Saturday, May 04, 2013

Seems as if there's a whole lotta interesting underground films (or ah-vaht ghad if you will) popping up on youtube as of late. If first it wasn't the first few minutes (where's the rest?) of Christopher Young's OBJECT LESSON:

Or Ian Hugo's BELLS OF ATLANTIS with that exceptional electronic music score that sounds like Kluster twenty years before the fact:

It's none other that Gregory Markopoulos' TWICE A MAN that's suddenly appearing from out of the ether!

Kinda strange seeing this 'un out 'n about especially after reading all the stories about how Marcopoulos, after heading for Europe with boyfriend Robert Beavers in the seventies, had all of his films put under lock 'n key but I guess even a man's death for umpteen years'll unlock any wishes of him self-suppressing his own work no matter how much he wanted others not to experience it. Good for us if bad for him for his films, like  many of these under-the-concrete productions we've read about for so many years, deserve to be seen if only so we can understand the roots of today's pretentious, self-conscious, socially pious and let's offend the rubes art which are out 'n about even more'n the pollen in this otherwise clear spring air.

TWICE A MAN is not only noteworthy for being an example of early (1962) sixties underground film, but for the use of Markopoulos' "in camera editing" which creates all those weirdie effects that remind me of Stan Brackage. It's also "famous" because of the presence of future Oscar winner and cousin to failed presidential candidate Michael Olympia Dukakis as "the young mother" which I guess differentiates her from the older lady who's what else but "the old mother"! Kinda interesting seeing such a big name appear in such an underground film as this, at least one that wasn't directed by Andy Warhol.

As far as to what the gist 'n meaning of TWICE A MAN is well, I know that personal interpretations can be a dangerous thing especially when it comes to the Bible and Shakespeare, but since I can't locate any Cliff Notes for this film I'll just have to wing it. And you know that's going to be tough given the strange lapses in sound, impossible to hear monologue and scene juxtapositions which woulda sent that middle-aged couple outte the nearest art house and straight to THE SOUND OF MUSIC faster'n you can say fanabla. Here's what I think TWICE A MAN is about...young guy is homo and feeling rather confused about it, while his mother (who looks pretty young herself) is upset, but that's only because she wishes that she could have sex with him. Where the old lady comes in as well as the other guys in suits I do not know, but if its dream logic you're after you probably can't find a better film than this!
Not that much in the music revooze this week, though thankfully I managed to get a few newies in that you must might wanna know about (but probably won't). Well, you gotta admit that it's at least a nize li'l selection of various newities and Shuteisms that I'm writing up for this week's consumption even if none of what's forthcoming's exactly something that's gonna make you wanna toss confetti all over the sidewalk. And although there really isn't that much goin' on in the new releases (of both new and archival digs) that's making me want to part with the kopeks these days at least things such as the following flotsam have been making life a li'l easier to bear and if you don't agree with me all I gotta say is, in the words of Eddie Haskell, "well you'd think differently if you've been pushed around as much as I've been!" (Yeah that don't make much sense but I thought it looked cool enough!)

Mark Cunningham-BLOOD RIVER DUSK LP (Feeding Tube)

Hmmmm, another set o' platters from Feeding Tube records! Didn't even finish the previous one but wha' th' hey... Here's a surprise, a solo platter from former Mars bass guitarist Mark Cunningham that was recorded in his new home country of Spain, and it's a real wild one too. To tell the truth I wasn't that jazzed by Cunningham's Don King group even though I hoped to heck they'd be the logical extension of seventies no wave prowess, but it turns out that this particular project doesn't have any of the Soho smug/politically pious feeling of the eighties no wave variation and comes off like...well a music that is rather fresh and intriguing rather than off-putting. Cunningham's trumpet blows sullen and detached, and the electronic backing ain't overbearing or obtrusive but accompanies Cunningham swell. Neat surprise of the year...I really like it and I can't believe I said that given some of the anti-artistic schmooze I'm wont to spurt.
Great Valley-CONTINENTAL LUNCH LP (Feeding Tube)

Dream pop for people who like to take a lotta Ny Quil before they go to bed. Flowing and at times flitzy musings that have a strange appeal as they go off into strange tangents not often associated with music of this sort. So rooted in seventies aesthetics yet abstract enough that even Eno (who came to mind while listening to this) would have thought this outre. Comes in boffo cover that looks like it belongs on some fresh picking 1975 album soon to tranform into cutout bin '76 bargain and ultimately flea market fodder '77 cheap buy.
Various Artists-BIGFOOT POPCORN JUBILEE CD-R (compiled by Bill Shute)

Another mad mix of styles and genres courtesy of Bill Shute, a guy who really can find these strange mp3's 'n whatever onna web 'n download 'em to his heart's content. This particular 'un has everything from novelty ("Poppin' Popcorn") to gospel (the Southwind Quartet's "John the Revelator") to even a side from some late-sixties Christmas album that I assume was a free giveaway courtesy some business, and it all fits into my own suburban slob mindset okay-like, or at least a whole lot better'n alla those opera records my mother used to spin while she did the ironing back when I was a kid. Personal faves include both sides of the Party Boys' "We Gotta Party," the Del Nights' "Everything" esp. with that high-pitched femme vocal squeaking the title throughout, and Ken Nordine's hyping of the "Evatone" flexi-disc in the best late-sixties way possible.

The best laid plans of moose and I was gonna this particular Cee-Dee as part of a larger gang-review featuring other mainstays of the late-seventes/early-eighties "anarcho-punk" movement, only it's gonna take awhile for the Astronauts download to make it my way and the Androids of Mu reish is gonna hafta wait with the rest of my next Forced Exposure order. In other words...there goes that brilliant idea! Well at least reviewing this particular Mob platter on its lonesome won't detract any from its ultimo greatness which I gotta say is rare for a good portion of groups of this genre, most of 'em who were so doctrinaire and hidebound they just couldn't stand the idea that anybody was listening to their music for the sake of pleasure and ENTERTAINMENT, y'know?

The roughness of these tracks (which I wouldn't doubt weren't taken directly from the released cassettes as if "masters" survive) have a particularly late-sixties primitive appeal to ' fact they sound as if they could have been lifted off of some rare asetates recorded by yet another under-the-radar decidedly non-progressive English group of the '69-'71 strata. Fantastic wall of guitar sound here (with more than a few [sub] conscious references to the Pink Fairies and Hawkwind) courtesy the trio, and what's even better is that the lyrics are totally tasteful w/o the mindless mewls of many of the Mob's compatriots who were moaning so much about anarchy on one hand yet seemed so upset when the government would cut their dole know the big hypocricy regarding how these kiddos wanted to be free yet thought the world (govt/rich people/someone with pull) owed 'em a living. Still can't make that 'un quite out.

Even better'n the "official" LET THE TRIBE INCREASE album in its cassette-fidelity and general spontaneity. One for those who do have a soft spot in their hearts for early-eighties Rough Trade catalogs that used to make their way to our door with surprising regularity, not forgetting the third-hand copies of SOUNDS circulating among those of us who didn't quite have the right amount of dosh back when we sure could have used it.
Various Artists-TINY TIM'S NEW CLOTHES CD-R (compiled by Bill Shute)

Another nice Shute package featuring a number of worthies including a rare B. Bumble and the Stingers side, Tiny Tim doing both Jerry Lee Lewis and Dooley Wilson (and doin' 'em good!), Jerry without the "Lee" Lewis showing yet another facet of his many talents and even a rare Searchers single that nobody outside of Greg Shaw probably ever heard! It's a pleasing, heart-warm-y and nostalgic disque too not only with Crazy Otto's tack piano and drums instro pieces (sounds like the music they used to play with the silent OUR GANG comedies on channel 33 back when I was a kid) but for the inclusion of two tracks from that Danny Kaye HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN album that my mom used to spin for me incessantly back when I was but a mere turdler! Kinda brought back them pre-worry 'n school days feelings way more'n a surprise enema ever could!
FEDERAL DUCK CD-R burn (originally on Musicor)

Another wonder from the Bill Shute collection, this time of a late-sixties eclectic bunch who did a fairly good job mixing psych, pop, jazz and classical but were stuck on Musicor who weren't exactly out there pumping their product to the press or radio stations. The resultant spew does give me rather mixed feelings at times sounding rather snat and at others typical late-sixties wuss pop, but despite the typically abysmal bouts at tenderness its an overall pleasant platter that doesn't irritate the same way similar-minded pop-art projects have. If you like the BEFORE THERE WAS...TIME album or THE SPOILS OF WAR you might like FEDERAL DUCK. But then again, you might not.

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