the group soldiered on under the name Komintern, Vian was preparing his masterwork. Released six years after Sarcelles - Lochères, the playful spirit of that album remained on Bruits et Temps Analogues, even if the tools for getting the job done were remarkably different. Here, Vian cooks up a form of cosmic jazz, made with the aid of various Moog and ARP synths, plus a backing band that includes drummer Mino Cinelu (Weather Report, Miles Davis, Gong).
It's the type of recording that's circulated in small underground circles for years, partly abetted by Vian's inclusion (along with Red Noise) on Nurse With Wound's notorious list of artists that inspired them. There's a sense of a beginning rather than an end, a feeling that Vian was onto something that he could have developed further. Instead, he fell silent in subsequent decades, just leaving this singular recording hanging. Vian leans heavily on his analog arsenal, but there's plenty of room for bursts of guitar noodling (courtesy of Bernard Lavialle) and Cinelu's impeccably fussy rolls. The circular, clean-cut guitar riff that drives "Sphere" even sounds like a precursor to the Sea and Cake's central sound. But this is an album that doesn't stay in place for long. Sometimes it's purely made up of intricately overlapping keyboard parts, similar in tone to Harald Grosskopf's analog wanderings; elsewhere there's an airy, new age feel; on "Old Vienna" a form of mania sets in, as rhythms escalate wildly in tempo.
The way the album lurches in mood adds to the mystery, with the quirky parts bolted on to more somber fare, occasionally making it sound like a Moog demonstration record that was intended to be taken utterly seriously. Vian's motivations for making this are anyone's guess, but somehow he managed to sequence it so a crazy burst of machine noise could effortlessly slide into a piece of elegant Moog-driven funk and then back out into utter chaos again ("R & B Degenerit !"). Of course there were many other artists testing out the boundaries of old ARP synths and similar instruments during the 70s, but here Vian demonstrates both a mastery of the tools at his disposal and a wide-open mind as to where they could take him. His work with Red Noise awkwardly hopped through an array of genres, but here there's a more seamless blend, with his keyboard work tying together all the maniacal shifts charging through his mind.
This reissue of Bruits et Temps Analogues by the Staubgold label doesn't add anything to what came before; no outtakes, no demos, no lost material excavated from the vaults. It's better that way, leaving something of the original spirit of the LP intact. What's most perplexing about Vian's short career is the breadcrumb trail he left behind here, offering hints of further experimentation to come. "Tricentennial Drag" appears to be leading us somewhere else altogether via a series of primitive cut-ups, bursts of sheer aggression, and blaring police sirens. It was nothing particularly new for the time, perhaps even a little dated when you consider the White Noise were working in a similar zone some eight years prior. But it sounds like the germ of an idea he was about to exploit. Instead, all that’s left is this, sealed by a back cover image of Vian that's easy to romanticize, depicting him rowing away on an old wooden canoe to some unspecified destination.

French artist Patrick Vian, formerly of Seventies avant group Red Noise, released his one solo album `Bruits Et Temps Analogues' in 1976, and what a baffling yet intriguing electronic-related album it is. A colourful and confusing work that perhaps occupies the mindset of Vangelis' unconventional albums from the same decade, or even Manuel Göttsching's Ashra in just a few moments, but without leaving quite as much of an impression as those works did, it's a mix of progressive-electronic, jazz/fusion, ambient, blues and avant-garde that makes it quite fragmented and disjointed, yet full of experimental potential that was never followed up on.
Chilled bluesy guitars may burn over whirring Moog and trilling synths throughout opener `Sphere', but `Grosse Nacht Musik' is pure floating electronic ambience full of mystery and wonder, and one of the best pieces on the LP. Quickening murky loops, drowsy guitar bends, lonely faraway flute, gentle sounds of nature and hypnotic electronics drift through `Oreknock', which might have easily come from the early Deuter albums, and the Vangelis-like synth experiment `Old Vienna' closes the first side.

Glistening Fender Rhodes electric piano and slow-burn funky guitars weave between splintering synth ripples on `R & B Degenerit!', percolating percussion carefully builds behind marimba as the Gong-like `Barong Rouge' slowly unwinds (unsurprising to find guest musician Mino Cinelu here, who actually played on that band's `Shamal' album, and in Zao and Weather Report), the maddening sequencer patterns of `Tunnel 4, Red Noise' cause instant mind-meltdown via bubbling freeform electronic nightmares, as if the groaning hostile mutant offspring of Pink Floyd's `On The Run' and mid Seventies Tangerine Dream are making violent love, `Bad Blue' is a jazzy piano interlude with a hint of darkness, and `Tricentennial Drag' is a fractured cut-up sound collage.

Fascinating, frustrating, unique and frequently gently precious, Patrick Vian's `Bruits Et Temps Analogues' is maybe not essential, but it still makes for an interesting and diverting little electronic curio that holds real magic in a few little spots, while also growing stronger with each listen. Electronic listeners, take a break from the big names of the genre and explore the little guys like this one, easier than ever before with the recent CD reissue!

Various Artists - 2009 - Aufbruche (Die Umsonst & Draussen-Festivals 1975-1978)

Various Artists 


(Die Umsonst & Draussen-Festivals 1975-1978)

101. Hammerfest - Lokomotive 9:11
102. Missus Beastly - Vloflutho 5:00
103. Jack Bone Group - Himalaya-Erdbeernuss 5:35
104. Embryo - Sidetrack 4:50
105. Atzen Wehmeyer - Arbeiterjugendblues 3:06
106. Hammerfest - That's What I Say 4:08
107. Buttergasse - Sonny 4:09
108. Johannislust Orchester - In the Beginning 3:57
109. Munju - Talk to Me 5:55
110. Embryo - The Bad Times Are Gone 6:16
111. Einhorn - Wer hat Angst vor Adalbert Wenstein 5:35
112. Hammerfest - Cross 5:49
113. Missus Beastly - Slow One 6:57

201. Real Ax Band - Nylon Recycled 5:42
202. Skyline - Tashiro 6:38
203. Sparifankal -  I mechd di gean amoi nackad seng 4:15
204. Molle - The Joker 4:31
205. Hammerfest - Jung Siegfried 5:49
206. ES - Today 5:41
207. Checkpoint Charlie - Ausschnitt aus der Geschichte von Herrn Müller 3:54
208. Julius Schittenhelm - Drei Orchideen 3:32
209. Munju - Patscha Menga Underground 8:49
210. Moira - Improvisationen 6:16
211. Funky Bone & The Gang - Higher 7:46
212. Embryo - Getalongwithasong 6:43

301. Real Ax Band - Move Your Ass in Time 5:47
302. Skyline - The Journey 8:02
303. Sadja - Daka Dhin 2:33
304. Einhorn - Einhorn Thema 4:59
305. ES - Fee Forever 1:34
306. Missus Beastly - For Flü 7:35
307. Release Music Orchestra - Sonntag 6:31
308. Ihr - Give Peace a Chance 1:30
309. Munju - I Feel so Blue Without You 5:02
310. Out of Focus - Sommer '58 6:03
311. Real Ax Band - Never Never Again 4:41
312. Good Food - Take It 6:55
313. Embryo - Wir sind alle politische Gefangene 5:02.

401. Aera - Herr Siebert & die sieben Siebe 4:38
402. Mathea Wlömsk - Bahama Mama 4:54
403. High Crack - Anina 4:49
404. Porta Westfalica Allstars - Airto 4:17
405. Das Dritte Ohr - Don't Use Your Spray 5:45
406. Hammerfest - Wilde Zeit 5:26
407. Molle - Bildertraum 4:42
408. Checkpoint Charlie - Smogalarm 5:40
409. Porta Westfalica Allstars - Keine Macht für Niemand 2:08
410. Spacebox - Tape Talk Hirn 5:12
411. Julius Schittenhelm - Er dreht sich hinein ins Hirn 4:24
412. Airbreak  - Crossover 4:09
413. Missus Beastly - Porta Erotica 4:45
414. Brühwarm - Tango 2:16
415. Brühwarm - Fummelrock 2:28

Open Air Concert - Vlotho-Winterberg +
Umsonst & Draussen: Vlotho 1976 +
Umsonst und Draussen - Vlotho '77 +
Umsonst und Draussen - Porta Westvlothica 1978

An impressive collection, no question about it. The box set includes the four original 'Umsonst & Draussen' releases in re-mastered form, accompanied by a booklet containing articles and photos (most of which are available on the official release site at http://www.umsonstunddraussen.info/). You can also download the albums individually from iTunes (the German store, at least).

Most of the music is in the kraut-funk style of mid-to-late 70's Embyro, which is no surprise since they were involved in setting up the festival in the first place. The first album contains perhaps the most krautrock-orientated pieces, but is unfortunately marred by the mastering being done from an LP release (the original tapes were missing). The sound improves considerably with the second album, and although the music is more focused on kraut-funk, it makes for a more consistent listen. The third and fourth releases are both double-albums, over 90 minutes each, and diversify the range of music somewhat. That's good in one way, but certainly makes them feel more like compilations that the second album.

Very few of the recordings are available elsewhere (Embryo's 'Wir sind alle politische Gefangene' was released on the re-master of 'Apo-Calypso' as 'Prisioneri Politici'), and most of the bands are pretty obscure. That said, a large proportion of the bands involve musicians from better-know bands; some 67 minutes of the 4 1/2 hours of music feature Missus Beastly and various off-shoots, for example. Six tracks (from four bands) involve Marlon Klein of Dissidenten, who also is responsible for the re-mastering of the albums. And that's quite aside from the various Embryo-related projects. Obscure some of these formations may be, but there's no lack of musicianship.

On the (slightly) negative side, the CDs don't exactly follow the original releases - there's no way the third and fourth albums would fit onto single CDs. So all the albums (except the first) are split across at least two CDs, which breaks whatever continuity the originals had. It's better than leaving tracks off, and at least you can import the tracks into iTunes (or whatever) and make your own playlists. Also, the promotional artwork that you might see around is slightly misleading: in my edition at least, the cardboard sleeves containing the CDs are generic and do not show the original album art. That's slightly disappointing in an otherwise well-made box set.

All in all, this is a set which is greater than the sum of its parts, or at least than the individual songs it includes. Perhaps one more for the fans (of Embryo and later Missus Beastly in particular) than the casual listener, it's nevertheless a great overview of the alternative festival scene in Germany at the time. Recommended.

The Keyboard Circle - 1976 - 1976

The Keyboard Circle 


01 Protuberans
02 Blue Bossa
03 Zomaar in Vieren
04 Six Seven Eight
05 Absorbed Love
06 For Eliane
07 Basic Train
08 Soundcircle / All About Us
09 Tamotua
10 The Kumquat kids

- Jan Huydts (Third Eye) - Fender Thodes Electric Piano, Hohner String Ensemble, Arp Odyssey Synthesiser
- Rob Franken - Fender Rhodes Electric Piano, Hohner Clavinet, Solina String Ensemble, ARP Odyssey Synthesiser
- Henk Zomer - Ludwig Drums

I got clued to this by my buddy Ken. This is an offshoot of the Dutch jazz/rock group Scope. Scope released two albums of instrumental progressive fusion that were released on Atlantic Records in Germany only. They have never been reissued on CD. The Keyboard Circle was a short lived trio that consisted of ex-Scope members Rob Franken (Fender Rhodes and multi keyboards) and Henk Zomer (drums) as well as Jan Huydts (Fender Rhodes and multi keyboards). This is VPRO recordings from February 8, 1976 that have never been heard before. Heard before? No one outside of the group's hometown knew that the band existed until now. This is very good classic-era, kosmigroov. jazz/rock.

In 1976, the pianists Rob Franken en Jan Huydts (Third Eye)  both lived in Soest (Netherlands). They hung out together a lot, and shared their love for newly developed key instruments. Both of them were Fender Rhodes electric piano pioneers. Rob Franken's piano virtuosity is to be recognized on as many as four hundred records. In 1976, he had his own trio and performed with the Dutch funk fusion formation ‘Scope’ from the city of Zwolle. In this band, he met with drummer Henk Zomer, whom he was very impressed with.

At the end of 1975, Rob Franken came to the idea to start a new formation based on the combination of different consonance colors by combining Fender pianos with synthesizers, string cabinets and other electronic key instruments. Jan Huydts, who was experienced in making experimental music through his formations ‘Basic Train’ and ‘Third Eye’, thought this was a good idea. They decided to arrange their key instruments in a circle during their performances and so the ‘The Keyboard Circle’ was born.

The two musicians composed their own repertoire out of their own compositions and music covers. For example, on this record we find the Scope song ‘Tamotua’, Kenny Dorham’s ‘Blue Bossa’ and Eddie Henderson’s ‘The Kumquat Kids’. They decided to play the bass lines themselves, one by one, on a bass synth, while the other was playing his solo. The drums of Henk Zomer, clearly inspired by Jack DeJohnette and Tony Williams, became the driving force.

Soon after a few rehearsals the first performances took place. One of these first performances is to be found on this CD, recorded on February 8, 1976 in youth centre ‘De Trucker’ in Pijnacker, near The Hague. Han Reiziger, producer for VPRO radio had a craze for special jazz music and was not afraid to show his admiration for Rob Franken's work. He is the instigator of this special recording, that for reasons that aren't clear were never broadcasted. Whilst researching for a radio documentary the maker ran up against these tapes, which everyone had forgotten existed.

To begin with, the soundscape that reveals itself to you when listening to ‘The Keyboard Circle’ is a unique product of its time. Grounded in the mid seventies it’s no less than the works of Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea of those days. Exuberant swing and virtuous solos will find their way through your core. At the same time, the music is subdued in a typically Dutch manner. Most importantly, this music has its own sound, which can't compare to anything you’ve ever heard before.

Unfortunately, ‘The Keyboard Circle’ died at a young age. While Rob Franken was Toots Thielemans regular pianist, he had multiple radio and television performances, taught at the conservatory and above all, he was one of the most frequently programmed Dutch musicians during the seventies. Because of the immense amount of gigs Rob Franken was offered, performances were frequently cancelled at short notice. For this reason, Jan Huydts decided to quit after a while. This became irreversible by the sudden death of Rob Franken in 1983. Unfortunately, no record was ever released. Now this time has come. By listening to the CD you finally have the chance to get to know ‘The Keyboard Circle’. This rectification in the history of Dutch jazz music was a necessary one. And so: the circle is round.

Sunbirds - 1973 - Zagara


01.My Dear Groovin
02.I Don't Need
03.African Sun
04.Fire Dance
06.Ocean Song

-Ferdinand Povel/ fl
-Leczek Zadlo/ fl
-Lucas Costa/ gtr
-Rafael Weber/ gtr
-Fritz Pauer/ p
-Jimmy Woode/ dbl b
-Ron Carter/ dbl.b
-Norman Tolbert/ perc,
-Klaus Weiss/ dr

Sunbirds were a band project formed in 1971 by German drummer Klaus Weiss. (17/02/1942-10/12/2008) Weiss had already twelve years of career as a jazz drummer behind him in 1971 and was appreciated by US jazz men touring in Europe. He had played among others with Bud Powell, Johnny Griffin, Kenny Drew and Don Byas. From 1962 to 1965 he had worked with Klaus Doldinger and in 1966 Weiss won the International Jazz Competition in Vienna.
In 1971 he formed the multinational Klaus Weiss Quartet featuring American bassist Jimmy Woode, Dutch saxophonist Ferdinand Povel and Austrian pianist Fritz Pauer, The same musicians joined by Philip Catherine on guitar and Juan Romero on percussion recorded in august of 1971 the first self titled Sunbirds record. The record presented an interesting form of early jazz rock with an extensive use of electronic keyboards. One year later in august of 1972 the Sunbirds released their second record, Zagara, again the Klaus Weiss Quartet joined this time by Ron Carter on double bass, Leczek Zadlo on flute, Lucas Costa and Rafael Weber on guitar and Norman Tolbert on percussion. This record presented an orientation towards Latin Fusion.

Sunbirds - 1971 - Sunbirds


01. Kwaeli
02. Sunrise
03. Spanish Sun
04. Sunshine
05. Sunbirds
06. Blues For D.S.

CD reissue bonus tracks:
07. Dreams
08. Fire Dance

Bass – Jimmy Woode
Drums – Klaus Weiss
Electric Piano [Hohner Electra] – Fritz Pauer
Flute, Flute [Alto] – Ferdinand Povel
Guitar – Philip Catherine
Percussion – Juan Romero

Recorded 24 August 71 at Union Studios München, Germany

The fusion group Sunbirds was founded by the jazz musicians Klaus Weiss (drums) and Fritz Pauer (keyboards) in Munich in 1971, when the two of them had already made a name for themselves. They got Ferdinand Povel on flute, Jimmy Woode on bass and the world-famous guitarist Philip Catherine to join them. The band name Sunbirds was Fritz Pauer's idea, as well as the songs in E major and E minor, carrying titles including the word "sun". E is the sound representing the sun in esotericism. Due to their good connections, they could soon sign a contract with the then newly-founded BASF label. The LP was released in that same year of 1971, simply under the name of "Sunbirds" (BASF 2021110-2). The two as yet unreleased bonus tracks are from the same master tapes as the LP/CD tracks and were recorded at the same time. The second Sunbirds LP, "Zagara" is to follow on CD at a later point

Man this has been treat to listen to of late. I never heard of these guys before but they came highly recommended from Greg Walker so I took the chance, and i'm SO glad it did. Based out of Germany in the early seventies this Jazz / Rock / Fusion band released two albums,this being the debut. Love the album cover as well. While these guys were based out of Munich, Germany it should be noted that this was a multi-national band with a Dutch flautist, American bassist and the guitarist from Belgium. It should also be noted that these guys were all seasoned players, all having played in important bands or projects before this. Most were close to 30 years of age when this album was recorded while the American bassist Jimmy Woode was over 40 years of age. Jimmy by the way played piano and trombone before switching to bass and played in Duke Ellington's big band from 1955- 1959. He also played with Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespi and Charlie Parker amongst others. In the book "The Crack In The Cosmic Egg" they had this to say about the SUNBIRDS : "On their debut "Sunbirds" they made a dreamy, yet powerful fusion with an abundance of solos, extensively featuring Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine, and smooth jazz keys from Fritz Pauer, feeling like a spacey EMBRYO cum Miles Davis. It's one of the great timeless fusion albums of the era that really gets the balance right, even when some of the tunes are so catchy that they linger in the mind long after".
"Kwaeli" has a relaxed beat with bass and flute helping out. Electric piano comes in as the tempo keeps picking up and slowing down. So good ! "Sunrise" sounds amzing as the flute plays over top. Crisp drumming as the organ comes and goes. "Spanish Sun" is mellow with flute and bass. It starts to pick up before 2 minutes as a beat comes in then guitar. Great sound ! The guitar stands out before 3 1/2 minutes then the electric piano comes to the fore. It's building.It settles back before 10 minutes to end it.

"Sunshine" is uptempo as the flute plays over top. Nice bass too. The organ replaces the flute and rips it up. The flute is back before 3 minutes. The guitar leads for a while then the flute is back to end it. "Sunbrids" has some atmosphere to start. A relaxing soundscape takes over around 2 minutes. The guitar leads after 3 1/2 minutes then it's the electric piano's turn. Drums dominate after 8 1/2 minutes. "Blues For DS" is groovy baby ! The flute plays over top as the bass,drums and guitar lead the way. Distorted keys before 2 minutes then the flute returns followed by electric piano.

You'll notice the word "sun" in three of the five song titles as well as in the band's name. Well it's because most of the songs they were creating were in E-minor or E-major and E is the so-called sun note in esotericism. Man I like this album, especially the electric piano. Amazing stuff !

Friedrich Gulda & Klaus Weiss - 1970 - It's All One

Friedrich Gulda & Klaus Weiss 
It's All One

01. Ouverture 4:08
02. Bossanova 4:33
03. Aria 4:38
04. Finale 3:47
05. Meditation III 12:55
06. Blues Fantasy 10:29

Friedrich Gulda: piano, electric piano
Klaus Weiss: drums

It is said that you can judge the quality of a man by the company he keeps and, on that basis alone, drummer Klaus Weiss can make valid claim to pre-eminence in his particular field of endeavour. Because Klaus Weiss has kept some pretty distinguished musical company in the course of a career which has spanned four decades.

His musical associates have included Benny Bailey, Cecil Bridgewater, Don Byas, Philip Catherine, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Jerry Dodgion, Klaus Doldinger, Kenny Drew, Booker Ervin, Wilton Gaynair, Herb Geller, Dusko Goykovic, Johnny Griffin, Friedrich Gulda, Slide Hampton, Billy Harper, Hampton Hawes, Clifford Jordan, Herbie Mann, Howard McGhee, Don Menza, Tete Montoliu, George Mraz, Sal Nistico, Walter Norris, Horace Parlan, Bud Powell, Jerome Richardson, Tony Scott, René Thomas, Mal Waldron, Leo Wright and Attila Zoller.

In the post-war years, when American jazz musicians began touring Europe in increasing numbers and playing with local rhythm sections, they found their biggest problem was to find drummers who had a good sense of time and were both sensitive and supportive.

When Klaus Weiss began his professional career in 1958, good drummers in Europe were still very few and far between. Weiss, however, found favour with visiting jazz stars because, as Johnny Griffin observed, "he is one of the few European drummers with that distinctive American feeling."

Born in Gevelsberg, Westphalia, on February 17, 1942, Klaus Weiss taught himself to play drums and began his professional career at the age of 16 as a member of the Jazzopators, a group which accompanied American trumpeter Nelson Williams and also singer Inez Cavanaugh.

From 1962 to 1965 he worked with Klaus Doldinger and during this time he had a spell in Paris, where he worked in the famous Blue Note club with Bud Powell, Johnny Griffin and Kenny Drew.

In 1965 he formed a trio which backed American saxophonists Don Byas and Leo Wright and Jamaican Wilton Gaynair. That same year Weiss toured with a group that included Sal Nistico and Dusko Goykovic and also played some dates with Don Menza.

The following year Weiss's trio, now with pianist Rob Franken and bassist Rob Langereis, toured with Booker Ervin. That same year Weiss won the International Jazz Competition in Vienna.

After a spell with the Erwin Lehn Big Band (1967 - 68), Klaus Weiss moved to Munich, joined the Bayerischer Rundfunk Jazz Ensemble led by Joe Haider and appeared many times at Munich's celebrated Domicile club. In the late sixties and early seventies, he became increasingly active as a studio musician. In 1971 he worked with a multi-national quartet which featured American bassist Jimmy Woode, Dutch saxophonist Ferdinand Povel and Austrian pianist Fritz Pauer, and in the autumn of that year toured with an all-star orchestra which included Slide Hampton, Don Menza, Herb Geller, Fritz Pauer, Philip Catherine and Chuck Findley.

This ensemble recorded an album, I Just Want To Celebrate, at the Domicile jazz club in Munich for the MPS label in November 1971 and, in his liner note, Friedrich Gulda wrote: "The formula is: Get a good dozen of the best musicians from both sides of the Atlantic, get some top arrangers to write the charts, rehearse (not too little, not too much), put the aggregation on the bandstand in a sympathetic club … and then set the whole affair afire with your drumming. Simple, uh? "Well, it isn't. Because such a venture requires of its leader more than purely musical capabilities: it involves nerve-wrecking preparations. Like phone calls to musicians who never seem to be at home or just moved to another apartment; bribing the customs officer into letting you have the arrangements before the job, not after…convincing the club owner that although soft lights may be good for business, they are bad for reading music…etc.,etc. "Very few people have the determination and the nerves to go through all this and much more….Klaus Weiss has."

Those observations say a lot about the other attributes of Klaus Weiss. He is an industrious and painstaking organizer who has always recognized that while spontaneity is a crucial element in jazz performance, also indispensable is the creation of an atmosphere in which the musicians can perform free of tension and stress, an atmopshere in which mutual inspiration and stimulus can flourish. And that takes, as Gulda noted, a lot of perseverance, determination and dedication.

In the first half of the 1970s, Klaus Weiss worked with the Horst Jankowski Sextet, the trio of former Mingus saxophonist Bobby Jones and the Eugen Cicero Trio. From 1975 to 1977 he toured with Mal Waldron and with the Dusko Goykovic Big Band and then, between 1978 and 1983, Weiss led a quintet which featured various guest soloists, including Sal Nistico, Roman Schwaller, Clifford Jordan and Andy Scherrer. He also played with Catalan pianist Tete Montoliu, with Eddie "Lockjaw Davis" and with the WDR and NDR big bands.

In the 1980s toured with Clifford Jordan and Horace Parlan, played with multi-instrumentalist Jerome Richardson and toured with his new quintet. In 1984 he recorded a big band album, "Lightnin' " which was nominated for the Süd West Funk Jazz Prize.

In 1991 Klaus Weiss formed a new trio with pianist Rob van Bavel and bassist Thomas Stabenow and also put together the Saxophone Connection group (with Roman Schwaller, Andy Scherrer, Dado Moroni and Thomas Stabenow) which recorded a fine album for L&R Records (Bellaphon).

In a highly varied career, Klaus Weiss has made 17 albums under his own name, with formations ranging from trio, quartet, quintet and sextet to full orchestra, and has appeared on numerous other albums as a sideman.

Weiss's musical philosophy is that good jazz music - which means jazz played by consummate professionals who have a powerful rapport with one another and the same sense of musical direction - is a highly durable music. He says: "Count Basie's music will still be up to date 50 years from now."

Perhaps one of the most perceptive comments about Klaus Weiss's drumming comes from Belgium's Jean Warland, one-time bassist with the celebrated Clarke-Boland Big Band whose drummer was, of course, the legendary Kenny Clarke.

In the liner note to Weiss's 1988 album, A Taste Of Jazz, (which, for me, along with the 1991 L. .A. Calling, is one of the most impressive of a highly attractive collection), Warland said of Klaus: "Every time I have the possibility of playing with him, it feels as if we were simply continuing a conversation we had left off a few weeks or months ago…As a bassist, I always enjoy working with him… because his drumming relieves you of all worries and cares - the rhythm is simply there. There are no unnecessary fills, only a well-balanced drum and cymbal sound which expresses Klaus Weiss's admiration of Kenny Clarke. In other words, Klaus Weiss is a drummer in the great jazz tradition."

And, reviewing L. A. Calling in the American magazine Cadence, Dave McElfresh wrote that Klaus Weiss "exhibits a power and personality more exuberant than most of his peers on the instrument."

It is significant that Klaus himself defines his approach to drumming as directly derived from some of the great American drummers which he began listening to in the early 1950s. Says Klaus: "For me, the essence of great jazz drumming was epitomized by those giants, like Big Sid Catlett, Klook, Blakey, Buddy and Philly Joe. These have all been listening drummers, each with his own personality, but having in common a great ability to swing, to generate excitement, and to stimulate the soloists. And besides their sound and way of playing, I got really interested in the American drum rudiments because, as I discovered at the time, all great American drummers know and use those essential rudiments - but few of the European drummers in the fifties seemed to have assimilated these elements - at least, to my ears."

There speaks Klaus Weiss, a most accomplished musician who happens to be a drummer - and who is still one of the most swinging and sympathetic drummers in Europe.

A very complete album composed bu Gulda in the late 70's, musically complete in all terms, in composition, arrangements and interpretation, a must have for all the fans of Friedrich Gulda, a funny and emotionally album that you can hear from beginning to end everytime without boring, a very fine recording quality very well balanced with great soundstage, do yourself a favor dont miss this piece of art.

Pauline Oliveros - 2012 - Reverberations

Pauline Oliveros 
Tape & Electronic Music 1961-1970 (12CD)

Pauline Oliveros Home Electronic Music Studio 1961
101. Time Perspectives 19:38

San Francisco Tape Music Center 1964-1966
201. Mnemonics I 15:09
202. Mnemonics II 9:55
203. Mnemonics III 17:34

301. Mnemonics IV 18:46
302. Mnemonics V 13:54

University of Toronto Electronic Music Studio 1966
401. II of IV 16:16
402. III of IV 9:23
403. IV of IV 16:39
404. V of IV 14:39
405. III 16:08

501. Team & Desecrations Improvisation 22:58
502. The Day I Disconnected the Erase Head and Forgot to Reconnect It 32:36
503. Jar Piece 15:52

601. Another Big Mother 31:40
602. Fed Back 1 28:10
603. Fed Back 2 3:56

701. 5000 Miles 32:50
702. Angel Fix 32:37

801. Bottoms Up 1 12:50
802. Nite 16:28
803. Ringing the Mods 1 Heads 9:35
804. Ringing the Mods 2 Tails 9:35
805. Three Pieces I 5:22
806. Three Pieces II 3:21
807. Three Pieces III 4:03

Mills Tape Music Center 1966-1967
901. Big Slow Bog 32:39
902. Boone Bog 32:34

1001. Bog Bog 33:45
1002. Mind Bog 33:38

1101. Mewsack 32:30
1102. 50-50 1 Heads 19:31
1103. 50=50 2 Tails 19:31

University of California San Diego Electronic Music Studio 1967-1970
1201. A Little Noise in the System 30:25
1202. Red Horse Headache 21:26

CDs packaged in six double-CD jewel-cases with booklets and tray-cards. The first disc contains a 48-page booklet with track listing, notes, tape delay diagrams, and pictures of tape reel boxes from the University of Toronto Electronic Music Studio. The other discs have 4-page booklets.
Housed in a box with fully printed lid and base.

Released to coincide with Pauline Oliveros' 80th birthday.

1-1, 2-3, 4-4 previously released on Pauline Oliveros - Four Electronic Pieces 1959-1966
4-1 previously released on Various - Electro Acoustic Music V
5-3 previously released on Pauline Oliveros / John Rea / István Anhalt - Electronic Essays
12-1 previously released on Various - An Anthology Of Noise & Electronic Music / First A-Chronology 1921-2001

This has got to be one of the most improbable, altruistic, and quixotic box sets ever produced, as it compiles 12 albums worth of almost entirely unreleased material from Oliveros' fertile early years.  That, of course, means: 1.) none of her early masterpieces like "Bye Bye Butterfly" are here, and 2.) nothing at all is included from the wildly different (and superior) work that she has done over the last four decades.  Those caveats, coupled with the inarguable fact that no artist on earth has a dozen killer albums worth of vault material lying around, makes this a pretty undesirable prospect for the merely curious or for anyone looking for a definitive retrospective.  For serious fans of early electronic music, however, this is an absolute goldmine.

The length and breadth of Pauline Oliveros' career is pretty astonishing by any standard, as she has essentially lived two equally visionary, yet totally disparate, creative lives.  Superficially, the pieces collected here have zero relation to my previous conception of Pauline as an artist.  In fact, it is difficult to imagine her even listening to music like this, let alone creating it (and so much of it besides).  The reason for that is the sheer artificiality inherent in creating sounds solely from oscillators, wave generators, and modular synthesizers.  Oliveros' work over the last several decades seems aggressively antithetical to anything resembling inhuman buzzes and bleeps, instead employing an almost entirely organic palette centered around her iconic accordion and an array of collaborators.  On a deeper level, however, it all makes sense: she just found a different way to explore her lifelong fascination with acoustics, the fluidity of time, and the way masses of frequencies interact with each other.  Her means have a consistent thread as well, as her technological creativity is now employed to find ways to make very human and "real" sounds seem hyper-real.

The twelve discs of Reverberations are arranged in chronological order with the location of their origin included as well, which makes following Pauline's trajectory both enticing and easy.  The earliest piece is 1961's "Time Perspectives," a tape-based work that was recorded in Oliveros' home utilizing the acoustic properties of her bathtub.  It is a bit of an anomaly, as it is the set's sole musique concrète piece, mostly derived from water noises and other non-musical sounds.

The next two discs cover 1964-1966, the period in which Pauline, Terry Riley, and others, armed with WWII surplus equipment, founded the San Francisco Tape Music Center.  This period is notable for several reasons.  For one, Pauline recorded one of her greatest pieces during this time, the aforementioned "Bye Bye Butterfly" (not included, sadly).  Secondly, it coincided with her plunge into the world of electronically generated beeps, buzzes, whines, and hums (the "Mnemonics" series), an artistic path that she followed for the duration of this compilation's scope.  Finally, it should be noted that Oliveros had an unusual approach to tape music, eschewing cutting-and-splicing of her peers for an obsession with tape-based delay and an insistence upon pieces that could be replicated live and in real-time.

Later in 1966, Pauline headed to the University of Toronto's Electronic Music Studio, which was much better equipped.  Even though she was there less than a year, this was a hugely productive period for her and comprises five entire discs of the set.  This is where things start to get interesting, both from a musical perspective and a theoretical one.  Musically, the various electronic hums and whines that characterized her Tape Center work are used for far more ambitious, vibrant, and complexly textured compositions–this is where Pauline's work becomes truly distinctive.  The actual sounds being generated are not noticeably different than those generated in the far more modest San Francisco studio, but the complexity and effectiveness of their interactions is on an entirely different level.

Correspondingly, a few of her more famous works ("Big Mother is Watching You" and "I of IV") originated from this period.  While neither is included, many variations and concurrent works are here, so their absence is not terribly glaring.  Also, some of the less famous pieces are quite visceral and weirdly contemporary-sounding: she could probably still tear the roof off of a noise show with a piece like "The Day I Disconnected the Erase Head and Forgot to Reconnect It."

I was most fascinated, however, by the theory behind Pauline's work at this time, a theory which caused UTEMS' director to accuse her of dabbling in the black arts:  Oliveros set all of the studio's twelve square-wave generators to frequencies outside the range of human hearing, relying on the clashing frequencies to create their own audible sounds (this is called "the heterodyne technique").  She also discovered that the pressure waves caused by unheard high frequency sounds can still be felt and that some frequencies created distortion by interacting with the bias frequency of her tape machines, all of which I found fascinating.

Near the end of 1966, Pauline became the director of the relocated Tape Center at Mills College.  This period takes up 2½ discs and yielded her classic "Alien Bog."  Again, that is not included here, but several other "Bog" variations are and they are pretty weird and divergent compared to what came before them.  In a perverse way, they are the first harbinger of Oliveros' imminent and dramatic change in direction–while they certainly sound as artificial and electronic as ever, they were a conscious attempt to replicate the omnipresent insectoid hum that emerged from the Texas wetlands of her youth.  Her Texan childhood manifests itself in another (more unexpected) way as well, as the liner notes divulge that her love of tape delay is rooted in the echo and delay used in Western Swing and jukebox hits like Les Paul & Mary Ford's "How High the Moon."

Pauline's "Bog-period" bout with mutant naturalism was short-lived, however, as the final two discs plunge into remarkably caustic noise.  This is especially surprising given that they coincide with her acceptance of a teaching position in the music department of UC San Diego.  While the obligations of teaching certainly slowed her creative output (and brought this phase of her career to an end), Pauline's time at UCSD ultimately turned out to be very significant and fruitful philosophically: she befriended physicist Lester Ingber and became extremely interested in how the mind focuses on sound, shaping decades of her work to come.  Also, in a more general way, she simply became increasingly disinterested in the isolated, hermetic world of her studio and more concerned with exploring the potential of both other people and the natural world.

Taken as a solely musical endeavor, Reverberations is a pretty exhausting set with many similar-sounding and very long pieces, but there are certainly some great ones among them (and they are practically all appearing for the first time).  More importantly, however, this set was clearly a labor of love on Important's part and it shows in every way.  I was especially impressed by the liner notes, which were genuinely colorful, understandable, and informative.  Bluntly speaking, there is not a lot of overt personality or variation in how oscillators, wave generators, and early synthesizers sound (regardless of who is playing them), so learning about why and how a piece came into existence enhances the listening experience immeasurably and adds several new layers to appreciate.  Also, I learned some neat Oliveros trivia that made me even more predisposed to enjoy her work, like the fact that she used to play shows with oscillators mischievously and deliberately set to the resonant frequency of the venue, often resulting in a mass exodus.   As a result, Reverbations feels far more like an engaging history of a restless and groundbreaking artist than a mere compilation.  I still very much prefer Pauline's later work, but having a deeper understanding of the convoluted path she took to get there makes me appreciate it even more.

I rate this not based on how much I actually like it, but on its importance in the history of electronic music. There's a lot of synthesis experimentation going on here, but to remember this was composed/produced in the 1960s is really pretty mind-blowing. You could throw it in the mix with a vast majority of noise or extreme electronic music made in 2015 and tell no difference. The pioneering sounds of those days are still the pioneering sounds of today. Reverberations is an exploration of the outer reaches of what we consider music, where the line is drawn between sounds and noise (as the average person conceives of noise) and what would be more widely considered as music (repetition, recognizable melodic phrases, etc). Its massive length makes the collection more or less impossible to consume as an album, per se - and even most of the songs themselves, by length, are tests of endurance - but as something to visit now and again, something with which to remember the history of this music, Reverberations, in that way, is essential.


Pauline Oliveros - 2008 - Four Electronic Pieces 1959-1966

Pauline Oliveros 
Four Electronic Pieces 1959-1966

01. Mnemonics III 17:28
02. V of IV 14:43
03. Time Perspectives 19:29
04. Once Again / Buchla Piece 19:19

As a member of the postwar American avant-garde, Pauline Oliveros worked alongside the likes of America's most revered early minimalists—Steve Reich, Terry Riley and Morton Subotnik. She was an accordionist and an academic, and as a result her unorthodox musical mixtures haven't been reissued as steadily as her contemporaries. But over the decades—as audiences for electronic music have grown and the influence of her contemporaries has been made more explicit—interest in Oliveros has become a bit of a cultish hobby among pioneer hunters.

Four Electronic Pieces: 1959 – 1969, a new collection by the Belgian label Sub Rosa, presents some of Oliveros' earliest works. Oliveros was one of the original members of the San Francisco Tape Music Center, which in the early to mid-60s served as a loose meeting point for early American electronic experimentation. The earliest piece, 1959's "Time Perspectives," manipulates the various speeds of a basic tape recorder from a Sears Roebuck store, and uses cardboard tubes for filters, a bathtub for reverb, and soup ladles and kitchen knives for effects. "Time Perspectives" is the most engaging piece here because it's the crudest and most surprising. Oliveros was just 27 at the time, and this was—and still is—extreme music, closer to Florian Hecker or Merzbow than the more refined compositions of her more classically inclined mentors. There's an overarching sense of joy in discovering the harsh sounds she can pull out of those bathtubs, ladles and knives to make this mess of frequencies.

The remaining three pieces—1965's "Mnemonics III" and 1966's "V of IV" and "Once Again/Buchla piece"—all belong to larger series. By this time, Oliveros was using oscillators and keyboards to manipulate tape, and the results sound more like studious cycles than fresh explorations. Oliveros herself abandoned this approach to electronic music as she got older and returned to her childhood love of the accordion as the central focus of her music. Future work would be more spiritually inclined and meditative, and because of the accordion, exponentially more distinct.

Sub Rosa can be, at times, a label of prescient extremes. With this collection, they present a portrait of Oliveros at her most rigorous and academic. While Four Electronic Pieces 1959-1969 adds to our understanding of her development, this collection is ultimately a master class for the musique concrète fan and not a gateway for anyone looking to find out what Oliveros is all about. Long stretches are unlistenable to all but the most ardent ear. For that, you might be better served by two recent reissues from Important Records—Accordion & Voice or The Wanderer. Four Electronic Pieces is a portrait of an artist who (at least early on) pioneered through extreme impulse. In other words, don't start here.

Pauline Oliveros - 1984 - The Wanderer

Pauline Oliveros
The Wanderer

01. Duo For Accordion & Bandoneon
  Accordion – Pauline Oliveros
  Bandoneon – David Tudor
02. The Wanderer
  Accordion, Soloist – Pauline Oliveros
  Directed By – Sam Falcetti
  Performer – The Springfield Accordion Orchestra
03. Horse Sings From Cloud
  Accordion – Julia Haines
  Bandoneon – Pauline Oliveros
  Concertina – Linda Montano
  Harmonium – Heloise Gold

The Wanderer and Horse Sings From Cloud were recorded live during "Lovely Music Live" at the Marymount Manhattan Theatre, January 27, 1983.
Re-edition on CD with a bonus track (Duo For Accordion & Bandoneon).

"The Wanderer" features three live performances. the first consists of blurts of accordion with some spartan electronics. it has sort of a cold feel the reminds me of a lot of the "classic" electro-accoustic modern composition stuff. the second track features an accordion orchestra and percussion that is quite powerful and frenetic, using minimal melodic phrases and repetition in a way very similar to steve reich. finally, the last track is a tape piece using accordion and vox. this is a pretty beautiful droney piece to round out the album. all in all a solid effort, and definitely worth checking out if you have interest in accordion, tape music, or Oliveros....

Pauline Oliveros - 1982 - Accordion & Voice

Pauline Oliveros
Accordion & Voice

01. Horse Sings From Cloud 22:11 
02. Rattlesnake Mountain 21:58

Pauline Oliveros, composer, performer and humanitarian is an important pioneer in American Music. Acclaimed internationally, for four decades she has explored sound -- forging new ground for herself and others.

Through improvisation, electronic music, ritual, teaching and meditation she has created a body of work with such breadth of vision that it profoundly effects those who experience it and eludes many who try to write about it. "On some level, music, sound consciousness and religion are all one, and she would seem to be very close to that level," stated John Rockwell. Oliveros has been honored with awards, grants and concerts internationally. Whether performing at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., in an underground cavern or in the studios of a West German radio station, Oliveros' commitment to interaction with the moment is unchanged. She can make the sound of a sweeping siren into another instrument of the ensemble.

Through Deep Listening Pieces and earlier Sonic Meditations, Oliveros introduced the concept of incorporating all environmental sounds into musical performance. To make a pleasurable experience of this requires focused concentration, skilled musicianship and strong improvisational skills, which are the hallmarks of Oliveros' form. In performance, Oliveros uses an accordion which has been re-tuned in two different systems of her just intonation in addition to electronics to alter the sound of the accordion and to explore the individual characteristics of each room.

Pauline Oliveros has built a loyal following through her concerts, recordings, publications and musical compositions that she has written for soloists and ensembles in music, dance, theater and inter-arts companies. She has also provided leadership within the music community from her early years as the first director of the San Francisco Tape Music Center  (now known as the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College ), director of the Center for Music Experiment during her 14 year tenure as professor of music at the University of California at San Diego to acting in an advisory capacity for organizations such as The National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council for the Arts and many private foundations. She now serves as Distinguished Research Professor of Music at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Darius Milhaud Composer in Residence at Mills College. Oliveros has been vocal about representing the needs of individual artists, about the need for diversity and experimentation in the arts, and promoting cooperation and good will among people.

Accordion & Voice is one of Pauline Oliveros' first recordings, and in it she utilizes the accordion as an instrument of meditation, in the sense that every performance is a meditation. On the recording the accordion is tuned in just intonation. This allows for microtonal playing, giving the first piece a haunting sound every time you hear a small change and giving the second very interesting tones every time she had a new impulse.

The first piece, "Horse Sings from Cloud," starts off with a single droning tone that is almost piercing at first, but every time she comes back after the accordion breathes, she adds to it. After the first few minutes the piece starts to open up and you can feel the accordion "breathe" just as Oliveros does, the more she gets into it. Eventually she introduces voice which only adds to the pulsing drones already occurring, and it becomes nearly dream-like, which certainly fits the title of the piece that apparently came to her in a dream: "A horse was supposed to sing from the clouds. I was wondering how the horse would get there, when some birds flew down with a blanket in their beaks and took the horse to the clouds to sing."

The second piece, "Rattlesnake Mountain" is more melodic in the sense that it is not just a drone. There is still the typical drone of an accordion, but much more variation in Oliveros' playing. She has said that it is an expression of the mountain, and her playing is how she feels when she sees it which is expressed in her playing. She would visualize the mountain as she played, the wind blowing through the trees and the shape of the mountain.

As an album, and a staple in drone and minimalist music, Accordion & Voice stands out as an album that isn't just listened to once, but returned to repeatedly to discover something new each time. It's amazing to recognize what Oliveros has crafted with something as simple as an accordion and her own voice.

Michael Naura Quartet - 1972 - Rainbow Runner

Michael Naura Quartet
Rainbow Runner

01. Sailfish   
02. Turtle Bay   
03. Rainbow Runner   
04. Black Marlin   
05. Watamu 
06. Wahoo   
07. Barrakuda   

Bass – Eberhard Weber
Drums – Joe Nay
Accordion, Piano – Michael Naura
Vibraphone – Wolfgang Schlüter

b. 19 August 1934, Memel, Lithuania. Naura is a self-taught pianist and flautist who studied philosophy, sociology and graphic arts in Berlin. In the 50s he and Wolfgang Schluter (vibes) started a band that sought to mix blues, bebop and European avant garde and became one of the leading German bands of the 60s. Since 1971, he has worked as the Head of the Norddeutscher Rundfunk Jazz Department. He continues occasional work with bands and regularly accompanies Peter Ruhmkorf in poetry-jazz recitals. He is also president of Performers and Artists for Nuclear Disarmament (PANDA) in Germany.

Michael Naura Quartett - 1971 - Call

Michael Naura Quartett 

01. Soledad De Murcia    5:57
02. M.O.C.    3:37
03. Forgotten Garden    5:53
04. Take Us Down To The River    3:58
05. Why Is Mary So Nervous?    5:28
06. Don't Stop    4:56
07. Miriam    3:48
08. Call    5:03

Wolfgang Schlüter: vibraphone
Michael Naura: electric piano
Eberhard Weber: bass
Joe Nay: drums

What a magical and beautiful record! The quartet floats on a fine and atmospherical carpet of jazzrock with somtimes blues or latin touches. Maybe the longtime friendship between the pianist Michael Naura and the vibraphonist Wolfgang Schlüter is the center of this floating little jewel. And with Eberhard Weber on bass it can't go wrong. Intersting to listen how Naura, coming from hard bop, is drifting in new musical territories. There is sometimes such a spiritual vibe in it, that for me it belongs to the wide field of Kozmigroov.

Michael Naura, in leading position of the northgerman radio, served from the beginning of the seventies exciting and open minded musicprograms to the audiance. As well he wrote recommandable books like "Cadenza - Jazzpanorama" with portraits of jazzlegends he knew, like Monk, Taylor, Evans, Marsalis, Mangelsdorff, etc.

Andrea Centazzo - 2006 - The Complete Recording Box Set (1979-1983)

Andrea Centazzo Mitteleuropa Orchestra
The Complete Recording Box Set

CD1: The Complete Recording Vol. 1

1. Echoes for Large Ensemble: I Movement - 21:43
2. Echoes for Large Ensemble: II Movement - 07:08
3. Echoes for Large Ensemble: III Movement - 22:59

CD2: The Complete Recording Vol. 2

1. Satori for Large Ensemble: I Movement - 19:44
2. Satori for Large Ensemble: II Movement - 30:32

CD3: The Complete Recording Vol. 3

1. The Radio Session #1 - 17:24
2. The Radio Session #2 - 08:04
3. The Radio Session #3 - 14:32
4. The Radio Session #4 - 12:42

CD4: The Complete Recording Vol. 4

1. The Orchestral Dharma: I Movement - 15:30
2. The Orchestral Dharma: II Movement - 17:51
3. The Orchestral Dharma: III Movement - 18:03

CD5: The Complete Recording Vol. 5

1. Samudaya: I Movement - 08:30
2. Samudaya: II Movement - 07:04
3. Samudaya: III Movement - 14:01
4. Samudaya: IV Movement - 08:14
5. Samudaya: V Movement - 13:29

CD6: The Complete Recording Vol. 6

1. In the Daisy Garden Suite: I Movement - 17:20
2. In the Daisy Garden Suite: II Movement - 06:35
3. In the Daisy Garden Suite: III Movement - 11:12
4. In the Daisy Garden Suite: IV Movement - 18:20
5. In the Daisy Garden Suite: V Movement - 05:18
6. Jazz Suite for Duke: I Movement - 03:54
7. Jazz Suite for Duke: II Movement - 07:24

Recorded live in Rome, Bologna, Alassio, Sassuolo, Torino, Ravenna, Italy between June 1979 and July 1983
All tracks digitally remastered & edited by Andrea Centazzo, 2006
Produced by Andrea Centazzo

Franz Koglmann - flugelhorn, trumpet
Carlos Zingaro - violin
Gianluigi Trovesi - bass clarinet, alto sax
Theo Jorgensmann - clarinet
Radu Malfatti - trombone
Gino Commisso - trumpet
Carlo Actis Dato - bass clarinet, baritone sax
Roberto Ottaviano - soprano saxes
Sauro D'Angelo - clarinet, alto sax
Roberto Manuzzi - soprano & alto saxes
Andrea Anzola - French horn
Stefano Stagni - French horn
Roberto Bartoli - bass
Stefano Ferri - bass
Franco Feruglio - bass
Bruno Cabassi - percussion
Gianpaolo Salbego - percussion
Guido Vianello - percussion
Paolo Zanella - percussion
Piero Bertelli - percussion
Andrea Centazzo - drums, percussion, conductor

In an artistic career that spans over twentyfive years, Andrea Centazzo has given more than 1000 concerts and live performances in Europe and the United States, as well as having appeared and performed on numerous radio and television broadcasts. He has recorded over 60 LP's and CD's, and has authored 350 compositions and eight musicology books. His musical endeavors and creative expression range from the sublime to the passionate, from lyric opera to orchestral symphony and solo percussion. He has performed in momentous festivals as soloist of his own compositions or as conductor of symphonic orchestras. Centazzo is a pioneer of contemporary percussion. In the early years, he performed with some of the greatest avant-garde soloists and composers, including J. Zorn, S. Bussotti, S. Lacy, D. Cherry, A. Mangellsdorf, E. Parker, etc. Deservedly, Centazzo has received a number of prestigious music and video Awards (Premio Speciale della Critica Discografica Italiana, USA Downbeat Poll, International Video Festival Tokyo, Prix Arcanal of French Culture, etc.) A doctoral graduate in musicology, he has taught seminars and workshops in Europe and the USA. Since 1983, Centazzo has been dedicated to creating multi-media experiences. This expansion began with an exhibition of his scores rendered as painted ideograms, and evolved into video performances combining both live performance with video images. These efforts culminated in his directing award-winning videos and films. As a soundtrack composer, he unites traditional instrumentation with current technological advances in musical expression through sampling machines and computers. These efforts give a new perspective to the fusion of sound and image through his theatre, television, video, CD rom, and feature film scores. The music of A.C. captures and expresses the rhythm and pulse of life by synthesizing the mystery of Oriental percussive vibrations with the timbral harmonic understanding of contemporary music and the soul of jazz and rock post-culture. A.C. continues to contribute his unique artistic vision to the evolution of contemporary culture.

From the moment he embarked on his artistic career, Centazzo was performing a balancing act between improvisational and compositional structures. From the early '80s he began to move away from improvised music in order to dedicate himself to so-called contemporary music in the European classical tradition, and to music of ethnic inspiration, studying composition both intuitively and with the guidance of professors such as Armando Gentilucci.
Initially his approach to composition was something akin to a "dreamlike trance" in which he left aside technical considerations in order to leave space on the score for a creativity which drew its life force from his work as an instrumentalist. Being a self-taught composer takes on a particularly interesting aspect when one considers that his principle points of reference were Gentilucci and Bussotti. In the early '80s Centazzo composed principally for the Mitteleuropa Orchestra, an orchestral grouping born out of a commission from the City of Bologna and the local Music cooperatives, to give a series of concerts in the capital of Emilia Romagna.
The name for the ensemble came not only from the cultural background of its members but also from bc middle-European mold of the music written for it. In the Mitteleuropa Orchestra, Centazzo brought together the finest artists in the field of creative music on the European scene at that time: the Austrian trumpeter-Franz Koglmann, the Portuguese violinist-Carlo Zingaro, saxophonist-Roberto Ottaviano, multi-instrumentalist-Gianluigi Trovesi, and clarinetists-Carlo Actis Dato and Teo Jorgesmann, as well as occasional guest appearances from trombonist-Albert Mangellsdorf, bassist-Mark Dresser and french horn player-Martin Mayer.
The formation was flexible and variable, depending on the performance requirements, bar it retained its essential characteristics thanks to a fixed nucleus of musicians. The orchestra's physiognomy distanced it from the "classical" jazz big bands and aligned it more with contemporary chamber music formations. Using his experience of music making in small combinations, with strong tone-color characteristics, Centazzo achieved a fusion of diverse cultures, (western classical, orierital and Afro-American)in a rigorously controlled musical structure, integrating written orchestral passages with aleatoric sections, creating ample space in which soloists could improvise in "controlled" situations.
Within the orchestra the various personalities of the artists, interacted to create a particular stylistic mix which became the hallmark oft his ensemble. Mitteleuropa gave its debut concert in Bologna in the Summer of 1980, and in December of that same year recorded Mitteleuropa Live, an album taken from live recordings at the Testoni Theatre in Bologna. (A benefit concert for victims of the Irpinia earthquake.) The four extended compositions on the record use pulsating thematic inventions, collective multiphonics, long solo cadences, improvised chamber music initerludes over fixed frameworks; in trio, quartet and quintet, and in dialogues between percussion and soloists. This first performance was a precursor to many other concerts and recordings of material written and directed by Centazzo. The Italian Radio arid Television ("RAI") invited the orchestra to Rome to record the ensemble's repertoire live. In 1983, Centazzo conducted Mitteleuropa at the international festival "Ravenna Jazz " in a performance of Doctor Faustus, a suite which remains unpublished, written in honor of trombonist-Albert Mangellsdorf, who was a soloist with the orchestra for the performance.
A month prior to the festival, Centazzo had entrusted to Mitteleuropa the first performance of his Cjant-Concerto for Small Orchestra, which is preserved in a double album Ictus release.
Cjant is also a fully structured composition with precisely controlled opportunities for improvisation, and was commissioned by the town council of Udine for their 1000th anniversary celebrations. Despite the pompous, ceremonial function of the work, Cjant bas the freshness and enthusiasm of a spontaneous work. Centazzo fuses various influences: Mahlerian symphonic style, hypnotic minimalistic sequences, echoes of archaic fanfares and reminiscences of jazz, and percussion language from orientalisms through to the contemporary.
The instrumentation of Mitteleuropa in Cjant is enlarged with the addition of a string section, whereas for Omaggio a Pier Paolo Pasolini (Homage to Pier Paolo Pasolini), written in 1985, commissioned by the commemoration committee for the tenth anniversary of the poet's death, the orchestra is joined by a soprano singer and a narrator. In the latter, Centazzo paid homage with his music to Pasolini, an artist with whom he shared Friulian origins and a close connection with the city of Bologna. Centazzo's interest in Pasolini was not just the result of these circumstances, the composer had been inspired by the artistic and intellectual unquiet of Pasolini for some time and was intimately familiar with both the literary and cinematic works of Pasolini. Centazzo's study of Pasolini's poetry, in Friulian dialect, is very much part of the music. A provincial tongue which through Pasolini takes on a literary dignity. Prior to this time, "Friulano" had been practically limited to oral tradition.
"Pasolini said that to write a word that had never before been written, would give a new consistency to the sound, would move that sound toward the territory of meaning; a meaning of full bodied sounds, and a truly natural sensuality." Centazzo's music in Omaggio a Pier Paolo Pasolini is aimed at the recovery of that sound; he put to music seven lyrics in Friulian dialect taken from Poesie Dimenticate (forgotten poems) and from Tal Cur Di Un Frút, re-inventing traditional sonorities with "new" instruments, in a compositional tapestry which consciously balances minimalist episodes with echoes of the European contemporary orchestra, entrusting the texts to the narrator and the voice of the soprano.
This work has been presented outside of Italy in 1987: in Munich, Germany at the Gasteig, home of the Philharmonic Orchestra; and at the Expo in Seville, Spain in 1992, when Centazzo presented a re-organized Mitteleuropa enhanced by the presence of the finest soloists on the contemporary Italian scene. Omaggio a Pier Paolo Pasolini was performed in large part due to Roberto Manuzzi's zeal. This very gifted musician had performed as both a saxophone and keyboard soloist in nearly all Centazzo's productions since the formation of Mitteleuropa Orchestra. A fortuitous encounter which would provide Centazzo with no invaluable collaborator to this musical adventure. Summing up his activity as a composer Centazzo says, "I a truly happy that, as a composer, I have never suffered from the typical syndrome of the classical composer who writes only for ideal instrumental combinations, for ideal criteria, in ideal forms. My objective has always been to be able to hear my music performed immediately. This is why I have always written for specific musicians, for existing ensembles, with soloists I know. In some cases the ensemble has been formed first, and then the music to be performed created around it.
I have never felt this to be a limitation, on the contrary, it is a stimulus to obtain something new each time, mixing instrumental sounds in the most daring and unconventional ways possible. Even today, when my writings intentionally aimed at a rediscovery of the traditional values of harmony and melody, I am always striving for unusual tone colorings, and that stylistic touch which imparts a different value to the musical undertaking. The proof of this is that my music, despite its close conformations to conventions, is still considered today not commercially viable by many record companies."
The third of Centazzo's large scale works is Il Canto di un Giorno. The world premiere of this work was held at Lignano, at the Hemingway Convention, sponsored by the American Hemingway Society. In this work Centazzo confronts the tormented personality of Ernest Hemingway. The test written by Marco Maria Tosolini (music critic and author) takes us through the last twenty-four hours of Hemingway's life, ending with Hemingway's suicide.
In a series of rapid and vivid flashbacks, Hemingway's anxiety and obsession with life and death are represented, with the effect of giving his anguish a universal validity. Centazzo's music, the foundation of the entire performance, controls the sequence of narratons, sections sung by the soprano and baritone voices, and dance movements created by Luis Bernardo Ribeiro, (choreographer and dance teacher, who al that time was also a star in Roland Petit's company).
A work not limited by categorization bar one which embraces many modes of expression; recitation, song, music and dance. "This is not a performance come to life only on the stage but rather it is something that existed beforehand where every expressive element and compositional parameter has been preconceived, written into the score and integrated into the whole. The creative force of this compositional experience is due precisely to the influence of many branches of the great river of music; not intended to be, in itself a musical genre, but a stimulating, and I believe provocative experience. It would prove useless to try to classify this composition; a riverbed from which various currents flow, without musical allusions to other worlds, enrichment through gesture, movement, musical strains that search for a unifying form of expression Il Canto di un Giorno becomes a language which evolves from primitive research into the nature of sound to the more problematic one of the methodology of making art as a semantic experience." I Through the enrichment and expressive layering of the song, the music, and the dance, there comes into being that abstract mental condition in which Hemingway passed his last intimate arid secret hours. "A mad mosaic with the pieces all mixed up." Il Canto di un Giorno is an attempt at a synthesis of various musical and theatrical components, without imposing at the onset, a defined result. Throughout its single act, we find distinctive elements, or elements recognizably isolated, but the determining nature of the performance and the "historic" artistic material is never demonstrably resolved into a precise genre.
Centazzo gives rigorous support in his score to the emotive context of the text. Working on a level of refined melody-here expansive, there virtuosic, supported by an orchestral writing dominated by the use of primary colors (low stings, clarinet family, brass and percussion in which we hear highly refined roots, suggestions of and substantial passages of minimalism brought together in a tonal and rhythmic design of which the musical result is loaded with suggestiveness. This eclecticism, while not new to Centazzo, makes the writer's progress recognizable and brings it to the forefront in the visual aspects, nevertheless it provides a point of serious reflection along the way to connect various expressions of artistic communication with the desire to hold them together on a plane of absolute reciprocal biological equilibrium."
The catalog of Centazzo's first twenty years of work is completed by a considerable collection of small ensemble works, and other pieces for Mitteleuropa. A path of his progress can be observed from hi s earliest works in 1973 to the present concert pieces for strings, and works in progress for larger ensembles.
The early trios (for piano, percussion and double bass, and far trombone, clarinet and percussion are layered polymelodic structures, in which themes and counterpoints stimulate improvisation and give its development vibrant support. Then, too, there are more wide-ranging works, including Tagelied for brass quartet- noteworthy for its mixture of techniques of execution, Allarmi for flute and violin-full of quotations of and references to everyday noises, and Visita Al Cimitero Degli Ebrei - an effective monogram for trumpet and magnetic tape. The inspiration for this last work carne when Centazzo visited a small abandoned cemetery while filming the video Tiare. Works for Mitteleuropa, in addition to those already mentioned include Doctor Faustus, Suite For Duke, Musica Schema 1 & 2, Chirimia, First & Third Environments, and Situations. It is interesting to note that with the broadening of compositional technique comes the narrowing of improvisational space, signifying an ever greater control over the musical content, and an abandoning of old styles of expression and many life-styles.
Mention should also be given to the body of compositions for percussion, which are still performed today throughout the world. From the solo passages of Indian Tapes, Just Back, Tiare and Situations to the ensemble pieces Not alone, Trisaghion, Ifix-Action and others, we encounter a fantastic series of allusions, explorations into sounds from other cultures, a synthesis of languages from which the mannerisms of contemporary percussion embrace the rhythmic pulse of primordial drumming and the ethereal atmosphere of oriental gongs.