Friday, July 27, 2012

I.Q.-S/T, 12" EP, AUSTRALIA, 1983

Australia's Ken Davis has been dishing out textbook New Age treacle (sample title: Pan Flutes By The Ocean) to a global audience of yoga mat-bound acolytes for quite some time now (his youtube hits come close to 4 million), but back in the early 80's, he could be found helming arch new wavers IQ, who despite having no relation to the wince-inducing UK neo-proggers of the same name were similarly steeped in pose and emulation. Youtube clips show 'em wielding dual Fairlights and fronted by a pouty Gary Numan clone while dressed like extras from A Flock Of Seagulls video shoot (it's un-embeddable but you can check out the video here), but the hooky arpeggiating arithmetic of their structures and plaintive vocalizing (sometimes in a vaguely later-Hawkwind style) will launch several of these ditties squarely at the nearest minimal synth geek's g-spot. Thanks to blog friend Ward for dredging up this one!

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Mutant Sounds founder Jim long ago posted the debut LP from this hugely underrated and very late in the game French Zeuhl band, whose obscurity is mostly due to their plying post-Magma mutations long after history's presumed sell-by date for this sorta thing. Fronted by the singular falsetto pipes of Philippe Cauvin, the music of Uppsala on that debut carried forth the legacy of a very specific breed of thunderous post-Magma action; the sort originally articulated by former Magma bassist Bernard Paganotti in Weidorje, though Uppsala would render these sounds in a more playful and less martial fashion, occasionally even with a bit of a Caribbean lilt! What very few are aware of is that Cauvin and co. actually followed up that monster three years later with this privately issued tape. Beginners to Uppsala might want to avail themselves of their debut first, but this second outing, while undeniably lighter in tone is still something worth marveling over; their adaptations in the interim nudging this second effort into more of a post-80's King Crimson mode, with Cauvin's impassioned histrionics duking it out with fretless entanglements and cross-kit Linn Drum fills.

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Much like Totalist composer Mikel Rouse's old early 80's group Tirez Tirez, this crucial and long-overlooked post punk outfit's music is marked by its naked veneration of Talking Heads, only the NY based Come On were seemingly building their sonic alter in real time. Not mere homage but rather an extension of the original impulse, their manifestation of it was not informed, as was Rouse's, by Talking Heads's sly sense of understatement but instead by their most terse and twitchy gambits, the neurosis factor sometimes being ramped up to the level of something like The Girls. Once someone's relieved Downtown Music Gallery of their last remaining copies of Come On's "New York 1976-1980" CD, I'll happily share that one too, but for now, take the time to truly savor the magnificent thing that's at hand here; this ancillary CDR EP with additional material (including 24-track pro recorded versions of tracks from that CD that might actually surpass those versions) having been available for order directly from the band circa the early 2000's and unseen since.

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Fabulous cod-latin electro-kitsch beguilement from this German unit whose sole release was on the cult Dutch electro-pop tape label Ding-Dong. Fronted by some highly seductive and emotive female vocals, the quirky synth pop constructs they counterpoint here bear comparisons to everyone from Los Iniciados and Leven Signs to Ptose and the Young Marble Giants.

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 Four years down the road from their Telecoma CD that I posted back in '07 and this relentless and genre-unspecific Japanese duo are still constructing towering edifices of rhythmically dense post-prog electronic scramble, where pounding symphonisms coexist with geysers of blip and squiggle, the resulting idiomatic hairball sounding like an ADD-addled Rovo fighting a pitched battle against Frank Zappa's Synclavier.

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Saturday, July 7, 2012


A jazz vibraphonist whose renown during his lifetime was limited mostly to Austria (you'll find him gracing a few ECM sides in the 80's), Pirchner was responsible for unleashing something altogether less fettered by formal constraints and infinitely more fucked in the head way back in '73 with this lost masterpiece. Comprising some 48 pieces (including 17 extra ones tacked onto this mid-90's CD reissue), Ein Halbes Doppelalbum is an almost parallel universe Faust Tapes, pitifully forgotten by most of humanity but packed wall to wall with eye-widening moments of penetrating spin-on-a-dime strangeness. At turns, you'll discover everything from the feral Polit-Rock freakishness of Checkpoint Charlie, the cosmic rock dadaism of Eroc's Zwei, the lopsided mincing of 70's French R.I.O. ala Albert Marcoeur and Etron Fou Leloublan and the hard edits between intricate musicality and naked absurdity of Lumpy Gravy within the feral freakishness on exhibit here. No doubt, an inability to Sprechen Sie Deutsch will limit your grasp of events as they unfold, but with so much unhinged shit being flung about willy-nilly, you'll hardly have time to register your concern, as sublime acid folk evocations graced with ghosted recitations are suddenly rent into glistening shards of Nurse With Wound-worthy dadaist electroacoustic debris by brutal edits and even more brutal filtering. Elsewhere, you'll find cod-opera cross cut by ringing doorbells, duets for burping and xylophones, gnomic muttering over airy acoustic guitar jams and multiple applications of throat mucus from gasping old geezers. 

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This electrifying hard prog/spacey fusion beast from Texas' other and far less celebrated countercultural Crayola suggests many hours spent prostrate before the Mahavishnu Orchestra alter, but this early 70's outlet for the brothers Viola and their relentless guitar/drum attack offers far more than mere emulation, with their mix of expressiveness and ferocity capable of both evoking the shrieking abandon of fusion heads as outwardly bound as Love Cry Want while at other times managing to presage the intricate liquid lyricism of Shadowfax's debut Watercouse Way by a few years. 

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The carefully considered post-industrial probings and cryptic esoterica created by Aussie Blair Rideout and heard on this debut outing of his survey a series of crepuscular zones as temporally dislocating and deliberately obscurantist as his chosen nom de plume. The lazy might be inclined to label this as dark ambient but the richly enveloping drug fug here feels more informed by U.K. forbearers like Zoviet France and those from their own backyard, like Laughing Hands and The Makers Of The Dead Travel Fast.

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Though his baroquely ornate latter day psych pop confections might put you more in mind of XTC circa Oranges & Lemons, there was a time when the sounds emanating from Norwegian Lars Pedersen were far from sunshine-y. Circa the late 80's and akin to his contemporaries in Famlende Forsok, Pedersen's work frequently exhibited an almost theatrical sense of bleakness. Laden with obscure samples and orchestral colorations, there's little wonder as to why Death In The Blue Lake would serve as a template for a certain kinda post-Black Metal experimental navel gazing and indeed, this album is the stuff of legend amongst the cognoscenti of such stuff; its thickly atmospheric and malevolent title track which occupies all of side A being shrouded with a veil of orchestral doom thick enough to cut with a knife and conveyed via mellotron flutes, doomed choirs shackled in the basement and a the kind of minor key orchestral ichor that flows through the veins of Peter Frohmader's compositions. It is however an album of almost schizophrenic contrasts, with much of the flip suggesting paths he'd later pursue after his technicolor re-invention, albeit wrought in steelier shades at this early date, with some of this material evoking the kind of mutated and world music-inflected prog pop structures later heard on Japan bassist Mick Karn's solo albums.

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Eight brief and playful disembowelings of "The King" enacted by a global cast of eccentrics, some great, some meh. Within these 20 or so minutes, you'll find HNAS submerging Elvis' Hawaiian lullaby Ku-Ui-Po in a vat of lung-y unguents before before beating it to death with a wedge of orchestration,  Asmus Tietchens forming moire patterns from modulated fragments of his vocal mannerisms, La Sonorite Jaune losing him in the steam room of a freighter and Laurent Pernice somehow formulating a species of lopsided funk from a montage of Presley samples that makes me think that Robert Palmer might just saunter up to the mike at any minute.


1. Eleve Modele-You Take My Heart Forever
2. Hirsche Nicht Aufs Sofa-Ku-U-I-Po
3. Asmus Tietchens-Charisma Perdu
4. La Sonorité Jaune-Fatarnt
5. The Psyclones-Hound Dog
6. Bene Gesserit-Love Me Tender
7. Duck And Cover In A Psylobottle-N'Attends Personne Accouitte Qui Vient
8. Laurent Pernice-Lelys Se Paive

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