Ork Alarm! # 29

Jan 2006 (started)- Oops! er! (finished) March 2008

Ork Alarm! # 29

A Very Very Irregular Bulletin for Zeuhl Fanatics

Contents

  • Magma Related
  • Rio Related
  • Zeuhl Related

Editorial

You’ve never had it so good! (where have I heard that before? Bernard Matthews?) I’m not talking about the frequency of Ork Alarm! or at the other end of the spectrum the ease of aquiring a handgun at the age of eleven. No, if ever there was a prime time to be a music fanatic then it’s now. With the explosion of the internet the world has never seemed a smaller, more accessible place and if you’re prepared to do the finger work, then your computer is the musical friend you never had living next door.

The amount of information out there in WWWland is truly awsome and no matter what your hobby may be, you can find like minded people to share it with. The outcome of the explosion of information and awareness has been the ability for small musical projects to have a shot at making it, or at least have the possibility of getting some exposure. I doubt that anywhere near the amount of reissue material that has thankfully spewed out of the vaults would be released unless there was so much free advertising via the web. I also doubt that there has ever been a time when so many bands have the ability to commit their work to CD or offer it for download (check out The Joff Winks Band) and I’m sure that concerts of every kind are benefitting from the internet. Le Triton would be a prime exampe of a venue, tucked away in a Paris suburb, that now attracts a worldwide audience.

I feel a little sad that Paul Mummery, the person originally behind Ork Alarm! (the fanzine) could not be around to experience this. I’m sure that his version of Ork Alarm! (Online) would have been truly fantastic and as inspiring as the 25 issues of his fanzine were. To have witnessed the four weeks of Le Triton retrospective and to now be watching 35 years later Christian, Klaus, Jannik all on the same stage via the brilliant medium of DVD is something that I doubt even the most ardent of fan would have never believed a possibility. It’s a testament to the quality of the music of couse! But it’s also a celebration of how this new internet driven world that we now live in can harness enough interest to make some thing like the Mythes and Legends DVD project more than just a dream.

In Form Cuneiform

Wayside Records

It recently crossed my mind how much fantastic music must be out there that I am never likely to hear. Lurking on a CD somewhere is possibly an artist that would have the same impact on me that, for instance, Magma, Hatfield and the North or Univers Zero have had. Obviously we’ve all got only one pair of ears but when you’re being introduced to new bands on a regular basis via some of the great “Alternative Music” labels like Cuneiform or Musea and then take a further look at their vast inventory and then notice the amount of other record labels they also decide to stock and then consider the amount of product that never reaches their dormat and then multiply that by 100 and then take away the number you first thought of, and then add on a few more thousand (because it sounds good) and Voila! There are roughly 2,337 CD’s that would currently be in my all time top ten had I been listening to music rather than writing this crap. As you can see from the lack regular updates to this site, sustaining a credible online version of Ork Alarm! is daunting to say the very least. Never mind, I’ll just dabble at keeping the flag flying and treat this like a very occasional blog.

It appears that the mountain of artists demanding to be heard grows every year. Of course it’s probably never been any different and it depends how narrow your bandwith of focus has been in the past as to how much you’ve been prepared to soak up. Me? I’m currently in sponge mode and much of it is being issued by the amazing Cuneiform Label run by Steve F over in the USA. I doubt that this is that much of a revelation to many. Anybody with an open mind to music and one that appreciates the alternative styles of Avant-Progressive (or what Steve F has christened “Rehearsal Intensive Music”) must have at some stage bought a Cuneiform release. If you haven’t, then I suggest you “do not pass go” but go directly to the Cuneiform website and take a listen to the variety of styles on offer. Cueniform have championed the causes of an astonishing roster of artists and I for one am totally hooked on the quality and scope that is available.

If you can get your hands on them, then Cuneiform’s Sample CD’s are a superb starting place and essential listening. Have you heard of Yang, Richard Leo Johnson, Djam Karet, Ray Russell, Ahleuchatistas, Graham Collier, Ndio, John Surman, Far Corner, Claudia Quintet, and the quite amazing Alec K Readfearn and the Eyesores? Well, I’ve just sent off my left testicle in an International Signed for Small Packet to Wayside (£3.30 for £30 worth of worry free insurance! Royal Mail Wankers) and the trouble is that I’ve just started to have another listen to the first two Sample CD’s and it looks like the other bollock is about to be bubble wrapped and whizzed off. Of course this is rubbish as I’ve not sent my tackle over to the USA as a form of payment or bartering. It was just an expression, silly!. What I’ve done is use Wayside’s excellent Shopping Cart to order a growing number of CD’s and my mouse has had a nervous breakdown with all the activity. Which is another lie, as my mouse is an inanimate object incapable of rational or irrational thought, but it has started sticking a bit. I suppose that could be bits of toast though.

PhoenixFM.com

PhoenixFm

I just know I’ll regret it, but I’m back in the DJ seat! I’m not sure I even like doing it. Phoenix FM has been in existence as a Community Radio Station for a decade now, broadcasting intermittently to the good folk of Brentwood (as long as you live in the high street because reception gets a bit dodgy any further than KFC) and Shenfield in Essex, UK. Up until recently we have been allowed a single month broadcast every other leap year when said February 29th falls on Easter Bank Holiday Monday and it’s snowing. PhoenixFM have been trying for a full time license that would fit in with the the Government’s policy of opening it’s doors to Community Radio and guess what? We’ve finally got one! Yes!

On a number of occasions I’ve hosted a Soul Music show but decided to shelve the project, due not least to the fact I’ve run out of things to say and had been reduced to just one line of patter “here’s another one of my favorites”. Don’t ask me how but I just know that the downtrodden of Brentwood are ready for a healthy dose of Art Zoyd, followed by some Guapo and then a taste of the Muffins with Albert Marcoeur for dessert. I mean, you know what they’re like! They’re just MAD! I know what they’re like!!

Aural Moon

Aural Moon

Whilst we’re on the subject, if you haven’t tuned in (logged on?, whatever!) yet to aural moon then give it a whirl. The Gagliarchives hosted by Tom Gagliardi (Saturdays 10pm-2am ET and repeated Tuesdays 11am-3pm ET) is essential listening but drop in at any time any you may find something to drool over.

They went through a sticky patch a while back, mainly because they reside in the land of the free! So along with limiting the aspirations of online gamblers, the US mafia were hoping to charge fortunes for the privilege of providing online radio. Obviously the fees were going to be prohibitive and whilst you can understand that there must be a certain amount of consternation out there in “performing rights association land”, let’s face it. The game’s up! Control freaks really must hate the internet. Right or wrong the cat is out of the bag, the horse has truly bolted, there’s no use crying over spilt milk and a Rolling Stone gathers no royalties from internet radio …. for now!

Here is an article on the subject:

Internet Radio Reprieve

Written by RogorMortis
Friday, 13 July 2007
Online Radio Is Saved (for Now); SoundExchange Will Not Enforce New Royalty Rates on Sunday

By Eliot Van Buskirk (Wired) July 12, 2007

At thursdays’s Congressional hearing about the new rates for online radio that would essentially destroy it (as readers of this blog already know), SoundExchange, which was scheduled to receive the new royalty payments on Monday morning (since the enforcement date falls on a Sunday), made a startling statement.

The SoundExchange executive [Jon Simson, executive director] promised — in front of Congress — that SoundExchange will NOT enforce the new royalty rates. Webcasters will stay online, as new rates are hammered out.

I just spoke with Pandora founder Tim Westergren, who expressed relief that Pandora wouldn’t have to shut down on Sunday in response to the new rates. He said, “It was getting pretty close. I always had underlying optimism that sanity was going to prevail, but I was beginning to wonder.”

He said everyone who called their Congress person about this should feel that they had an effect on the process: “This is a direct result of lobbying pressure, so if anyone thinks their call didn’t matter, it did. That’s why this is happening.” The flyer DiMA distributed to Congress today probably helped a bit too, but overall, it appears Congress intervened due to pressure from web radio listeners.

Funnily enough, Westergren told me this mere hours after a representative of SoundExchange said that the new rates are “etched in stone.” Evidently not.

—–

Update: Another source — close to the situation although not inside today’s closed-door hearing — confirmed the following: Pandora was there; “progress was made”; the minimum fees are indeed off the table; and SoundExchange and the webcasters that were part of the Copyright Royalty Board hearings are going to have another chat about the rates.

However, the source said the big question right now is whether webcasters not part of the CRB hearing might still have to pay the rates set by the board, minus the minimum fees. Basically, this news qualifies as a reprieve, but internet radio won’t be truly saved until negotiations result in a workable royalty rate.

——
Another Update: This story has been confirmed by Kurt Hanson of RAIN.

Westergren had more to say, lending insight into a process that was largely opaque to non-participants. Apparently, the per-channel minimum fees mandated by the Copyright Royalty Board were never taken very seriously by those involved. They’ve now been taken off the table completely, saving Pandora, Live365, and other multicasters from their most imminent threat. Instead, per-station minimums will be capped at $50,000 per year.

“No one thought those per station fees were remotely rational. It only makes sense that they’re being taken off the table.”

As for the Copyright Royalty Board? They’re entirely cut out of the process, having set the rates and then refused a rehearing. Going forward without the royalties being collected, SoundExchange and webcasters will negotiate a new royalty rate with Congress looking over their shoulder — “and last but not least, the public looking over Congress’s shoulder.” Alternatively, Congress now has time to consider the Internet Radio Equality Act, which would set webcaster royalties at 7.5 percent of revenue and allow them to continue operating pretty much as they have been.

Either way, this is a big win for webcasters and their listeners. Again, this is a reprieve, and internet radio can’t be considered saved until new rates are set that everyone can live with.

You Tube

Oh my God! I’ve just logged on to You tube and done a search on Magma. How amazing to see all this footage (regardless of the legality) especially the early stuff, Klaus with his Big Issue beard, Christian without a boiler suit on! Isn’t there something great about black and white TV footage. Snooker is much more fun to watch.

I could whack a load of links up here for you to visit but probably the best way is to just go to You Tube and get stuck in. The whole of MDK! with flocks of Geese?? …….. Just make sure that you have nothing planned for the rest of the week once you get started. Of course there is no way as yet of downloading them via You Tube (yeah right!) but I assume that somewhere somehow there is a filesharing site that is supplying that need


Kobaïan News

Mythes et Legends

mythes_et_legendes_1The 4 weeks of superb retrospective concerts at Le Triton back in May and June of 2005 would have been an extraordinary event regardless of the ambitious project associated with them. To bring these 4 DVD’s out is just more than we could have possibly hoped for. Witnessing the old and the new dovetailing on stage was an emotional experience for us all and I couldn’t quite believe that Klaus Blasquiz, Jannick Top and Benoît Widemann would actually, really truly really really turn up on the evening! Would it really happen? Jannnik Top playing on MDK after all these years?? OK, perhaps it was a mellower JT but then so was Christian and Klaus’ beard was a bit shorter so nothing can ever be exactly the same. Of the Guest appearances (For me) Klaus stole the show.

Two quotes of the four weeks that I remember so well:

As the opening, plodding introduction to MDK started to unfold Kavus Torabi (then, soon to be Guitarist with Guapo) couldn’t restrain himself …. “It’s like all your Birthday’s and Christmases all rolled into one!” How true!

Overheard a Scottish Magma fan who hadn’t really kept up with the life and times of Christian Vander but was over for week three of the shows said … “I couldn’t get over to see Mekanik last week but I’m really hoping that they play ‘Konta Chorus’ tonight” … And all these years I thought it was pronounced “Their 4th LP”

letriton1Mythes et légendes Vol 1
MALARIA (6:09)
STOAH (10:29)
« ISS » LANSEI DOIA (11:09)
AURAE (13:37)
KOBAIA (14:02)
THEUSZ HAMTAAHK 1er Mouvement (35:17)
SOWILOI (9:10)
KMX B12 (9:55)

Klaus Blasquiz : chant, percussions
Stella Vander : chant, clavier
Rémi Dumoulin : saxophones
Yannick Soccal : saxophones, flûte
Fabrice Theuillon : saxophones
James MacGaw : guitare
Emmanuel Borghi : piano, Fender Rhodes
Philippe Bussonnet : basse
Christian Vander : batterie, chant

Mythes et légendes Vol 2
WURDAH ITAH (48:58)
MEKANIK DESTRUKTIW KOMMANDOH (42:52)
SUITE POUR VIOLONCELLE (2:19)
QUADRIVIUM (3:55)
DE FUTURA (21:08)

Stella Vander : chant, percussions
Antoine Paganotti : chant
Himiko Paganotti : chant
Isabelle Feuillebois : chant
James MacGaw : guitare
Emmanuel Borghi : Fender, claviers
Frédéric d’Oelsnitz : Fender, claviers
Philippe Bussonnet : basse, basse piccolo
Jannick Top : basse
Christian Vander : batterie

Mythes et légendes Vol 3
KÖHNTARKÖSZ (a.k.a Konta Chorus) (32:29)
LIHNS (6:52)
EMËHNTËHT-RÊ part 1 (3:17)
RINDOH (3:27)
EMËHNTËHT-RÊ part 2 (3:00)
HHAÏ (16:44)
ZOMBIES (8:22)
NONO (7:00)
THE LAST SEVEN MINUTES (11:13)

Stella Vander : chant, percussions
Antoine Paganotti : chant
Himiko Paganotti : chant
Isabelle Feuillebois : chant, percussions
James MacGaw : guitare
Emmanuel Borghi : Fender, claviers
Benoît Widemann : Fender, claviers
Philippe Bussonnet : basse
Christian Vander : batterie, chant

epok4Mythes et légendes Vol 4
ZESS (32:37)
IN A DREAM (2:14)
THE NIGHT WE DIED (3:46)
OTIS (9:00)
K.A. (50:00)
OM ZANKAH
KOBAÏA (9:53)

Stella Vander : chant, percussions
Antoine Paganotti : chant, drums
Himiko Paganotti : chant
Isabelle Feuillebois : chant, percussions
Aymeric Avice, trumpet
Hugues Mayot, saxophone
James MacGaw : guitar
Emmanuel Borghi : Fender, claviers
Frederic d’Oelsnitz : Fender, keyboard
Philippe Bussonnet : basse
Christian Vander : batterie, chant
KOBAÏA : featuring Klaus Blasquiz, Jannick Top, Rémi Dumoulin, Fabrice Theuillon, Yannick Soccal

You can purchase these DVD’s from Seventh Records

Zao in Japan

zaointokyo3Zao were Formed by two members of the original Magma cast and if ever a band deserved the tag “Zeuhl” it would have to be Yochk’o Seffer’s and Francois “Faton” Cahen’s creation. Musical “differences dictated that they leave planet Kobaïa and continue their musical journey down the path they had started to lay at on the first two Magma albums. It was a more jazz orientated journey that would end up nearer to Fusion than Zeuhl but their first album “Z=7L” and the following “Osiris” were hailed as Zeuhl masterpieces and if you’ve never heard “Isis” from their second album then have a listen and it’s evident how much Cahen was influencing the early Magma years.

In 2003 Musea issued a CD entitled Zao “Live” recorded 5th December 1976 at L’Ouest de la Grosne. Whilst it was great to see this historical document unearthed, it didn’t really pull up any trees and was to some degree disregarded as a “Zeuhl” find and rightly or wrongly relegated to the “Fusion” end of the bin. One important piece of the “Zeuhl” jigsaw was missing, Vocals.

To some degree the loss of Mauricia Platon was the end of an era in itself but Joel Dugrenot and Yochk’o Seffer loosened up their tonsils and tightened up thier underpants and kept the flag flying on Osiris. By their third and fourth albums “Shekina” and “Kawana” the vocals had become the sole domain of Seffer, but as he was mainly interested in blowing things that, vocally, was that! By the time Zao “Live” was recorded in 1976 Seffer wasn’t even blowing things! Well at least not with Zao and so it came to pass that Zao wasn’t really Zao anymore.

This is where I come in. Or rather don’t come in at all. I saw the 2007 released “Zao in Tokyo” CD and assumed that it was another Live fusion affair. Oops! how wrong and how stupid of me. Zao had reformed in 2004 and had done the equivalent of Magma’s return to MDK. The big news was that they had the one additional ingredient added that would raise the bar to “Zeuhl” level. Cynthia Saint-Ville and while it would be very difficult for anyone to completely copy the vocal pyrotechnics of Mauricia Platon, Saint-Ville does enough of a job to make “Zao in Tokyo” an essential purchase. The sound quality is excellent and the tracks are harvested from thier first four albums. “Free Folk” starts the ball rolling and shows what the Kawana album could have been like had Zao continued with a Female Vocalist. The musicianship is superb and all tracks contain some blistering solos. At the end of the CD the cheering Japanese crowd are promised a return visit. This CD is a welcome return to the Zao of old and is a must buy for Zeuhl fans.

zaointokyo41. Free Folk (9.50)
2. Atart (7.50)
3. Chardaz (12.05)
4. Natura (9.53)
5. Sadie (3.14)
6. Ronarch (5.38)
7. Isis (10.30)
8. Zohar (14.06)

You can purchase this CD from Musea Records
You can watch Zao at Le Triton 2007 clip 1
You can watch Zao at Le Triton 2007 clip 2


The Grand Rio Connection

Latest scores …. RIO 1 v 0 Zeuhl

It seems that the boundaries that contain RIO have once again broken free as the genre swallows up all in it’s path. Carmaux was the hunting ground and Zeuhl was the meat!

“RIO” as a genre has always stood on shaky ground. Not the music, which as we know is luvverly! But who’s actually a “brother” and who’s not. 30 years ago, on March 12th 1978 the original RIO festival was unleashed on an unsuspecting public. Tickets were snapped up on Ebay within 1 hour and a Genre was born. Of the original line up only Univers Zero are to date totally active, Samla Mannnas Manna are sort of active and Henry Cow are just about to reform … Sadly another Ork Alarm wishful thinking porky pie! In its thirty year wake, many fans have attributed the term RIO to a number of artists, and who are we to argue? Mainly because who cares? As long as it’s good stuff, then the act of hooking the word RIO up to it will hopefully give the potential listener some yardstick of quality. This seems “Captin Sensible”. Stormy Six and Univers Zero were pretty diverse so it’s no different than branding Alamaailman Vasarat and Amygdala with the same iron.

Rio Concert Photos and Artists

I’ve always been a bit “suck it and see” after reading a RIO review. Llet’s face it, you know roughly what you’re in for with a “Zeuhl” or “Canterbury” nod, but RIO? well that’s a tricky one. Nevertheless I’ve stuck with it, up to now that is, because this time they’ve gone too far. Some upstart, Trigaux I think he’s called, hired a shed, made a few phone calls and cobbled together a few up and coming young hopefuls and slapped the word RIO all over it! Now I wouldn’t have minded but for the fact that a young talented drummer was sucked along by said “fly by night” and like a baby sacrificial lamb jumped blindly on board the RIO train! What’s more, the drummer phones up his old school mates (they’d had an argument years back over which classes to attend) and convinces them to bring along their old conkers and lollysticks and they too are dragged into the sorded mess! OK perhaps I can understand it, they’re French and the dodgy character is a Chocolate maker (Belgian) so “EEC and all that – hands not across the water”, but the straw that broke the Zeuhl backbone was the foolhardy acceptance of a naive UK band. I’m not naming names but they’re called Guapo. They’d only been “Zeuhl” for a couple of years! God! It take other bands years to reach that accolade. They were something else before. Avant-Thrash (sounds like women’s trouble!) apparently. Anyway It was a done deal and another Genre was swallowed up by the RIO conglomerate. Sigh!

On a more serious note, WOW what a line up! Were you there? Sadly I wasn’t. The RIO festival made it’s 30 yearly comeback on April 13-15 2007 at the Maison de la Musique in Carmaux (south of France). The brainchild of Michael Besset and Roger Trigaux (Present) and what a comeback it was! Under one roof, Present (electric and Acoustic), Zao, NeBelNeST, Magma, Guapo, Faust, Mats Morgan band and more including Chris Cutler, John Greaves and Peter Blegvad. Quite possibly the greatest ever artist line up in the history of mankind. Ok I’m a bit biase cos I’ve got some of their records. There’s a great english review in Issue 35 of Expose Magazine by Mike Eisenberg and you can follow a thread in the forum at Prog Archives . As I type, there’s no sign of a “promised” repeat performance this year but fingers crossed that it’s not as irregular as either Ork Alarm! or worse still Hayley’s Comet.

RIO Dilemma

So, what to put under Ork Alarm!’s RIO section and what not? Well, I’ve decided to create my own RIO, everybody else does so why mess with people’s habits of the last 30 years. So here’s the low down, we’ll stick with the tried and tested variety like UZ, AZ, Present, Samla stuff etc. But I’ll just make up the rest! Anything that take’s my fancy in opposition to HeartFM and Capital Radio. Top notch stuff that you can’t go wrong acquiring and because of the intermittent nature of Ork Alarm! the recommendations are unlikely to be spur of the moment. Chances are I’ve listened to them dozens of times and so have you. So in reality this will become retrospective joint celebration of some brilliant artists and their recent compositions. What more do you want from a website? The unreleased second Weidorje album? Unreleased 1973 Magma rehearsals? No, good old fashioned recommendations that’s what.

Hasse and Costa keep the flag flying

hassebruniussonTwo of Samla Mannas Nanna … Samuels Manners Manner … Two members of Sweden’s premier RIO band have recently released solo CD’s both of which are essential to any self repecting Lars Holmer led Swedish Band fan. Hassie Brunisen … Bruneiussen …. Hasse has a CD and DVD released entitled Flying Food Circus, which keeps the faith with any previous band he may have been in by maintaining said previous band’s knack for incorporating humour into the mix without sacrificing the brilliance of the music. I haven’t seen the DVD but The CD is Superb.

costeapetrearitesCostar Apeatrea ….. Costa Apretra …. “C” as he is known to his close friends has a more serious but equally blistering CD out. Rites of Passage is by far his best solo effort to date, although the world waits open mouthed as his official website announces a soon to be released CD called Spiritual Noise. Actually I don’t really care anymore about the quality of C’s output because I’ve discovered his website. I now have a new hobby. Playing on his website, hovering over things, slowing down the Discography and then speeding it up again! It’s brilliant!! I wish I was as HTML Flash as “C” ….. The website? Oh yes it’s Here

Amygdala 2 v 3 Unbeltipo

amygdalaIn the all Japanese clash Amygdala’s 2nd CD On the Soleiel Zeuhl label certainly lives up to its name. Complex Combat follows on where their eponymous 1st offering left off. It’s brain altering stuff (:-) get it!?) that most reviewers are likening to a cross between Univers Zero and Ruins. I must own up to having a bit of a problem warming to many of the so called “Zeuhl style” japanese bands. Whilst they have certainly got the energy and technical prowess I find the music too clinical and lacking heart. Not sure how many other would agree but I don’t have the same issues with UZ or PRESENT. However in the absence of new RIO material at least Amygdala are flying the flag. Try them out, but I think the BONDAGE FRUIT VI CD might be a better choice.

unbeltipoOn a more upbeat note a band that I have been alerted to by the ever thoughtful Pierre Tassone at Music by Mail is Unbeltipo, Tsuneo Imahori’s follow on band from his work with Tipographica treads a slighty different path. Whether this is RIO or not has now become a moot point (so there!) but Unbeltipo do have heart and plenty of guts! It takes a while to tune it to this band but each of their 3 CD’s have left me cold on first listening but with a promise of more to come if would just press that play button again! The result is I’m now a fan and would without hesitation gladly recommend their latest CD Phesantism to any open minded soul with a failsafe insurance policy. Buy it, listen to it 5 times and if you still don’t like it I’ll buy it back from you and pay postage! As the Doctor said to the man who came in complaining that he couldn’t pronounce his F’s or T’s “Well, you can’t say fairer than that!”

David Wiley – Man or Hamster?

davidwilleyI know this website is not bang up to date, but I’ve been busy. Treading on the wheel of life etc. Actually I’ve been lazy and nowhere near an exercise treadmill. The same can be said for David Willey of Hamster Theatre fame. He’s getting lazy! Stomach’s starting to bulge! Hasn’t been on the wheel at all during 2007. Boo! Not that I’m really complaining because after taking the plunge and investing my lazily earned dosh on his last trundle “The Public Execution of Mister Personality/Quasi Day Room” (Cuneiform 2 x CD) I discovered the joys of “Hamsterism”. Light and playful but abounding with originality and enthusiasm. You really have to listen to them as it’s impossible to put them into a category like say …. RIO.

hamstertheatrepublicThe best short description of this band comes from the Alternative Press “…a highly skilled chamber ensemble…offering a literate synthesis of rock, jazz and European folk forms. You can’t really put this music into a tidy little compartment, but it’s unforced, sophisticated and highly entertaining.”

As a result I’ve back tracked (no pun intended he lied) and discovered the other available works of the Hamster Man, including his 1995 “Songs from the Hamster Theatre” by David Willey. Both this and “Public Execution are still available at Wayside Records along with “Siege On Hamburger City”

Thinking Man’s music

UnknownA band close to the Hamster’s heart is Thinking Plague who are currently (as I type) on tour here in Europe. I say “here” even though I don’t live in Europe. As everyone knows here in the UK (technically Europe) and there in Europe (where we go for our hols) the UK is not and never will be part of Europe. Anyway, I digress. Hopefully al this activity means there is the possibility of a new album in the pipe line that I can nestle away next to “In Extremis” and the Nearfest Live CD “Upon Both of your Houses” and of course all there other juicy items! If you’ve never heard of Thinking Plague. Get a copy of “In Extremis” somewhere from a shop in Europe or perhaps America (which is an island of the UK’s) and just get stuck in mes amis!

While we’re on the subject of Thinking men’s and women’s music, here are a few more new additions that it would be nice to conjure up and realise. These are all “lifted” from the Wayside Music website and described as “in the pipeline but with no fixed date”

BIRDSONGS OF THE MESOZOIC-Dawn of the Cycads: The Complete Ace of Hearts Recordings (1983-1987) (will include over 40′ of material never-before on CD of which 35′ has never been released before released!)
LARS HOLLMER-Viandra (nice new album with Michel Berckmans, Santiago Jimenz, etc. Cuneiform is releasing this album for world-wide distribution OUTSIDE of Japan in MAY)
MIRIODOR-Avanti! (not soon, so hold your horses)
PRESENT-new album (mostly recorded now. probably out in 2008 and to be released by Ad Hoc)
ART ZOYD-Symphonie Pour Le Jour Où Brûleront Les Cités (original 1976 version – never before on CD!)
-Musique Pour les Odyssee
-Generation Sans Futur
-Symphonie Pour Le Jour Où Brûleront Les Cités (familiar version)
-Phase IV (unfortunately, all are Japanese-only mini-lp sleeve versions and will be VERY pricey)
DEUS EX MACHINA-Imparis (new studio CD + live DVD : the studio CD is 55′ and contains 45′ of new material and 1 older song revisted – the dvd contains 60 minutes of a 2006 concert in Paris professionally shot and edited and looking pretty damn swank + extras: interviews + Paris backstage + Fabrizio plays solo piano + excerpts from Manresa [Spain 2002] + excerpts from Chapel Hill [USA 1996] + excerpts from italian TV [1996] + an amazingly ridiculous music video that the band did in 1993 that may have you asking for your money back (sorry, no can do!): total time of DVD is about 2 hours)

Quick! Pocket the Orchestra

pocketorchestraHere’s a CD you really must get you’re grubby little mits on before it vanishes from all good high street stores and only turns up on ebay in ever upwardly spiralling price brackets. The Pocket Orchestra (formerly Knebnagäuje) were a short lived, late 70′s band from Phoenix, Arizona, Their style is certainly within the origianal boundaries of RIO and this brilliant “find” (for want of a better word) by the sadly defunkt Israeli Label MIO Records has put their two demo tapes onto this one CD. Whilst the sound quality is understandably not Hi-Fi spec, the music is superb. Other items to sanp up before they disappear are as follows: DECIBEL – 3 CD Box set (complete works of this great Mexican bnad), MOSAIC – Ultimatum (LP reissue with bonus tracks) and BEGNAGRAD – Begnagrad (LP reissue with bonus tracks and 20 + minute MPEG concert. That should be enough to be getting on with but there’s a whole lot more. Just done a quick search on Ebay, Gemm and Wayside and the Pocket Orchestra is already threadbare!.

Yugen

yugenLabrinitoHow would you like to hear a band that has influences from: Satie, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Cage, Reich, Zappa, Henry Cow, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, Univers Zero? Thought you might, How would you like to listen to a band that’s members have played in the following bands: French TV, Spaltklang, Ulterior Lux, Stormy Six, Thinking Plague, 5uus, Present, Blast, Ahvak? Yeah! Well get your credit card out of your pocket, fend off the moths and order one online. What is great these days is how easy it all is! Every band has a Myspace page here’s Yugen’s And nearly all online shops have pretty uniform shopping carts. It’s never been easier to blow your dough on a hobby! Try it, let Yugen grab a slice of your wad today


Friends and Relatives

hamtaiHAMTAÏ!

Coming soon to a Tesco’s near you is a quite wonderful Double CD project by a an amazing line up of artists paying hommage to the music of Christian Vander. Reworkings of all of Magma’s chart hits are here! The release date will coincide with the Nancy Jazz Pulsations concert on the 9th and 10th October 2007.

The Artists, collectively known as Hamtaï are as follows:

AD VITAM, KLAUS BLASQUIZ, CERNUNOS (J.L. Chevalier), CONFUSION, eX-GIRL, PATRICK FORGAS, PATRICK GAUTHIER, KAFKA, KOENJIHYAKKEI, KOBAÏA/ËMGALAÏ KOLEKTIW, KRAMUS, LE GRE DES VENTS, DIDIER LOCKWOOD, MADAME, MATS/MORGAN BAND, NeBeLNeST, POST IMAGE, SIDJI MOON, STEVE SHEHAN, THOLLOT, JANNICK TOP, JOHN TRAP, TROLL, VITAL DUO, BENOIT WIDEMANN, ZAAR.

You can listen to snippets of these fantastic interpretations of Christian’s compositions by going to My Space

De Futura

erikbaronIf the style of Zeuhl that does it for you happens to come from the pen of Jannik Top then you’re in for a treat with this little baby! More hommage stuff to sink your teeth into. Here’s the blurb from Musea :

Erik BARON is a bass player from Bordeaux, leader of the ensemble DESACCORDES. After having paid tribute to Terry RILEY with “In C” (2005), the third album or the band may cause some sensation to all lovers of Zeuhl Music. this is revisiting Jannick TOP’s magnum opus “De Futura – Hiroshima”, initially released on MAGMA’s “Üdü Wüdü” (1976). The hommage to the inhabitants of planet Ork has been divided in two parts, and four more tracks were added: “La Musique Des Sphères” and four compositions created by Erik BARON. Six bass players, six guitar players and a drummer reinvent this classic with an exceptional intensity, but also with a real precision in the dialogues between the instruments. Recorded by MINIMUM VITAL’s Thierry PAYSSAN, here’s a great album for all Zeuhl fans. To be discovered !

1 – Pandora (3’01)
2 – La Musique Des Sphères (9’28)
3 – The Futura – Part One (12’55)
4 – Le Drône Du Milieu (4’21)
5 – The Futura – Part Two (15’27)
6 – De Profundis (2’32)

You can purchase this at Musea Records

Music to Die for

Simon Steensland’s Kamikaze United – Live Gang-Gang

simonsteenslandWhat is it about Sweden? Perhaps it’s the water or could it be the daylight hours or lack of them? Perhaps it’s the exorbitant tax on alcohol ! If it wasn’t enough to have Sammla Mammas Manna, Lars Hollmer, Hasse Bruniusson, Panzerpappa, Fortrangt Hushallsarbete etc. we’ve got Simon Steensland. Is he a Zeuhl artist? How the hell should I know! Probably not and in other reviews of his work he seems to be labelled as something between Univers Zero and Frank Zappa. What I do know is that this is an absolute probably superb CD. Recorded live in January 2003 at Moment, Gubbangan and it is so under exposed. Simon is a versatile (understatement of the decade) musician. On his other Albums The Zombie Hunter, Led Circus, The Simon Lonesome Combat Ensemble and Phantom of the Theatre, he plays bass, tenor and alto Kitchen Sink along with Drums, Percussion, Bass, Harmonium, Accordion, Cello, Banjo, Quadraphant, Glockenspiel, Zither, Marimba, Flute, Cittra, Berimbau, Mail Horn, Keyboards, Guitars and … (life isn’t fair!) He seems to concentrate on Bass for this Album and his work on the brilliant “Absolute Probably Mission” and “At the Movies” bring him the accolade of Zeuhl Bassist Extraordinaire. There aretwo reworkings of previous material. “Parade” from “The Zombie Hunter” and “The return of Instant Jesus” which was a track featured on “Led Circus”

If you’ve never encountered the work of Simon Steensland then probably one of the studio albums would be the best place to start (leave Phantom of the Theatre until last) but should you jump in the deep end with this brilliant live offering you’ll be snapping up the studio albums anyway. Simon Steensland is a totally unique artist and it’s astonishing that he hasn’t recieved more widespread appreciation. Currently there is no official website and no My Space or You Tube entries. Somebody should do something!

A Softer Side of Guapo

Guapo Home Page

guapotwistedstemsIt wasn’t that Black Oni was at all bad…. well apart from the high pitched whistling that made it impossible for me to listen to … It was very much in the classic Head Banging mode that Zeuhl fans have come to know and love from their earlier work and of course the previously highly acclaimed Five Suns CD. The problem was that it wasn’t better than Five Suns and perhaps for Guapo to reach the next level it needed to be a bit more varied.

Guapo don’t have a vocalist and so perhaps their development will have to be sought in other directions. Daniel Sullivan and David Smith have much more up their sleeves (Check out the Aethenor CD in the recommended section) and to prove it, in the winter of 2006 they produce this brilliant 2 track CD entitled “Twisted Stems” A superbly crafted ethereal slow burner that will keep you reaching back into the CD pile for it time and time again. This is nothing like Five Suns or Black Oni and is a total breath of fresh air and a release that raises the bar once again for Guapo.

Not only does “Twisted Stems” broaden Guapo’s C.V, as far as genres are concerned, but it also stamps a “personality” on their music. Something that was impossible all the time they were solely in heavy duty Zeuhl mode. The two track s on this Mini CD “The Heliotrope” and “The Selentrope” are pure Guapo no plaguarism can be aimed at these babies! Whether you like the direction or not, this is very original stuff indeed. Ethereal? Yes but also superbly dark and menacing … in a soft way!

The next Guapo CD “Elixirs” is set for release in January 2008 on Neurot Recordings. I’m not sure if the tracks on Twisted Stems are a taster for this CD but regardless, the scene is set for Guapo to ascend to new musical heights. Roll on 2008!

Plate Spinning

Miasma Home Page

miasmamanfaunaAnd as if they weren’t busy enough Daniel Sullivan and David Smith have been hard at work with another of their Zeuhl related projects, namely Miasma & the Carousel of Headless Horses. Miasma’s first CD “Perils” was given the thumbs up as a softer alternative to Guapo, and this release, “Manfauna”, or is it Latitudes? will, I’m sure, be of the same quailty. The only problem in the future is whether the boundaries become blurred for the evolvement of both Guapo and Miasma. If the “Twisted Stems” road is to be explored further then at some stage it could be argued that one path has become redundant.


 

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