Thursday, March 3, 2016

Neu! - 2010 - Neu! '86

Neu! '86

01. Intro (Haydn Slo-Mo) (0:33)
02. Dänzig (5:05)
03. Crazy (3:16)
04. Drive (Grundfunken) (5:13)
05. La Bomba (Stop Aparttheid World-Wide!) (5:30)
06. Elanoizan (2:32)
07. Wave Mother (4:53)
08. Paradise Walk (5:11)
09. Euphoria (3:59)
10. Vier 1/2 (1:02)
11. Good Life (3:42)
12. November (1:43)
13. KD (1:54)

- Michael Rother / Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Synthesizer (Fairlight Music Computer)
- Klaus Dinger / Vocals, Drums, Guitar, Keyboards
- Georg Sessenhausen / Drums (3, 4, 8, 11)
- Birgit, Jochen / Vocals (5)
- Michael Grund / Bass, Sounds (8)

Michael Rother's version of the "Neu! 4" album, previously assembled (without Rother's knowledge) by his erstwhile partner Klaus Dinger, is like an identical twin separated at birth, and not altogether compatible with its sibling despite the identical DNA. It's essentially the same aborted album, remixed and rearranged, with some of Dinger's tracks eliminated, others abbreviated, many re-titled, and with one new cut added. But the belated reassembly hardly justifies a separate release, and the new album is actually 14-minutes shorter than it older brother.
According to Rother, the 1995 release of "Neu! 4" was for Dinger "an act of despair". And Rother himself said it "isn't a real Neu! album." But there isn't anything in his new mix to alter that assessment, which makes it easy to defend a lower rating for the same music: it's been done before, and the second round is no more a group effort than its predecessor.

Sadly, Dinger's original model is now out of print, supplanted by the newly licensed 'official' edition. A moot point, in my opinion, as neither version fully deserves to called the fourth studio album from the long-defunct duo. The music itself still has its occasional charm and energy. But it was never more than flotsam, and even less essential as secondhand flotsam.

Neu! - 1996 - Neu! '72 Live! In Düsseldorf

Neu! '72 Live! In Düsseldorf

01. 6 May '72, Part 1 (38:55)
02. Silence (11:11)
03. 6 May '72, Part 2 (6:55)

- Klaus Dinger / drums, voice
- Michael Rother / guitar, voice
- Eberhard Kranemann / bass, voice

No this is not crap this is not the best recording by Neu but is it way way better than 75% of the mush that people cream off about. Neu's studio output is essential , and this is pretty good. When the histories of prog are finally written bands like this will be seen as the real heroes of the hour. This is a Teutonic Master Band applying itself to its musings, it has more in common with modern classical music than the te4chnical masturbation of bands like YES. It is a pretty poor production and recording and that dosn't help. The right place and the right mood are essential to appreciate what is being attempted here. Of course they are very young a distortion that is the bane of popular music. Bands like this need many years to raech perfection, these recordings are still very much the work of young men with relatively scant experience and so often they screw up. When it works it is wonderful. In the studio they were able to edit out a lot of the false experiments the failed attempts and so the studio lps are way better. This is no were near as bad as much of the 80's and 90's industrial output and it compares very well with the best of that. It is not as dark as most music at the fringe and that is good for both the listener and the disappointed listener who doesnt yet get it.

Neu! - 1995 - Neu! 4

Neu! 4

01. Nazionale (3:12)
02. Crazy (3:16)
03. Flying Dutchman (3:56)
04. Schöne Welle (Nice Wave) (4:25)
05. Wave Naturelle (5:37)
06. Good Life (Random-Rough) (3:53)
07. 86 Commercial Trash (3:14)
08. Fly Dutch II (5:05)
09. Dänzing (5:10)
10. Quick Wave Machinelle (3:48)
11. Bush-Drum (3:02)
12. La Bomba (Stop Apartheid World-Wide!) (6:03)
13. Good Life (3:45)
14. Elanoizan (3:27)

- Klaus Dinger / voice, guitar, OB8, mix, drums, percussion, programmes
- Michael Rother / Fairlight, synthesizer, guitar, bass, voice, programmes
- Gigi / drums (on 6, 13)
- Konrad / bass (on 6, 13)
- Jochen / voice (on 12)
- Birgit / voice (on 12)

The mid '80s Neu! reunion album wasn't really much of an album. But it wasn't much of a reunion, either. The aborted studio sessions apparently yielded only one melody, replicated by the duo in assorted variations on a theme: "Nice Wave"; "Wave Naturelle"; "Quick Wave Machinelle", and so forth. More than a decade later the ersatz 'album' was released by Klaus Dinger, heavily amended and without the participation of his partner Michael Rother, who refused to endorse it.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the music strongly resembles a long-lost LA DÜSSELDORF album. And because it was recorded in the 1980s, you can expect to hear a lot of Fairlight synthesizers and digital programs, anathema to old-school Krautrockers with a chip on their counterculture shoulders, but entirely consistent with the mechanized style of the era.

At least the band (thankfully, some would say) wasn't revisiting the desperate experimental territory of their "Neu! 2" album, where two short pieces of music were repeatedly mangled beyond recognition over an entire side of vinyl. The new song, in all its permutations, is actually quite pretty, and employed more like a recurring motif, sometimes with a calming New Age aura ('Schöne Welle"), elsewhere with aggressive New Wave energy ("Crazy"). Rother himself had already followed a similar game plan on his 1979 solo album "Katzenmusik", but the changes here were more radical, even including a goose-stepping club mix in "Dänzing" (note the clever play on the name of the old Prussian capital: a nice bit of Klaus Dinger iconoclasm).

The album's biggest liability, besides its questionable legality, might have been the Neu! trademark itself, raising expectations that could never be met. It might have worked better as a Dinger solo project, since his own handprints on the music were more prominent than Rother's, from the satiric collage of "86 Commercial Trash" to the dreamlike renditions of "Deutschland Über Alles" that bookend the album. But of course it wouldn't have had the same market value.

Michael Rother would later compile his own 'official' (if somewhat redundant) mix of the same tapes (see: "Neu! '86"), in effect suppressing Dinger's original vision, now long out of print. What survives in either example is only a skeleton of what the finished product might have been, given more time and less creative friction. It certainly doesn't belong on the same shelf as the band's earlier iconic albums. But there's a lot here to enjoy, not least the teasing suggestion of how Neu! might have evolved in years to come.

Neu! - 1975 - Neu! 75

Neu! 75

01. Isi (5:00)
02. Seeland (6:57)
03. Leb' wohl (8:51)
04. Hero (6:15)
05. E-Musik (10:50)
06. After Eight (4:42)

- Klaus Dinger / voice, percussion, guitar, piano, organ
- Michael Rother / guitar, piano, synth orchestra, electronics, voice
- Thomas Dinger / drums (on 4, 5, 6)
- Hans Lampe / drums (on 4, 5, 6)

The last of three classic recordings by the legendary Krautrock team of Michael Rother and Klaus Dinger was actually a reunion (more accurately, a reconciliation) album, but unlike the desperate mess of their previous NEU! 2 this effort makes a virtue of its split personality.
It's still a schizophrenic affair: one half hippie sweetness and light, the other half proto- punk energy and aggression, and all it takes is one glance at the band portraits to see where the division falls (I'm assuming the original gatefold album sleeve art was reproduced for the long overdue "official" CD reissue). Rother was photographed in angelic soft focus, his ponytail carefully tied at his neck; Dinger is dressed all in black, sporting cool insectoid sunglasses (indoors) and clutching a cigarette.

The photos reflect their obvious stylistic differences, but the creative tension is, happily, all but invisible in the music. This is easily the most accessible album in the NEU! catalogue, the one most likely to appeal to listeners understandably nervous about exploring the more dangerous avenues of early '70s Krautrock. The first half of the album (Side One, for all you unreformed vinyl junkies) is especially easy on the ears, and points directly to the pristine beauty of Michael Rother's first few solo albums.

The opening three tracks actually work together almost like a 20-minute suite, beginning with the infectious motorik beat of "Isi", and continuing through the dreamy, majestic "See Land" to the narcoleptic nine minute sleepwalk of "Leb' Wohl". You'll notice how the energy level collapses from one song to the next, until by the end of "Leb' Wohl" the pace has slowed to an ambient metronome pulse of solo piano and distant surf, with Dinger muttering something in a semi-conscious whisper about lovemaking on a sandy hill.

After that the rest of the album is like a bracing slap in the face, presenting a barrage of over-amped guitars, pounding drums, and Dinger's patented adenoidal sneer (shouted more than sung). Want to know where Johnny Rotten learned his anti- establishment stage attitude? Listen to "Hero" and "After Eight".

Dinger added extra butt-kicking vigor to the rhythm section by enlisting two auxiliary drummers: brother Thomas, and Hans Lampe; all three would later join to form Dinger's next band, La Düsseldorf (a sort of NEU! lite, and highly recommended to fans of Post- Prog esoterica). The second half of "NEU! '75" is more or less a crude warm-up for the new group, with a similar mix of ringing guitars and non-stop 4/4 drumming, and the same assortment of weird tape noises, in this case sound samples from Side One, slowed down, reversed, and so forth. Not to worry: they're used only for atmospheric transitions, not as entire compositions (as in "NEU! 2").

Rother and Dinger would reunite (again) almost ten years later for one final round of the NEU! experiment, but I haven't yet found the heart to investigate any further. The group in its first, brief incarnation produced some unique and timeless music; why risk spoiling that legacy by listening to something from an entirely different musical climate that can't hope to match the original?

Neu! - 1973 - Neu! 2

Neu! 2

01. Für immer (Forever) (11:00)
02. Spitzenqualität (4:58)
03. Gedenkminute (Für A + K) (1:00)
04. Lila Engel (Lilac Angel) (4:35)
05. Neuschnee 78 (2:30)
06. Super 16 (3:37)
07. Neuschnee (3:59)
08. Cassetto (1:50)
09. Super 78 (1:35)
10. Hallo Excentrico! (3:43)
11. Super (3:07)

- Klaus Dinger / Japanese banjo, 11-string guitar, percussion, Farfisa piano, bandonion, voice, electronics, record player
- Michael Rother / guitar, bass, piano, deh-guitar, violin, zither, percussion, electronics, cassette recorder

Neu! 2 is an album that is often dismissed, mostly because of what was on side 2 of the original vinyl release. It's pretty much mandatory to parrot the story that Neu! ran out of money before finishing the album, so they decided to record their single at different speeds to fill the second half. While this is true up to a point - they really did blow most of their recording budget on the first half of the album - it's a mistake to dismiss the second half of the album entirely.
But first, side 1. The album opens with the brilliant Fur Immer, which starts at the wrong speed (a foretaste of what was to come later on) before settling down into the best and most hypnotic of Neu!'s motorik grooves. There's a definite resemblance to Hallogallo from their previous outing, but here the sound has been processed and refined to perfection; repetitive and ever changing, minimal yet full of detail, it's often referred to as their finest moment and with good reason. For 11 minutes achingly minimal guitar lines intertwine over washes of keyboards and the pulse of Klaus Dinger's perfectly judged drumming. This fades into the drums-and-reverb experiment of Spitzenqualitat, which somehow maintains interest for almost 5 minutes, before a brief soundscaping interlude leads into Lila Engel. This is a slice of motorik proto punk, which was the first example of the sound that Klaus Dinger would explore further on side 2 of Neu! 75 and then with La Dusseldorf, and an insanely catchy piece it is too.

And so we come to the second half of the album. The first thing to point out is that both sides of their one and only single are included here, accounting for about a third of the side's playing time, and both Super and Neuschnee are well up to Neu!'s usual standards. Neuschnee compresses the glacial beauty of their longer pieces into just under 4 minutes and does so highly effectively. Super is a more raw piece, showcasing Klaus Dinger's proto punk sensibilities the way that Neuschnee sets the tone for Michael Rother's side of Neu! 75. These 2 tracks are essential pieces of Neu!'s output, and justify the second half of the album on their own.

The two sides are also played at different speeds, from the sound of it on a cheap and nasty mono turntable, and it is these experiments which cause all the controversy. Back in 1973 this was by no means an obvious ploy; scratching, turntablism and plunderphonics all lay several years in the future, although Kraftwerk had used tapes played back at half or double speed on their second album, so there was some precedent for what they were doing. The obvious solution to filling the album would have been either a 15 minute jam, possibly with a guest musician or two, or a long drum solo from Klaus and a lengthy axe workout from Michael. In an interview with Mojo at the time that these albums were reissued, Klaus Dinger said that they had always planned to 'beat up the record player', and careful listening reveals that there was more going on than just random filler. When the two sides are played at 78 rpm, in addition to the usual distortion we also hear the needle skipping and what sounds like the record player being shaken. In both cases the whole track is played at the wrong speed. This is not the case with Neuschnee 16, which could have filled the missing space on its own - instead the experiment is cut short after three and a half minutes. Two other tracks are included; Cassetto sounds like a Neu! track being played back on a cheap cassette player whose batteries are almost flat, while Hallo Excentrico sounds like the master tape is being wound manually across the heads while some studio chat goes on in the background. On these two tape experiments it's not entirely clear what the source material is, although the title of Hallo Excentrico indicates that it may be Hallogallo.

And are the experiments any good? The 78 rpm tracks are short and to the point, while the 16 rpm track has a fascination of its own - hearing Dinger's drumming in slow motion is remarkably effective. The tape experiments are more of a trial, although they're not wholly without value. Neu! always had an experimental side, and too much thought went into the second half of the album for it to be dismissed as mere filler. The problem is that there's just too much of it, and some of the tracks drag on for too long. Had one or two other fully realised pieces been included, snippets of the tape and turntable experiments could have been interspersed to great effect. As it is, the distorted tracks take up a third of the album's playing time and are often included back to back, making for a slightly indigestible sequence.

Neu! 2 isn't quite a lost classic, but it comes close. Two thirds of the album is strong, original material that stands up well against the rest of their output, and taken on its own terms their experimentation on the second half of the album is occasionally successful and quite innovative. Cautiously recommended to lovers of the experimental side of Krautrock.

Neu! - 1972 - Neu!


01. Hallogallo (10:07)
02. Sonderangebot (4:50)
03. Weissensee (6:42)
04. Im Glück (6:52)
05. Negativland (9:46)
06. Lieber Honig (7:15)

- Klaus Dinger / Japanese banjo, drums, guitar, voice
- Michael Rother / guitar, deh-guitar, bass, double bass

NEU! is a duo of Michael ROTHER (guitars, keyboards) and Klaus DINGER (bass, drums, vocals, guitar and piano). They jumped ship from KRAFTWERK at a very early juncture. The '70s electronic band NEU! created a new kind of rhythm that bridged the gap between rock n roll's syncopation and dance music's four-to-the-floor beats. NEU's music is simple, natural, creating evocative soundscapes that are stimulating rather than tranquilizing. Their melodies are balanced upon driving almost hypnotic beats. From big fans BOWIE and ENO back in the seventies to the hundreds of postrock/electronica acts that namecheck them now, NEU! are gods.

NEU! only made three studio albums during their brief existence in the 70s (another studio album was released in 1995, called "Neu! 4"), but they were uniformly excellent. It's possible that you could discern their "style" just by listening to this one (or any one of the others), but as with CAN, FAUST and KRAFTWERK, to really get the full experience you have to hear all of them. The debut is a fascinating work of experimental Krautrock. The critical status quo qualifies "Neu! 75" as the best of three albums, simply because it is the most musically adept and holds the most studio polish. The "Hallogallo" begins the first album, and is an essential slice not only of Krautrock, but of musical history. This hypnotic album is the most like KRAFTWERK, but the emphasis is on guitars, not keyboards. "Black Forest Gateau" is a British compilation drawing entirely on the first and last LPs.

Krautrock may not be every prog fan's favorite type of music, but there are few canons that demand as much dedication from the listener, and in the end, the trance can't work its magic unless you're there for the duration. I say Krautrock is great prog, and NEU! is as definitive a specimen as any.

Whenever I feel the need to offer a no-strings-attached five-star recommendation I invariably turn to Krautrock, and the debut album by Düsseldorf's best combo (sorry Ralf and Florian) is one of the brightest jewels in the Krautrock crown.
What is it about this band that makes me want to legally add an exclamation mark to the middle of my surname? It can hardly be the richness and complexity of the music, or the virtuoso chops of its two players. Just the opposite, as a matter of fact. The music of NEU! is simplicity itself, taking a rock 'n' roll template and stripping it down to its most basic components: a steady drum beat, played with more stamina than skill, and some of the grooviest one-chord guitar work ever committed to vinyl.

Klaus Dinger called it the motorik beat, and he plays it non-stop throughout the sensational 10-minute long album opener "Hallogallo", with Michael Rother's guitar (in at least four overdubbed tracks) drifting in and out of the mix. With its ridiculously uncomplicated rhythm (the 4/4 meter raised to the acme of linear perfection), the song is the perfect soundtrack for a late-night, long distance road trip, no arguments or exceptions allowed. Listening to it is almost like a glimpse of infinity: the long fade at either end makes me think the song is still playing in some distant parallel universe, and always has been since the creation of sound itself.

The rest of the disc is no less of a challenge, from the jackhammer intensity of "Negativland" (with real jackhammers, please note) to the evocative ambient explorations of "Im Glück" and "Lieber Honig". The latter presents the album's only vocal performance (I hesitate to call it singing), with Klaus Dinger's wordless, pre-adolescent improv sounding like an autistic nursery schooler going down for his afternoon nap, and was miked so closely you can hear every catch in his throat, every click of saliva, before the "song" fades back to the slow rowboat drones of "Im Glück".

The album was barely released outside of Germany at the time, but has since been name-checked as a major influence by some of the coolest bands at work today: Radiohead, Stereolab, Yo La Tengo (to name only a few). Not bad for a 3+ decades old recording that took all of four evenings to assemble.

You could argue (and I wouldn't disagree) that the music of NEU! bears little relation to genuine Progressive Rock. But the fact that they were, and remain, so far ahead of their time is enough reason to include the band in this forum. This album in particular sounds like it was recorded only yesterday, just like it did ten, fifteen, twenty years ago, and likely will a generation or more in the future.

Musica Elettronica Viva - 2008 - MEV 40

Musica Elettronica Viva
MEV 40

Disc 1
1. Spacecraft [1967] (30.49)
2. Stop the war [1972] (44.39)

Disc 2
1. Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, pt. 1 [1982] (43.07)
2. Kunstmuseum, Bern [1990] (24.37)

Disc 3
1. Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, pt. 2 [1982] (44.05)
2. New Music America Festival [1989] (30.51)

Disc 4
1. Ferrara, Italy [2002] (67.03)
2. Mass, Pike [2007] (10.57)

CD1-1 recorded at Akademie der Kunste, Berlin on 5 October 1967;
CD1-2 recorded at WBAI, New York on 31 December 1972;
CD2-1 and CD3-1 recorded at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam in April 1982;
CD2-2 recorded at Kunstmuseum, Bern on 16 November 1990;
CD3-2 recorded at the Knitting Factory, New York on 15 November 1989;
CD4-1 recorded at Ferrara, Italy on 9 June 2002;
CD4-2 recorded during the Festival of Contemporary Music at Tanglewood Music Center, Lenox, Mass. on 2 August 2007.

Front cover (reproduced above), front door of original MEV studio, via Peretti 27, Rome, courtesy Alvin Curran.

Allan Bryant - homemade synthesizer (CD1-1);
Alvin Curran - mbira thumb piano mounted on 10-litre oil can, contact mics, amplified trumpet, voice, VCS3-Putney synthesizer, piccolo trumpet, flugelhorn, Serge modular synthesizer, Akai 5000 and 6000 sampler and Midi keyboard, computer, MAX/MSP, Kontakt-sampler, piano, shofar, MacBook Pro, toy boom boxes;
Carol Plantamura - voice (CD1-1);
Frederic Rzewski - amplified glass plate, contact mics, piano, electronically-processed prepared piano, voice, small instruments;
Richard Teitelbaum - modular Moog synthesizer, PolyMoog and MicroMoog synthesizers with SYM 1 microcomputer, contact mics, voice, Prophet 2002 sampler, DX 7 keyboard, Macintosh computer, computer with MAX/MSP, Crackle box, Kurzweil K2000 sampler keyboard and MacBook Pro with Ableton Live, small instruments;
Ivan Vandor - tenor saxophone (CD1-1);
Garrett List - trombone (all except CD1-1 and CD4-2);
Gregory Reeve - percussion (CD1-2);
Karl Berger - marimbphone (CD1-2);
Steve Lacy - soprano saxophone (CD2-1, CD3, CD4-1);
George Lewis - trombone (CD4-1).

A fourty-year overview on 4 sprawling CDs. MEV were and still are: Alvin Curran, Frederic Rzewski, Richard Teitelbaum, Karl Berger, Allan Bryant, Steve Lacy, George Lewis, Garrett List, Carol Plantamura, Gregory Reeve, Ivan Vandor. "Musica Elettronica Viva (MEV) was begun one evening in the spring of 1966 by Allan Bryant, Alvin Curran, Jon Phetteplace, Carol Plantamura, Frederic Rzweski, Richard Teitelbaum and Ivan Vandor in a room in Rome overlooking the Pantheon. MEV's music right from the start was also totally open, allowing all and everything to come in and seeking in every way to get out beyond the heartless conventions of contemporary music. Taking its cue from Tudor and Cage, MEV began sticking contact mics to anything that sounded and amplified their raw sounds: bed springs, sheets of glass, tin cans, rubber bands, toy pianos, sex vibrators, and assorted metal junk; a crushed old trumpet, cello and tenor sax kept us within musical credibility, while a home-made synthesizer of some 48 oscillators along with the first Moog synthesizer in Europe gave our otherwise neo-primitive sound an inimitable edge. In the name of the collectivity, the group abandoned both written scores and leadership and replaced them with improvisation and critical listening. Rehearsals and concerts were begun at the appropriate time by a kind of spontaneous combustion and continued until total exhaustion set in. It mattered little who played what when or how, but the fragile bond of human trust that linked us all in every moment remained unbroken. The music could go anywhere, gliding into self-regenerating unity or lurching into irrevocable chaos -- both were valuable goals. In the general euphoria of the times, MEV thought it had re-invented music; in any case it had certainly rediscovered it." --Alvin Curran. "This 4CD set, covering the years 1967-2007, comprises the best surviving recorded documents from four decades of performances, personally curated by its three core members -- Alvin Curran, Frederic Rzewski, and Richard Teitelbaum. As such, it is an invaluable historical anthology of one of the pioneering and truly legendary exponents of live-electronic music." Features: "SpaceCraft" (1967), "Stop The War" (1972), "Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Pts. 1 & 2" (1982), "Kunstmuseum, Bern" (1990), "New Music America Festival" (1989), "Ferrara, Italy" (2002), "Mass. Pike" (2007).

Musica Elettronica Viva - 1970 - Leave The City

Musica Elettronica Viva
Leave The City

01. Message
02. Cosmic Communion

Nona Howard
Stéphano Giolitti
Birgit Knabe
Ivan Coaquette
Patricia Coaquette

Spalax have created a subsidiary label (Spalax2) which will be dedicated to the Actuel collection of music, as originally issued by the BYG label out of France. "Musica Elettronica Viva or MEV as they're sometimes called, were founded by Ivan Coaquette (pre-Spacecraft), and also included his wife, Patricia and Birgit Knabe, as well as various other collaborators along the way. The music we find here is an extremely experimental form of electronic jazz which is not a million miles away from the styles of early German Krautrock bands such as Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream. Originally issued in 1970." This was the second of 2 MEV albums to released by BYG in 1970, following The Sound Pool (which featured Alvin Curran, Richard Teitelbaum & Frederic Rzewsi amongst others). It features floating, droning free music freakouts of the finest cosmic quality and this reissue is a major event by any sensible standard. A note of explanation from Frederic Rzewski about the various incarnations of MEV: "In 1968/69 MEV experimented with audience participation and took on a number of new younger people, many of whom were not musicians. We wanted to see how far we could extend the idea of free improvisation, surrounding the core group with people who happened to be around. The group expanded and spawned separate communities. In the early 70's there were three MEV's: one in Rome, led by Alvin Curran; one in New York, where Richard Teitelbaum & I were based; and one in Paris, which was organized by the Coaquettes. Birgit nd Nona were members of the Living Theatre, with whom we also hung out a ot, and Stefano was one of the younger acolytes. The record you are talking about was a kind of hippie child who chose MEV as its identity. Nobody ever found out really who was in MEV. At that time, it was part of a movement, and that part of it that was a part of the movement lived and died with that movement."

Musica Elettronica Viva - 1969 - Friday

Musica Elettronica Viva 

A. Friday (Part One)
B. Friday (Part Two)

Flugelhorn, Performer [Etc.], Other [Coordination] - Alvin Curran
Piano, Electronics, Performer [Etc.], Liner Notes - Frederic Rzewski
Saxophone, Performer [Etc.] - Gunther Carius
Synthesizer [Moog], Liner Notes - Richard Teitelbaum
Trombone, Performer [Etc.] - Franco Cataldi

Recorded in May 1969, London, U.K.

Originally released on LP by Polydor in 1969.

Digipak with 8-page booklet including a text by Frederic Rzewski originally published in Source magazine and an except from Richard Teitelbaum's Some MEV Moments.

"The MEV group was formed in September 1966 by Alvin Curran, Richard Teitelbaum, Frederic Rzewski, Allen Bryant, Carol Plantamura, Ivan Vandor, and Jon Phetteplace. In the beginning they performed compositions by themselves and others which involved the use of electronic sound produced in real time, or 'live' electronic music. In the summer of 1967, they began to work more with improvisation and less with determinate structures. MEV focus more on interpreting the moment, rather than constructing repeatable programs; creating meaningful rituals, not images; becoming involved with the process, the operation, and not with the result of it, or its effects on people. MEV's music is highly eclectic, resisting ready classification by combining elements of improvised music, computer music, world music, jazz and classical composition, without being clearly definable as any one of them. Being creatures of the '60s, MEV members partook of many of the apparent contradictions which the very richness of those extraordinary times, made possible mixing rationalistic social and political theories and action with magic, mysticism and hashish, musically juxtaposing pseudo-primitive rhythmic pulses, drones and chants with avant garde post-serial textures and techniques, inter-connecting organic rhythms of the human body with cutting edge, high-tech synthesizers. But by maintaining an attitude of openness, acceptance, and inclusiveness that allowed for any and all things to co-exist equally, and refusing to regard such dichotomies as contradictions at all, they made what were undoubtedly among MEV, major contributions. For the realization of Friday, recorded in London in May 1969, MEV were Frederic Rzewski (piano, electronics, etc.), Alvin Curran (flugelhorn, etc.), Richard Teitelbaum (Moog synthesizer), Franco Cataldi (trombone, etc.), Gunther Carius (saxophone, etc.). The main theme around this MEV piece is communication. Communication by means of music can be a very efficient means of reaching quick agreement among large numbers of people, because when you call something music, you have tacitly accepted a convention by which it is understood that the sounds that you make have no particular meaning, they are just sounds and therefore free to serve the general purpose of pure communication. Music can bring people together where language divides them. When this happens, the 'concert' will come to resemble other other liberated forms such as the party or the day-off, themselves secular remnants or earlier ceremonies. MEV music is not meant to impress people, but to liberate them." -- Forced Exposure

Here's MEV rarest record.Released in UK 1969 features only one long track spreaded over the 2 sides.Strange avant garde improvisations touching psych weirdness in many parts.Musica Elettronica Viva collective was founded in 1966 with members Frederic Rzewski(electronics, piano), Alvin Curran(flugelhorn, Ananda label), Richard Teitelbaum(moog synthesiser), Franco Cataldi(trombone, etc), Gunther Carius(Saxophone, etc.). Never reissued since 1969

Musica Elettronica Viva was an odd and amorphous group whose vision of collective free improvisation, like that of their British peers AMM, presaged many of the developments of avant music in the ’70s and beyond. The group’s membership shifted constantly around a core of American expatriate composers living in Europe: particularly Alvin Curran, Frederic Rzewski, and Richard Teitelbaum. MEV had been active, in one form or another, since 1966, when they were formed in Rome by Rzewski, Jon Phetteplace, and Allan Bryant, with Curran and others joining soon after. Although initially an ensemble dedicated to performing compositions by the various members, they soon evolved towards free improvisation, playing live music that mixed primitive electronics, conventional instruments, and non-musical objects and devices.

Friday, recorded in London in 1969, was the first LP to appear under MEV’s name. The group here consisted of Rzewski, Teitelbaum, Curran, saxophonist Gunther Carius, and trombonist Franco Cataldi. It’s raw, crude music, plodding and often frankly uninteresting – generating musical interest in any conventional sense seems to be somewhat beside the point of the group’s aesthetic. The LP consists of a single 40-minute live performance, split across the two sides, and it’s dominated throughout by a droney, hazy, indistinct quality. It’s music that seems calculated not to make an impression, to form a background buzz in which sounds blend lazily together, and even the most unpleasant noises simply become another component of the overall drone.

The album opens with a bed of low, rumbling noise backing repetitive horn figures. The horns, slightly rough around the edges, obviously stand apart from the electronic elements but also don’t sound any more overtly “musical” than the backdrop: the two horns in the intro (presumably Curran’s flugelhorn and Cataldi’s trombone) either sound long droning tones or staccato phrases that hammer insistently on the same note without variation. Gradually, Rzewski’s piano fades into the mix, its sound hollow and brittle, surrounded by the droning electronics and the occasional feedback squeal. This is the most compelling stretch of the album, as the piano plays a minimal melody that blends at its edges into the surrounding morass.

Around 9 minutes in, the piano finally gets swallowed up completely by the dull sizzle of the electronics, and the horns trade phrases for a while, sounding intentionally harsh and ugly. A voice speaking about “making love” rises out of the mix and gets looped, accompanied by the clicking sound of tape recorder buttons being depressed. In the piece’s second half, things grows even more monotone and droney, with electronics mingling with held horn notes, and Rzewski dropping lonely-sounding piano clusters into this desolate, creaking landscape. It’s gray, cold music, probably intentionally so. All the sounds are thin and distant, and only occasionally does the music swell to life, cresting in waves of noise before subsiding back to its base state, the weak throb of machines sputtering on the edge of failure.

MEV’s debut has not retained its power after all these years. They were pioneers, heavily influenced by the innovations of John Cage and David Tudor with electronics and contact mics, and they expanded upon those ideas in new contexts. No one sounded quite like them at the time, if only because no one else had the same technology. (In at least one way, that was literally true: Teitelbaum’s Moog synthesizer was the only one in Europe at the time.) As is often the case with pioneers, the passage of time has not been kind to what now sounds like a rough, amateurish experiment – which, to be fair, it was.

Even so, Friday has its moments of interest, though they’re often fleeting. One of the strongest sections comes near the end of the album, when much of the noise drops away to put the focus on what seems to be a sample of someone whistling in a train station, the breathy tune accompanied only by the rumbling of trains and, playing alongside the looped sample, Rzewski’s piano. It’s a simple passage, but a disarmingly effective one, juxtaposing that slice of external reality with the mournful tones of the piano, with minimal noise or processing to distract from the tension that results. Unfortunately, this exchange leads seamlessly into a busy, chaotic finale in which that sample gets chopped-up and layered with noisier interjections from the rest of the group, shattering the gentle balance that had existed for a few minutes there.

That conclusion is indicative of the group’s sometimes shaky improvisational instincts. Elsewhere, Friday simply drifts into the background, which is preferable to that kind of attention-grabbing poor taste, but still isn’t too interesting. This may have been a bold, even shocking debut in 1969 – the group reportedly prompted riots and harangues from angry concert attendees – but today it’s hard to hear what could’ve been the fuss about these indistinct drones.

Moolah - 1974 - Woe Ye Demons Possessed

Woe Ye Demons Possessed

01. Crystal Waters (5:30)
02. Terror Is Real (4:10)
03. Courage (8:20)
04. The Hard Hit (6:55)
05. Mirror's (7:00)
06. Redemption (6:44)

- Walter Burns and Maurice Roberson / All instruments, voices, electronics and effects

 This one appears on the 'Nurse With Wound ' list from 1980. It's avant garde electronic prog for want of a better description. Listening to it I have to say that it's a very strange and unusual album considering it was released in 1974.
Recorded by 'never to be heard of again' reprobates Walter Burns and Maurice Robertson, they utilize backwards phasing and other morphing gadgets to make this recording one of a kind. 'Woe Ye Demons Possessed' is nearly entirely instrumental and full of massive echo and re- verb throughout without a single guitar in sight.

The production and recording itself isn't that good if played at loud volume. The bizarre and erratic nature of the song structures are, however - excellent if somewhat directionless. Moolah are another of those obscure bands whom the likes of 'Throbbing Gristle' and in particular 'Zoviet France' owe a debt. In particular the latter who virtually stole entire piano sections for 'Cirice' for their excellent album 'Eostre' from '84.

Having owned and heard this numerous times since 2006 I have to admit that it's a bit hit and miss. The quieter messed up and atmospheric piano parts are excellent. They reveal an entirely original sound, unlike anything I've heard before. The drums have a bit of a tinny quality which detracts however. Although when everything starts playing in reverse on 'Mirrors' I have a grin on my face like a Cheshire Cat.

A very unAmerican recording, out of time and out of place considering it was an entirely USA affair.

Straight from the sub-subterranean collective basement patronized by all of the world’s greatest psychotic (ehh-hm visionary) artists comes another ultra obscure gem going by the name of Woe Ye Demon Possessed by the group(?)/or maybe it’s just a regular old dude with a rack of wacky effects, Moolah. Think about that name. Moolah. What comes to mind, friends? I personally conjure images of bone in the nose voodoo mamas twirling in some swamp drug ecstasy. Maybe that comes from my association of the word Moolah with that famous female wrestler The Fabulous Moolah; not that that matters. I’m just typing to type at this point. You know, taking up space to make this look more profound than it really is.
Alright, back to the topic at hand. Moolah – Woe Ye Demon Possessed. I know nothing about this LP. I don’t know its history, who made it, what city it was made in (it is from the good ole’ Stars and Stripes, but one could very easily assume Deutschland). This makes for some very compelling mystery. I do know that there is a great buzz among collectors of rare psych records. So, naturally, being the conformist that I am, I too decided to hop on that kaleidoscopic, day glo bandwagon with the rest of the damned. This was a good decision on my part because Woe Ye Demon Possessed is pretty frakin’ awesome and in dire need of a cd reissue.
Seeing as how there’s no prominent data on the recording (even on the almighty internet), I gathered as much as I could from the cover; it’s that famous evil eye over the American dollar with the Latin phrase. I don’t even know how to order a beer in classical Latin. So I’m not about to feign a bullshit translation. One might assume that this somehow relates to wacky conspiracy theories about the Freemasons/ Bilderberg Group ad barfum. I don’t subscribe to that. I would guess it’s an ode of sorts of to the race of aliens who helped guide the Egyptians in their constructive efforts, the eye symbolic of their observations and inevitable return to Mother Gaia. There’s also that superb title Woe Ye Demon Possessed: the man enlightened with the knowledge of his extra terrestrial guardians is the one who’s possessed. (Perhaps not alien beings, but the one who’s possessed with the omniscient powers of the psychotrope is possessed, etc.)
On to the music! The only proper appellative I could grant would be – “a lost field recording made by an ‘animistic’ alien enlightened tribal people who somehow had the ability to bend time.” That’s an incredibly pretentious way of putting it. In non wacko terms I can hear a strong Faust 1, Guru Guru and Ash Ra Tempel influence. Just add a twist of ultra lo fi and a sprinkle of Texas garage psych and you have something similar to the finished product. I’ve often suffered with many sleepless nights where I asked myself, “Damnit! When am I going to hear an American record with a distinct kosmische influence? When? Why God? Why?” Well, I think the Lord above answered my prayers and blessed with me this LP.
It starts off with a profound, deity invoking bang with “Crystal Waters”, a ritualistic piece that sounds as though it should be played on a ziggurat prior to a human sacrifice. If The Tempel was playing garages in the late 60’s, this would have been the product: Schulze synths on speed, heart beat drums, ancient keys. Great stuff. Follow that with a schizophrenic outburst/psycho-delic exorcism, “Terror Is Real”, and then a buried on the ocean floor fuzz hum bar room piano, “Courage”. You have one kick ass album side.
Side two is also profoundly sublime. Both “The Hard Hit” and “Mirror’s” follow the same unsettling bleeping buzz synth, chanting voices from another dimension pattern. It all builds up into crazy tension. I feel as though I’m at a séance of sorts. Plus, “The Hard Hit” features some weird kinda’ sorta’ motornik drums before they go off into the great beyond with those creepy voices. The last track “Redemption” brings back the piano and anachronistic radio fuzz. It calms everything down, leaves you staring off into space waiting for the redeemers themselves to finally land.
All in all, I found this to be a fabulous recording, a great shining diamond in the rough. Krautfreaks will agree too. I predict that this will eventually be reissued. Good things come to those who wait. Cult labels won’t be sleeping on this for much longer. Happy hunting. It’s well worth the chase, friends.

Mahjun - 1977 - Happy French Band

Happy French Band 

01. Sec Beurre Cornichon (4:30)
02. L'Un Dans L'Autre (5:25)
03. Casse-Moi C'Rock (4:45)
04. L'Abeille Gratte-Ciel (2:50)
05. Tango Panache (3:20)
06. D'Abord D'Ailleurs (5:25)
07. Glandos (8:45)

- Jo Paganini / bass, vocals
- Jean-Pierre Arnoux / drums, percussion
- Daniel Happel / guitar, vocals
- Jean-Pierre Thirault / saxophone, vocals
- Jean-Louis Lefebvre / violin, mandolin, vocals

This French group started out under the spelling of Maajun and their debut album from 1971 is supposed to be a bit of a classic in a mixture of early underground styles. It's not on CD however. They changed the spelling of the name and a released a couple of albums for Saravah in '73/'74 and then this last album in 1977 (on Gratte Ciel). There's a post-Zappa influence involved and they supposedly "melded Arab, Free, and folk influences, doling out derision through satirical lyrics and music which parodied popular tunes."

Lemon Kittens - 1981 - The Big Dentist

Lemon Kittens 
The Big Dentist

01. They Are Both Dirty (11:19)
02. The Hospital Hurts The Girl (4:30)
03. Mylmus (4:09)
04. No Night Not Shared (4:55)
05. Oath (4:08)
06. The Log And The Pin (4:00)
07. Nudies (3:17)
08. An Untimely End (2:11)

'Those that bite the Hand that feeds them sooner or later must meet.....THE BIG DENTIST'; to give it its full title,- is pop music filtered through an aural equivalent of a funny fairground mirror in a shadow earth from the 9th dimension.Yes, this is experimental rock's version of String Theory; but I understand string theory more than this.The Lemon Kittens are beyond rational thought,and exist in a parallel reality to utter shite like U2 and Kasabian. They drag you into places you don't wanna go, screaming and kicking;then like the reason Hell cannot exist,you get used to it,and then get to enjoy it.Unfortunately though,The Big Dentist only lasts 38 minutes and not Eternity.

From : "With no "proper" musical skills upon their formation in Surrey, England, the Lemon Kittens epitomized the "anything goes" spirit of late-'70s post-punk in the U.K. Karl Blake, who cut his teeth in numerous outfits prior to the Lemon Kittens, started the band with Gary Thatcher and a revolving cast of others (which at one point included future Alternative TV leader Mark Perry), but at the time of the release of their first EP in 1979, the seven-song Spoonfed + Writhing 7", the group's lineup featured Blake, Thatcher, N. Mercer, Mylmus, and Danielle Dax. The group was whittled down to a duo of Blake and Dax by February of 1980; the other three members had fled, making for the group's 16th different lineup change since initialization in April 1978. Blake and Dax then decided to operate primarily as a duo, with help coming from whoever whenever they needed the assistance to perform. Later in 1980, Blake and Dax released We Buy a Hammer for Daddy on the United Dairies label (their labelmates included fellow oddballs and noise-mongers Whitehouse and Nurse With Wound), an album that featured the duo swapping a wide variety of instruments. The Cake Beast EP came out in February of 1981; Dax left after its release to begin a successful solo career, which Blake took part in sporadically throughout the '90s. In late 1982, the Illuminated LP Those That Bite the Hand That Feeds Them Must Sooner or Later Meet...the Big Dentist (best referred to as The Big Dentist) became the group's second full-length. Blake rounded up a new group of cronies, laid the Lemon Kittens to rest, and began the Shock Headed Peters."

Lemon Kittens - 1980 - We Buy A Hammer For Daddy

Lemon Kittens 
We Buy A Hammer For Daddy

01. Pain Topics (4:24)
02. Reversal 2 (2:34)
03. These Men of Old England (2:25)
04. Wrist Job / Once Green and Pleasant Land (2:45)
05. Lycanthrothene (3:06)
06. Motet (3:10)
07. Throat Violence (2:28)
08. False Alarm (Malicious) (1:58)
09. P.V.S (1:55) MP3 sample
10. Small Mercies (2:03)
11. Coasters (3:48)
12. Up In Arms (2:34)
13. The American Cousin (1:50)
14. Evidence (2:25)
15. Rome Burning (1:31)
16. (Afraid of Being) Bled by Leeches (2:14)

Now just a duo, of Danielle Dax and Karl Blake, they produced one of the most startlingly original lp's of the DIY era.Sort of John cage meets the Krankies on bad LSD. The obvious lack of musical technique is more than made up for by that long forgotten ingredient, ideas and originality.

Lemon Kittens - 1980 - Cake Beast

Lemon Kittens 
Cake Beast

01. Kites
02. Only a Rose.
03. Popsykle

Danielle Dax: Vocals, Keyboards, Tapes.

Karl Blake: Vocals, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Drums.

~ with assistance from ~
Ian Sturgess: Guitar, Bass Guitar. Mike Barnes: Percussion.

There are few musics that sound like they were made in a mental asylum. Mostly we only hear music that sends you to a secure unit, like Dire Straits,or Beyonce.
The Lemon Kittens are the sound of padded cells.An electroencephalogram made aural of a troubled mind.
They inhabit a world where playing 'in time' is strictly for 'Normals',and melodies make adults scream for their mothers and children weep for joy.
The music is a feral mix of every bizarre pop and channelled experimental impulse the pair could manifest; bursting forth with all the skewed syncopation  of breaking glass. Somehow pulled through a distorted wormhole from a parallel, inverted existence, into the UK DIY scene. Poof!
So throw on that Electro-convulsive therapy kit you were saving for special occasions , set it to max, and dance to Cake Beast!

Lemon Kittens - 1979 - Spoonfed And Writhing

Lemon Kittens 
Spoonfed And Writhing

01. Shakin All Over 3:30
02. This Kind Of Dying 4:55
03. Morbotalk 1:55
04. Bookburner 1:55
05. Whom Do I Have To Ask 2:35
06. Chalet D'Amour 3:20
07. Not A Mirror 2:30

Danielle Dax
Ian Sturgess
Karl Blake
Mike Barnes

Short lived experimental group formed by Karl Blake in his home town of Reading.  Karl asked Danielle to design the cover for an EP, Danielle joined, and pretty soon the group became a duo.  Signed by Nurse With Wound's John Fothergill, they became part of the United Dairies label's roster of eclectic and bizarre acts on the very outer fringes of the UK's alternative scene.  Splitting in 1982, Danielle became a successful indie solo act, although her bid to make the mainstream ultimately failed.  Karl ploughed ahead into more obscure realms with his group Shock Headed Peters, and occasionally playing as a member of Current 93 and Sol Invictus.

The Lemon Kittens come from a stranger place than most normal DIYer's, from the crustier edge of the pie, but none the less,part of the same pie. The link between the TV Personalities and Throbbing Gristle.
This is the first release from Karl Blake and Danielle Dax, and it is suitably nuts. Great off kilter pop tunes with the logic of dreams, sounds like a karaoke night in a lunatic asylum.

With no “proper” musical skills upon their formation in Reading, England, the Lemon Kittens epitomized the “anything goes” spirit of late-’70s post-punk in the U.K. Karl Blake, who cut his teeth in numerous outfits prior to the Lemon Kittens, started the band with Gary Thatcher and a revolving cast of others (which at one point included future Alternative TV leader Mark Perry), but at the time of the release of their first EP in 1979, the seven-song ‘Spoonfed + Writhing’ 7?, the group’s lineup featured Blake, Thatcher, N. Mercer, Mylmus, and Danielle Dax.
The group was whittled down to a duo of Blake and Dax by February of 1980; the other three members had fled, making for the group’s 16th different lineup change since initialization in April 1978. Blake and Dax then decided to operate primarily as a duo, with help coming from whoever whenever they needed the assistance to perform.

Komintern - 1971 - Le Bal Du Rat Mort

Le Bal Du Rat Mort

01. Bal Pour Un Rat Vivant (16:28)
02. Le Bal du Rat Mort (16:57)

- Francis Lemonnier / saxophone, vocals
- Serge Catalano / drums, percussions
- Michel Musac / guitar
- Olivier Zdrzalik / bass, vocals, organ, piano
- Pascal Chassin / guitar

Guest musicians:
- Raymond Katarzynski / trombone
- Pierre Thibaud / trumpet
- Fred Gérard / trumpet
- Joss Baselli / accordion
- Jeanne de Valène / vocals

This French band was founded by Francis Lemonnier (sax and vocals) and Serge Catalano (drums and percussions) in May 1970 after they left Red Noise due to musical and political disagreements. The name chosen gives you a clear indication as to their political views. The band released one album called "Le Bal Du Rat Mort" in 1971 and one single "Fou, roi, pantin" and were active until 1975. The musicians that joined them were Michel Musac (guitar), Olivier Zdrzalik (bass, vocals, organ and piano) and Pascal Chassin (guitar). At first they were less focused on composing only music but more on mixing it along with satiric theater - a sort of "cabaret satirique", in order to express their extreme left views. They used their music to enhance their message, and they did it in a manner that mixed several styles of music that would fit their show and the message to be passed on to the crowd/listeners. They were related to extreme left movements such as the "Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire" and they toured in the summer of 1970 in, among other places, universities and factories that were in strike.

In July 1971 they manage to get into a recording studio of Pathé Marconi with the help and influence of Philippe Constantin et Etienne Rodagil. They are joined by guests musicians such as the Quintette de Cuivres lead by trombonist Raymond Katarzynski, trumpet players Pierre Thibaud et Fred Gérard, Joss Baselli on accordion and vocalist Jeanne de Valène. The producer Philippe Constantin does some editing of their texts and leaves out two texts that were recited without any music and replaces the booklet which featured originally a painting by Diego Ribeira.

Le Bal Du Rat Mort (The Dead Rat's Ball) is released in December 1971 and 2000 copies are sold. This release did not exhibit the true face of the band, but it did however show their talent as musicians and as composers and ability to combine different influences. This album is a mixture of rock, free-jazz, fusion, folk, oldies tunes, chanson Francaise and a general theatrical and quirky approach to composing. The overall result is a well-done mixture of styles and atmospheres. This may not be groundbreaking but it is different than the average output of French bands at that time and can be seen as avant-garde in their musical approach in this album.

In 1972 Komintern forms "Front de Libération de la Rock-Music" along with
Lard Free, Barricade I and Barricade II, Herbe Rouge, Robert Wood's Tarot and Alpha du Centaure. This movement published a manifest in a journal and their general message was that of anti-bourgeois culture. They tried to spread their word through journals, leaflets, concerts, all arranged by Gilles Yéprémian which was the manager and producer of Lard Free and Komintern. However this movement eventually dissolved.

In 1975 Serge Catalano et Pascal Chassin left Kominern. Catalano is replaced by two drummers: Gilbert Artman de Lard Free and Michel Bourgheix. The group goes on a bit with some shows but eventually breaks up. Catalano continues with his activity in the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire. Francis Lemonnier becomes a music teacher. Richard Aubert would play with Atoll and Kool Gool. Olivier Zdrzalik would play with Malicorne and along with Michel Muzac in the Lapins bleus des îles.

The proof that RIO didn't spring out the forehead of Chris Cutler one particularly inspired Saturday morning in 1977
After leaving the theatrical satire groove of Red Noise both Francis Lemonnier(sax, vocals) and Serge Catalano(drums, percussion) went onto new pastures after a major fall out with the rest of the band supposedly to do with polics. Joining forces with them were Michel Musac(guitar), Olivier Zdrzalik(bass, vocals, organ and piano) and Pascal Chassin(guitar) who all seemed to sport identical extreme leftist views.

In Komintern politics, theatre, French culture and absurdity are all scrambled up in this furious roller-coaster ride. You carefully plug into your seat, and BOOOM the ride is off to a wondrous circus land of strange sailor motifs and dancing Mandrill monkeys on balconies. Additionally you find a complexity regarding musical turnovers that'll make Gentle Giant look like Meat Loaf. Pacing wildly through avantguarde cabaret rock, fusion, angular folky chanson and zany off hinged vocal dominated sections, Le Bal de Rat Mort offers up the possibility of what Samla Mammas Manna would've sounded like, if they were French. Funny thing is that both of these bands actually were playing parallel to each other during the start of the 70s - developing a similar feel and sound at much the same time, only with two completely different cultures running the engine room. My guess is that they probably didn't even know about the other band's existence, let alone what their music sounded like.

All of this obviously started with Frank Zappa, and I think both Samla Mammas Manna and Komintern were highly influenced by Zappa's humoristic irreverence - not only in the lyrical sense but moreover in the manner in which he sliced through contemporary music with huge scissors and chainsaw elbows. Franky boy practically infused Dadaism into the rock world as something tangible and funny. Something you could actually make use off. Komintern took the baton up, just as Red Noise had did, and ran this filter through the heartland of France - it's age old accordion music, the new jazz rock, chanson traditions, beat music flirtations, and then managed to create an entirely unique sound for themselves. A sound that shakes you from your tree - rustles up the ground, and has you bouncing up and down with twitchy, unwieldy and nonsensical joy.

Apart from the core of the band, there are guesting musicians joining in on trumpet, trombone, accordion as well as the wonderful expressive vocals of Jeanne de Valène that show themselves in the most brilliant moments. The infusion of what now is a small Big Band(hoho), litters this entire album in scattered reed chit chatter - making you feel as if you're sitting in a room with some 50 different bird species all competing for your seed.

This is what makes circus elephants horny at 4 in the morning. It's what drunk clowns listen to when they're base jumping off the Eiffel Tower. It's the sort of music that leaps into your head like a long stretched limousine with silver doors and bells on it. It makes you jump for joy - dance into trances maniacally dripping with energy and sweat - open windows in places there are no windows, and shout LARS! at people in the street you've never met in your life.

I have read other music writers before me stating, that The Dead Rat's Ball (What a sensational title eh?) wasn't as experimental and ground-breaking as it's peers when it hit the street in 1971. As opposed to who I might enquire? How wrong they are. I truly object to such an obvious ludicrous statement. This is one of the most experimental and out there albums of it's time, and perhaps together with Måltid from SMM, Le Bal du Rat Mort lays down the blueprint of what later became the principles behind the RIO movement. This is genesis right here, don't you forget it people!

Joseph Beuys & Albrecht D. - 1974 - Performance At The ICA London 1.Nov.1974

Joseph Beuys & Albrecht D. 
Performance At The ICA London 1.Nov.1974

A Part 1 23:40
B Part 2 24:00

Albrecht/d.: performer, voice, tambourine, instruments
Joseph Beuys: tabla, bamboo flute, tambourine, harmonica, instruments

Recorded at The Institute of Contempary Arts (ICA) in London on 1 November 1974 - the first day of the exhibition "Art Into Society - Society Into Art".
The A side contains extracts from various parts of the concert.
The B side contains one continuous part of the concert.

First edition with blue cover.
Sleeve is a 24"x12" paper sheet folded in 2, in clear PVC cover.

A special issue of 99 of these copies is numbered and signed by both artists. The regular blue sleeve is packaged into an additional sleeve, a 24"x12" folded cardboard with a two-color silkscreen titled "Ich durchsuche Feldcharakter", with an original photo of Beuys mounted on the backside.

Faust - 2014 - j US t

j US t 

01. Gerubelt (5:14)
02. 80hz (5:36)
03. Sur le Ventre (4:33)
04. Cavaquinho (1:01)
05. Gammes (4:37)
06. Nahmaschine (3:14)
07. Nur Nous (3:20)
08. Palpitations (7:37)
09. Der Kaffee Kocht (3:51)
10. eeeeeeh? (1:58)
11. Ich bin ein Pavian (3:53)
12. Ich Sitze Immer Noch (7:51)

Line-up / Musicians
- Jean-Hervé Peron / voice, bass, concert guitar, trumpet, cavaquiño, flame-thrower, psalterion, goatshooves, toy-vibraphone, marching drums
- Zappi W. Diermaier / drum

turbid ideals of the counterculture. Just Us begins with Gerubelt, in which Jean-Hervé Peron sets up an insistent one-note bassline, while Zappi Diermaier provides stray rattles and rumbles of percussion. Presently, it lurches into grimy life, but still basically marches on the spot. If you seek any further development you’ll have to supply it yourself – which is, in fact, the animating principle behind this project. As befits veterans of an effectively anarchist collective, Peron and Diermaier have devised a series of minimal canvases for listeners do with what they will, and have even pledged to “invite local artists to collaborate with them on stage” when they subsequently tour the album.
Thing is, they work in their own right anyway as audio-vérité slices of rural life, frequently accompanied by birdsong (and even a barking dog on Ich Sitze Immer Noch). You become mesmerised by Der Kaffee Kocht, its contagious rhythm produced by the rasp of a file, or the clanging Sur Le Ventre, with Peron exhorting in French. Furthermore, you may not be prepared for the downright prettiness of the acoustic Cavaquiñho or the folksy swing of its immediate successor

Faust - 2011 - Something Dirty

Something Dirty 

01. Tell The Bitch To Go Home (5:53)
02. Herbststimmung (5:37)
03. Something Dirty (7:13)
04. Thoughts Of The Dead (2:10)
05. Lost The Signal (8:43)
06. Je Bouffe (1:27)
07. Whet (2:07)
08. Invisible Mending (2:16)
09. Dampfauslass 1 (3:21)
10. Dampfauslass 2 (2:34)
11. Pythagoras (2:11)
12. Save The Last One (0:19)
13. La Sole Dor?e (5:16)

- Geraldine Swayne / Piano, Electric Piano, Synthesizers, Percussion, Guitar, Organ, Vocals, Performer [Psalterion]
- James Johnston / Electric Guitar, Synthesizer, Electric Piano, Organ, Piano, Theremin
- Jean-Hervé Peron / Voice, Bass, Concert Guitar, Trumpet, Cavaquiño, Flame-thrower, Psalterion, Goatshooves, Toy-vibraphone, Marching Drums
- Zappi W. Diermaier / Drums

Faust have been a part of my sonic diet for a decade now, and whilst I was rather reluctant to sample their later output, I did finally overcome my preservations - going slightly overboard buying a couple of albums from the 90s along with this one. My fave from these guys is their masterly futuresque, dirty and gritty 4th album. Something wonderful happened: Everything erupted. The tigers broke free, as Roger put it a long time ago, but in regards to this particular band: how long can these orange creatures keep roaming the streets without adapting some form of altered behaviour?

Something Dirty is what you would expect a Faust album to be: expressive, buzzing, twirling, mechanical and improvisational. Listening to any sort of Faust record after their famous 4th has become an almost predictable experience, and here I am treading lightly, because even with the improbable foresight of one Nostradamus - you'd be hard pressed to actually know beforehand what lies around the corner in Faust's music. Often jagged and boisterous - fiddling around with insect noises, beetle choirs, little tiny charades played by an electric ant army hammering away on metallic grasses and minuscule congas. -No it's not about being able to spot the coming twists in the music, but rather to do with being fed the same sort of dish throughout a period of nearly 40 years. I'm being pretty hard with Faust here, but that is only because I love them dearly. It's like a record with The Rolling Stones if you will - you know what to expect, and if you by some miraculous chance get surprised, feel overwhelmed by an altogether new listening experience, then damn! What a thrill! More power to them! Maybe I'm missing the point here, because I still listen to this album with a great deal of pleasure, and had it not been a 2011 release, I'd most likely award it with a full 4 star rating, but I still feel like they could do so much more had they tried something a little different.

The big question though is, how does one even begin to do something differently within the confines of Faust's music? The music is damn near as challenging and thrill seeking as it gets. Now having spent a good amount of time with this album, and listening to it on my way home from work this afternoon with bloodied skies and shaking trees in the side of the road, -something struck me: What really lets this album down is its production. One only needs to dig out the original IV album to hear where it came from. The tunnelling buzzing synths worming along in the music to the distorted harking coughing guitars - the overall sound quality is still deeply rooted in a moment in time where all of this was new, out on a ledge and dangerous. Personally I think this band doesn't need to change one iota of their material apart from the production, but again this is coming from a long time fan, and if you happen to be a Faust virgin and reading this, then you should forget everything I've just said and just go ahead and buy this, because it really is a formidable album and one that paves the way into this remarkable artist just as well as any other of their most recent efforts.

Imagine a post apocalyptic world - where human cyborgs form a band out of leftover musicians, blenders, smashed up televisions and every little insect in sight. They play odes to the industrial nature of our long lost society - taking their inspiration from the crackling surfaces of nuclear power plants, abandoned factory halls, scrapyards and ash grey burned down electronic stores that blink and twitch in stroboscopic neon cries. Apply each of these individual images with the appropriate instrument - be that screeching trash can synths, bare naked metallic rumbling drums or the heavy breathing ghost like bass lines - and voila: you've got Faust!

This is a fine way to start your voyage into the magic of Faust, and whilst still feeling a bit disappointed that they didn't try anything new, I happen to enjoy this record immensely. On a personal level I am giving Something Dirty 4 stars, but this isn't the 70s any more, and I honestly think the industrial production could be swept under the rug for a change - only to welcome something new, preposterous, out there, beautiful or whatever - instead of something dirty, which I've heard a hundred times before.

Faust - 2010 - Faust Is Last

Faust Is Last

CD1 (Faust A)
1. Brumm Und Blech (2:24)
2. Imperial Lover (4:22)
3. Feed The Greed (5:05)
4. Chrome (2:46)
5. Soft Prunes (2:41)
6. Nachtfahrt (2:21)
7. Hit Me (3:41)
8. Dolls And Brawls (1:37)
9. Drug Wipe (5:22)
10. Steinbrand (5:21)
11. I Don't Buy Your Shit No More (2:00)
12. Babylon (4:22)
13. X-Ray (3:34)
14. Cluster Fur Cluster (0:29)
15. Day Out (2:45)

CD2 (Faust Z)
1. Karneval (7:32)
2. Ozean (5:19)
3. SofTone (5:10)
4. In But Out (7:49)
5. GhosTrain (4:35)
6. Vorubergehen (7:57)
7. Primitivelona (6:57)

- Werner 'Zappi' Diermaier /drums
-Jean-Herve Peron / bass, vocals
- HJ (Jochen) Irmler / organ,electronics
- Steven Wray Lobdell / guitar
- Michael Stoll / bass
- Lars Paukstat / percussion,vocals
- Jan Fride / drums

- Ingo Vauk / Bass, editing, arranging (CD 1, tracks 1-3)
- Z'EV / Transforms (CD 2, tracks 1, 3-7)
- Alfred Harth / Saxophone (CD 1, track 13)
- Alexandra Von Bolz'n / Extreme vocals (CD 2, all tracks)

Wow! I almost forgot such kind of music could be played not from archive releases! Faust released 2 CD long album,full of fresh and energetic krautrock, deeply rooted in early 70-s, but with refreshed sound.
Mostly instrumental album (still contains some vocals compositions) is noisy,ambient, repetitive in moments,psychedelic - but first of all its sound very fresh and never boring (what isn't easy for such long release with big amount of instrumental music)! First CD is a home for shorter almost instrumental only compositions with quite relaxed psychedelic improv sound, the second - longer and much noisier improvs with few different vocals, by its atmosphere (and sometimes even directly) similar to some early freaky Cpt.Beafheart's works.Strongest impression reminded after album's listening - I can hardly remember another release so filled with distorted instruments sounds! Yes, it's krautrock, and I didn't expected clear sounds, but level of distortion is over all my expectations! And it works - for sure it strongly depends on personal taste, but for me this music was a fresh air breath on nowadays experimental scene.It's great both 2 CDa are quite different between each other, but are important parts of the album - without any of them album wouldn't be the same for sure!

Free jazz sax, ambient sounds, electric guitars soloing, vibrating bass, jazzy and tribal drumming, noisy and very psychedelic atmosphere - this album isn't just collection of songs, it's a great piece of art in whole! By its scale this release reminded me the time when Pink Floyd's albums were each such piece of art.

After some listening this album growth in me, and I believe I will need to listen it more and more. One of greatest surprise of 2010!

Faust - 2009 - Rehearsals Cloudshill Studios, Hamburg-Germany, Feb.2009

Rehearsals Cloudshill Studios, Hamburg-Germany, Feb.2009

01. No Name 2:45
02. Les Fleuves / Rivers 4:07
03. Mamie Is Blue 2:54
04. Wanken / Staggering 5:29
05. Faust Meets Faust 4:06
06. Confession / No Name 2:54
07. No Name 4:53
08. Herz Allerliebste Meins / Beloved One 2:58
09. Turn Me Off 3:03
10. C'est Com...Compliqué / Complicated 6:26
11. Ich Bin Dein Hund / I Am Your Dog 3:41
12. Bambou / Bambu 3:17
13. No Name 5:12
14. Koan 3:33
15. Language Of Angels 4:33

Performer – Geraldineswayne*, JHP*, Zappi
Faust rehearsals at Clouds Hill Studios, Hamburg, Germany, February 09

we make music for our friends
CDr, Limited Edition, Slipcase hand-painted + printed

Faust - 2009 - Live In Oslo

Live In Oslo

01. Hallooo 0:24
02. Faust Meets Faust 8:48
03. The Drums Of Bergen 9:26
04. Es Ist Mir Kalt 7:34
05. The Sad Skinhead 3:01
06. Petits Sons Appetissants 3:46
07. Flash Back Caruso 5:03
08. Your Friend From The North 9:00
09. An English Woman's Dream 8:49
10. Krautrock 12:30

Performer – Jameshodson*, Jamesjohnston*, JHP*, Ronnywaernes*, Terryedwards*, Zappi

we make music for our friends

CDR comes in a hand-painted cardboard slipcase. The CDR itself is hand-written.

Faust - 2009 - C'est Com... Com... Compliqué

C'est Com... Com... Compliqué 

01. Kundalini Tremolos (9:06)
02. Accroché à tes Lèvres (7:49)
03. Ce Chemin est le Bon (7:53)
04. Stimmen (2:06)
05. Petits Sons Appétissants (4:20)
06. Bonjour Gioacchino (5:07)
07. En Veux-tu des Effets, en Voilà (7:22)
08. Lass Mich (Original Version) (1:54)
09. C'est Com...Com...Compliqué (13:40)

- Jean-Hervé Péron / Bass, vocals
- Amaury Cambuzat / Guitars, keyboards, vocals
- Werner Diermaier / Drums

Since returning to the public eye in the early 1990s, this legendary Krautrock collective has been a lot more prolific than I would have expected. I remember when Rien hit the shelves, and I thought it was a miracle that such a mercurial and fleeting band (their early 70s heyday lasted just a few years) would actually return to create new music that was, if such a thing is possible, even more far-out than the music for which they achieved their notoriety. But back they were, and Rien was such a difficult listen (lots of abstract noise and lots of silence, even more so than the typical Faust album) that I thought for a while that the band's subsequent releases might not interest me that much, so I stopped following them. However, several years later I took the plunge and found that Faust had indeed returned to the adventurous Krautrock spirit they helped define, and were continuing down their old path while pushing in new directions at the same time.
This album is one of their most sophisticated releases, not exactly accessible, but with a depth and texture that is sometimes lost in their more strident material. The overall mood is somber and subdued, with lots of drones underscoring slow robotic beats, spoken lyrics, and gently buzzing synths. It's not all monochromatic, happily: variety appears in tracks such as "Petits Sons Appetissants", a gently sung waltz with acoustic guitar and piano accompaniment. And it's not all quiet, as the heavy droning pulse of "Bonjour Gioacchino" will attest. The longer tracks, however, are generally quieter and more contemplative than the average Faust tune. I hesitate to say "Faust Lite", but when you consider Faust's legacy, that still allows for some pretty avant garde stuff, and that's in fact what we have here. It's just dressed up in smoother textures than their more "out" albums (e.g. The Faust Tapes).

I think this album would appeal to fans of "So Far" and "Faust IV". It's a great example of Faust's continued vitality in the new millenium. It doesn't try to replicate the music of their past, but it doesn't leave it behind, either. It's a continuation of where they have been going all along, forward along their own path. The fact that they now sound more contemporary than they did in the 1970s is probably evidence that the rest of the music world is only now coming around to the novel ideas they brought to the table so long ago.

Faust - 2008 - Kleine Welt (Live)

Kleine Welt (Live)

01. Ablach 11:07
02. I Was Shy Before 4:32
03. Foam Of War 9:03
04. Auf Frostigem Boden 9:08
05. Crawling Wax 16:59
06. Thru 5:16
07. Jet Set Lady 8:45
08. Terrorize Me 5:51

Bass, Flute – Michael Stoll
Drums, Percussion – Jan Fride Wolbrandt
Guitar, Percussion – Steven W. Lobdell*
Organ, Keyboards, Vocals – Hans Joachim Irmler
Percussion, Vocals – Lars Paukstat

Taken from live appearences in 2006:
Track 1 & 2 from the Luchtbal, Antwerpen, Belgium.
Track 3 - 5 from Casa Da Musica, Porto, Portugal.
Track 6 - 8 from the Donaufestival, Krems, Austria.

First few times that I listened to this live Faust CD, I thought to myself - like, wow! English translation of the title is 'Small World'. These live cuts were recorded during gigs on the long-running krautrock band's 2006 tour from shows they had played in Portugal, Belgium and Austria. Tracks that [more than] made this disc a hang onto until you're gone) keeper are the eleven-minute chaotic opener "Ablach", the almost mainstream-like "I Was Shy Before", the traditional Faust-like "Foam Of War" and the cosmic piece "Auf Frostigem Boden". Also loved the seventeen-minute experimental (absolute bomb!) "Crawling Wax", "Jet Set Lady" (with it's killer harmonica and bluesy vibe) as well as the awesome (that's truly an understatement) finale "Terrorize Me". Line-up: Hans Joachim Irmler - organ, keyboards & vocals, Jan Fride Wolbrandt - drums & percussion, Steven W. Lobdell - guitar, Michael Stoll - bass & flute and Lars Paukstat - percussion. At least as great as a couple of other live Faust titles that comes to mind 'The Land Of Ukko & Rauni' and 'Schiphorst 2008' So extremely highly recommended, that it hurts.