Wednesday, July 30, 2008

George Harrison-ELECTRONIC SOUND CD (Zapple Japan)

Boy you can tell it's been a slow week when I have to pull this moldy chestnut outta the fire! Anyway, I first heard about this particular solo Beatle toss-out back when I was in high school and just immersing myself in electronic music...I loved the stuff and the idea behind it whether it be Kraftwerk's chugga-chug or some synthesizer usage on a then-current top 40 hit or even the abstract-y music they would play on the PBS rebroadcast of ABC's WORLD NEWS TONIGHT with captions back in those pre-decoder days, and I guess to my thick-skulled teenage dome the whole concept of electronic sound and all of that budding avant garde seemed like the gosharootiest best thing that could be happening in the otherwise humdrum seventies. I read all the books I could about electronic music and people like John Cage and David Rosenboom and his electronic brainwave music, and believe-you-me the whole thing sounded pretty exciting to some guy who felt as if he was kept in a small dark closet (of the mind) for a good portion of his existence. So finding out that none other than George Harrison had done an electronic music album really got my juices flowing. As you can see, I had a pretty sheltered childhood.

Luckily enough only a few short months after first espying a dago import copy going for a whopping fifteen buckskins at the local record shop Apple began clearing out all of their album and tape backlog at budget prices so viola, I got hold of a cassette copy of ELECTRONIC SOUND (actually two in case the first one jammed) at the bargain sum of $1.99 each one record-hunting Friday night! After anxiously arriving with the tape into my fart-encrusted bedroom I slapped the thing onto my chairside mono portable player and...proceeded to listen to the entire album with awe even though all that came outta the speaker were various electro bumps and groans but I ate the thing up with all of that "emperor's new clothes" feeling since, if it was put out by a Beatle it must've had some artistic meaning, eh?

And besides, ELECTRONIC SOUND didn't sound any worse than that Nonesuch Xenakis album that drove my father to fits of anger whilst I was doing that infamous electronic music term paper...y'know, the one Jillery goofed up with such typos as "Sien Ra" 'stead of "Sun Ra" and all that. But still, it wasn't like I was listening to ELECTRONIC SOUND on a nightly basis the same way I would listen to such teenage favorites as LIVE AT THE ROXY AND ELSEWHERE and RADIO ETHIOPIA in order to help me ease into late night slumber...and I kid you not!

So that was for now where does that leave me and my opinion of this obvious throwaway el-pee? Well, I gotta say that I sure kinda liked the thing whilst it was spinning away on my boom box whilst thumbing through the Coley/Moore NO WAVE book for the umpteenth time this week. Natch it was merely "background music" for an infinitely more entertaining reading experience, but hey, anyone with two ears and a sense of music values can tell you that ELECTRONIC SOUND really is nothing but a bigtime rock star with time to spare playing around with the new technology for the day and presenting his musings as something for the rock avant garde market to chew up, little as they will. (It should also be noted that a good hunk of this disc was actually recorded by Paul Krause of Beaver and... fame, who at first insisted his name be taken off the cover and then raised a big stink when he found out his moog demonstration was presented as actual Harrison electronic music!)

Well, the liner notes did state that "There are a lot of people around, making a lot of noise; here's some more." Honesty in advertising if you ask me, and even though I do like the thing in its own jeepers way I can't deny that statement. As most BLOG TO COMM readers know, I do like junk and trash and smarm and whatever ya got, just as long as it somehow fits into my own preconceptions and ideals about what is good and bad and on what levels it's valid or isn't. And yeah, I can listen to ELECTRONIC SOUND on the same level that I like to listen to fifties MOR and even some iffy early-eighties gnu wave trash and besides, I still think that Mick Jagger did the rockstar jacking off on synthesizer bit a lot better with his soundtrack to INVOCATION OF MY DEMON BROTHER, and even he didn't have the balls to release that on record!

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