Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Harmonia & Eno '76-TRACKS AND TRACES REISSUE CD (Gronland UK)

No bout a doubt it that Harmonia and Roxy Music were two of the boffo-est top-notch-est punk rock bands of the early-to-mid-seventies! Naturally I'm using that hoary old term in the best early rockscribe/CREEM magazine-est way possible but you know it's true. After all, with some of the better writers of that era both pro and fan describing everyone from Can, the Dolls, the Stooges, Aerosmith, Ten Years After, Amon Duul II, Mike Heron and Ashton Gardner and Dyke as punk rock surely both Harmonia and Roxy would classify as such, eh? Therefore you'd kinda hope and wish that a collab twixt Harmonia and ex-Roxy focal point Eno would've made for a pretty exciting recording session that just oozes tribal body music from each and every one of its unclogged pores, right?

Well, yes und no for although TRACKS AND TRACES is a pleasing enough archival dig into past obscurities this ain't the high energy froth that I was pretty much hoping for. By this time ya gotta admit that the late-seventies lul had certainly taken its toll on not only the krautsters but the limeys with little if any of the raw excitement of the Harmonia albums (which ranged from electronic repeato-pulse to pseudo-Neu!/La Dusseldorf kraut-garde) or Eno's early solo Buddy Holly-meets-Velvet Underground riff rock having survived. In fact, if I had to compare what the vast majority of TRACKS AND TRACES recalls it would be the album that Eno did with 2/3rds of Harmonia a.k.a. Cluster shortly afterward that I sure wanted to hear at the time but after getting hold of it via a flea market copy years later found to be typical of the late-seventies post-prog miasma. The rest of it could have easily passed for backing tracks to one of those later-on Eno albums that I don't think stand the test of time the way the first two do. Listen to this and you too will know why Eno was heading for a bright future in ambient slosh! And as for Harmonia well, at least they're still alive and kicking which is good enough for me even if they never would recapture any great moments to be heard on DELUXE!

But on the bright side, at least TRACKS AND TRACES does have that strange ethereal seventies avant garde feeling that seems to work for me late at night especially during muggy summer months. PERSIAN SURGERY DERVISHES as well as certain early Philip Glass tracks also weaved the same teenage-throwback spell for me so tell you time I'm up late Saturday during a particularly sticky night I'll spin this 'un again and tell you if the electronic whirls don't affect me in the same ennuistic way that watching old b&w movies during the late hours on equally agonizing nights used to. Of course the ads for roll-a-sage recliners and PSA's jolting you outta your half-sleep also helped with the overall jaded ambiance but hey, no matter how much I cry and pout I better get it into my thick skull that THOSE DAYS ARE GONE FOREVER!!! And that includes emotionally as well as structurally. Well, this is that cyborg world all of you free-thinking types that I grew up with wanted in the first place, so maybe you should be happy, 'cause I ain't.

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