Thursday, May 10, 2007

Mars Everywhere- Industrial Sabotage,LP,1980,USA

In the late 70's one could hear new forms of music being worked on in almost every large urban area of the US. A strong regional scene had emerged as the younger, non-mainstream players looked for ways to present their new sounds to the public.
In NYC, one could find the likes of Material, James White & the Blacks, 8-Eyed Spy. Cleveland/Akron yielded Pere Ubu, Tin Huey (whose fine Warner Bros. LP has sadly never been reissued), Human Switchboard, Devo and the Styrenes, while in Washington DC the Muffins, Mars Everywhere and Guitarist Steve Feigenbaum were active, creating a label (Random Radar) and sponsoring concerts at venues all over the DC area.
Formed in 1976, Mars Everywhere was the mutual brainchild of High school friends and Electronic Music enthusiasts Barney Jones (Guitars, Organs, Electronic Reeds) and Ernie Falcone (Guitars, Devices, Effects), who quickly recruited Synthesist Tom Fenwick to the fold. The trio used Free Improvisation as their musical material, and tapes of the early material expose the group as a quick-witted outfit, steeped in both the SpaceRock ethos of Tangerine Dream/Klaus Schulze/Ash Ra Tempel, and the Avante'-Classical work of Karlheinz Stockhausen and Morton Subotnick. This configuration contributed a track to the long-deleted "Random Radar Sampler", which was organized and produced by Steve Feigenbaum's brand new Random Radar label (the entire concert was issued in 1989 by Audio File Tapes, contact them as it may be out of print).
As the underground (spurred by the punk movement) gained momentum, Mars Everywhere added musicians and turned toward developing a SpaceRock sound based on the works of early Hawkwind, Soft Machine, Gong and Can, utilizing a conventional rhythm section of Greg Yaskovitch (BassGuitar, Synthesizers, Electronic Trumpet), and Robin Anderson (Drums). Synthesist Fenwick stayed on, and the group began gigging as a full band towards the end of 1978, and was invited to play the Baltimore Manifest (an 8-hr concert featuring Daevid Allen, NY Gong, Material, the Muffins Yosh'ko Seffer and host of area groups; other concerts were held in NYC and LA during Fall 1978).
Drummer Anderson and Synthesist Fenwick left the group early in '79, and were replaced by Doug Hollobaugh (Synthesizers), and Barney Jones was enlisted to play drums, which he learned to play over a three-month period. The group gigged all over the DC area with the Muffins, but changed keyboards over that summer. Carlos Garrazza (Synthesizer, Keyboards) was invited to join that August. A favorable article in Washington Post helped raise the band's profile that fall, and the group (which by now included a lightshow) finished the year doing a major gig at the Washington Ethical Society, attended by nearly 1000.
1980 saw the group begin recording for this LP; many of the longer tracks were recorded in April of 1980, but the LP also contained shorter tracks recorded live from December '78 to fall of '79.
The LP opens with "The Enchanted Domain", named after Magritte's painting. Bursts of white noise begin the affair, then they are overlaid with Synthesizer and Glissando Guitar. Lush String Synthesizer and Fender Piano chords introduce the body of the piece, backed by BJ's delicate cymbal work and echo BassGuitar by Yaskovitch. They take the progression around a few times, then comes a legato section of Synthesizer, Gliss Guitar and Effects, over which the Trumpet blows with obvious allusions to Miles Davis' electronic work on the horn. BJ gives a two beat intro, and the band falls back into the tune, letting loose strong and aggressive playing from the band, and a dazzling Guitar solo by Falcone, who builds his statement verse by verse. Heavily effected Guitar ends the piece, but it does feel like there should've been one more movement to the piece; nonetheless, it is quite successful.
"Steady State Theory" is actually a jam from the group's Random Radar demo tape, recorded with Anderson and Hollobaugh. The band feeds ideas off each other, while Guitar and Electronic Reeds blow over the top. The playing is tight, and the rhythm section seems to respond well to each other. "Mare Chromium" describes the Silver Sea on Mars, and was one of the band's signature tunes. This version is from the Manifest at John Hopkins U., 12/15/78, and finds the band tumbling out of an extended Electronic improvisation, and into the tune. Fenwick plays the ostinado on Farfisa Organ, whilst Jones blows a heartfelt reed solo, and Falcone a sizzling Guitar burn using a homebuilt moving coil to excite the strings, getting a heavy E-bow like sound. The audience response at the end of the tune is warm and appreciative, a well desrved tribute. The title tune is next, and turns out to be an improvisation inspired by the Voyager Jupiter mission (the first Spacecraft flyby, which took place in the Spring of '79) and Morton Subotnick's Electronic compositions, the track was recorded 9/30/79 at the American University Auditorium (a marvelous show, this writer opened for them, backed up by 3/4 of the Muffins). "Industrial Sabotage" blends Synthesizer, Gliss Guitar, and BJ's treated cymbals and whirli-hose to create a menacing sonic chill, as Guitar starts screaming over a massive wall of sound; this works to the max, but is faded out as the band slides into its most well-know track, the TV theme from Rod Serling's "Twilight Zone".
Starting with an acoustic recreation of the theme aided by the Bassoon of Muffin Tom Scott, they get into the meat and tatters of the tune in rocking fashion, with killer Guitar and Synthesizer solos giving an aural interpretation of what one might see during one of Serling's captivating programs. "Zoln" is based on a simple riff, introduced by a brief incantation by Jones' treated voice; easily the longest track on the LP, it is meant for jamming off. Beside voice and winds, Jones' drumming is simple yet strong, and he steadies the band as well as propelling it. Note Falcone's use of Ring Modulator here, his brittle Guitar chords lend alot to the texture of the sonic events. "Attack of the Giant Squid" originally appeared on the RR Sampler LP; the version here was recorded 6/22/79 at the legendary DC Space. Once again Jones steals the show, controlling the flow of the improv with voice, transistor radio and an alarm clock, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of a scene from a 50s Sci-Fi thriller.
This was stirring stuff, but ME was destined for destruction, and disbanded before the new decade's first year was out. Although the other members left music, Barney Jones continued to record and perform SpaceRock through the 1980s, releasing a clutch of Cassette LPs for Audio File Tapes and Sound of Pig Tapes; BJ passed away 7/3/96, missing the current resurgence of the music but an integral part in helping establish things for those who now play the music here. Often, one can find this LP in used record bins, or occasionally on OOP lists; the LP needs to be reissued, but as yet there has been no interest in such a project, from either the ex-band members or Random Radar's successor Cuneiform Records. A shame, as it deserves reinvestigation, and could now find a new popularity amongst today's SpaceRock audiences. From Aural Innovations #8 (October 1999) .

Awesome album!
get it here


Anonymous said...

hi there,

unfortunately track one of "Tone Set-Cal's Ranch,tape,1982,USA" is missing ... any chance 2 upload track !?

would be great !



mutantsounds said...

anonymous:check comment in the respective post

Anonymous said...

Thanks! I've been hoping this would be reissued for many years now, but this is a good chance to hear it all again. (Actually, I'm not certain I ever heard the entire album. I heard it in pieces on the radio.)

Anonymous said...

Your blog is awesome so many things any chance you have any of the Barney Jones tapes?