Sunday, July 26, 2015

If you can believe it, I am at peace! And frankly I'm not usually wont to be in such an upbeat, positive mood but I just cracked open my copy of THE INEVITABLE WORLD OF THE VELVET UNDERGROUND again and boy do I feel resensified. Resensified even more than had I just downed a bottle of magnesium citrate and washed about three weeks of impacted McNuggets outta my system. My opinions re. the linked-up review still stand---it's sure great reading about the Velvets while they were still alive/as it HAPPENED rather'n a good fortysome years later when all of these Social Justice Warrior types started getting on the same Velvets bandwagon they would have LOATHED back when the group was still up and functioning. Worse yet, when they began to "emulate" the music in their own cruddy bands they did it by banging away sans the tension and suburban decadent dinge the Velvets extracted from every pore on their rather malnourished bodies!

And this time I decided to read while playing recordings of groups influenced/INSPIRED by the Velvets rather'n the actual bunch themselves which you would know (if you only read the book review linked above!) is a pretty boffo way to enjoy an exploding plastic inevitability in yr own mind . Two nights ago it was the Electric Eels, last night Amon Duul in all their PARADIESWARTS glory...tonight ????? (My guess, the double disque edition of the first Stooges album.)

Yeah, a book like this that gathers all the pro/con and underground dribble on the Velvets (sure coulda used more foreign language opines, translated into Amerigan of course) is something that only a proud suburban slob like myself could appreciate to the fullest. Better than one of those dreams I always have where I'm going to a record shop that hasn't been in business in years only it's still there and albums I never even knew existed are there waiting on the racks for me to snatch up! And once again this read goes to show you that, contrary to public opinion, the Velvets were being recognized for their high energy rockist appeal to the point where their magick spell could be discerned---but do you really think I should dish out the moolah for the HAIR soundtrack just because some D.A.N. Jones in the pages of THE LISTENER wrote how "several of the more plaintive songs" with "a naive, untrained girl's voice against a sophisticated guitar" were reminiscent of the Velvets??? I could poo-poo this as being another bunch of hipster hyperbole but sheesh, this was written in 1970 and not in the pages of some current amerindie buttwipe bursting itself all over the place with politico/socio rage! This Jones person's gotta earn at least a whole boxfulla brownie points for mentioning the Velvets in such a popular light long before it became the snazzy thing to do, and like hey maybe natural born baldo like myself can find something of interest and Velvetude on that oft-scorned platter. Well with the kicks getting harder to find each and every day is it like I have a choice?!?!?!
(If I were you I'd totally ignore this up-n-coming paragraph [and maybe the next one after it] if only because well...I'm writing it to make this post look just an itty bitty smidge-y longer than it already is---there's nothing but talk about the weather 'n what little's going on in my life that really has nada to do with the music at hand but hey...)

Nice weather we're having now, ain't it? Well, it's great to know that July turned out to be a dryer month than June was even though frankly we coulda used a little more of those really hotcha days that turned into scary thunderstorm evenings. Y'know, the kind that used to creep the bejabbers outta me when I'd be watching tee-vee and alla a sudden the local station would break in tellilng us a storm was comin' and like I'd start panicking while my mother would open all of the windows and unplugging the electric appliances so's we wouldn't get blown away or struck by lightning! Of course when the network cable link would go kablooey and all we had to stare at (before the BIG ka-boom came) was a slide saying "Please Stand By" I'd get them feelings that thee end was near and that Kruschev or whoever was in charge by then was getting ready to launch those big missiles we used to see alla time on tee-vee. Then it was all over for the world only that we'd be dead a few seconds and then we'd all get in line to go to heaven, or something like that. But who knows, maybe if I espied the crowds of people who were coming back to be judged for the final time I might see George Washington! Well, when I was a kid I used to think crazy things like that up, as anyone who has heard my theory about the universe being kept in a box placed somewhere in Dick Tracy's police station could tell you.

And if there's anything that I'm nostalgic about these days it's stuff like this, not any of that flower power love and peace crap that the rest of the kids were swallowing faster than San Francisco fudge at a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition. If only I could watch an old moom pitcher on the tube and have it interrupted by one of those old Civil Defense (later on EBS) slides telling us a big thunderboomer was comin', boy could I relive those funtime kiddo memories even more'n the time I discovered that stash of old NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC hula girl issues under my uncle's bed when no one was looking!
Well, I think I did a good enough yob filling this post out to a halfway-decent length. And now for what you've all been waiting for...once again thanks to Bill Shute for the freebee burns which I can always use (and I even received a fresh set of spinners from him yesterday...if I told you that guy burns me up I'd tell it to you in a nice, positive way!) and thanks to you dear reader for being just that (gawrsh)!!!!

Third Sun-ROOFTOP FOLLIES CD-r burn (Galactus, available via Richard Orlando)

Before interplanetary sonic explorer Doug Walker began performing under the name Alien Planetscapes he was using the rather mid-seventies cool-ish nom-de-blare Third Sun. Considered to be one of if not thee first New York City-area space rock/"progressive" group, Walker described his act as sounding like "Van Der Graaf Generator playing the Art Ensemble of Chicago songbook". And as you'd probably guess if you've been reading this blog since its inception such an outta nowhere remark such as that hits my own listening spheres with a hearty pow-zap-wham!

Third Sun had a shifting line-up (oddly enough David Javelosa from Los Microwaves was a one-gig member) and rarely played out .Well, at least I never saw any VILLAGE VOICE back page listing for them, but considering how some spring '76 live tracks popped up on THE BABY M TRIALS tape at least there's some recorded evidence that Third Sun was more'n just another basement band that never managed to go anywhere other'n the footnote section of the "Ultra Obscure Underground Bands" book of your choice.

This Cee-Dee-Are release is taken from a July 1976 performance recorded at 449 Pacific St., Brooklyn New Yoik in case any of you local readers wanna stroll by and stare at the building in abject interstellar awe. And maybe you should, because this platter is a pretty hot ball of free form rock unto AACM-styled free play (similar to the early AEC in that there are percussionists, but no drummers) that echoes more or less the Soft Machine filtered through Joseph Jarman and Roscoe Mitchell doing some nasty double reed duty while Malachai Favors slaps congas. It rocks as well as jazzes up rather smoothly, sounding dreamy at one point then jarring you into reality with a few well-placed blurts and believe-you-me, this is one session that's been in the ol' can for way too long a time just WAITING to be unleashed on our wax-encrusted ears.

Home-recording quality sound actually gives this a more earthy appeal that befits the music, and although the electric piano dates the recording it does so in a rather jarring mid-seventies way I can't complain about. If this is standard of what Third Sun were able to create they really should have gotten out a lot more than they did, even if I get the feeling that a good portion of the music listening crowd of the era would have been scratching their heads in mass confusion.
Alien Planetscapes-LIVE IN BROOKLYN MARCH 13, 1997 CD-r burn (Galactus, see link directly above for more details)

This version of the group features nobody but Planetscapes mainstay Doug Walker with a Carl Howard (both handling synths and effects with Walker also dabbling in organ and flute), but the sound this duo makes is really something that's a whole loads better'n what I'm sure some 1979 band down the street thinking they were Yes could come up with. This is SPACE ROCK as in meteors pounding your craft into recyclable aluminum, not unicorns and damsels frolicking around somewhere in Middle Earth!

Three tracks ("Selma Freedom March 1965" parts one/two/three) ooze on in throbs and electronic burps kinda sounding like the track "UFO" by Guru Guru at one point and then moments from the first Tangerine Dream album...then throw "Kluster" into the mix then get into your head that none of the guys performing here are German! Perfect for krautrock fans, electronic gadgetry lovers and those of us who like noise for the pure sound of it. And vice versa. With Cee-Dees like this who needs to get off on listening to household appliances?
TARANTULA CD-r burn (originally on A&M)

Boy, Bill really sourced the bottom of the 1976 Radio Shack cutout stacks with this one! Produced by none other than Chad Stuart of "and Jeremy" fame, Tarantula spent a good portion of what I suspect is their only album mishmoshing various late-sixties rock and pop moves that are clearly derivative of the big guns, but like eh! Not exactly my idea of a classic late-sixties platter true, but I gotta admit that the "Fool on the Hill" period Beatles moves do pay homage to the original without sounding too cheap (but cheap enough!) while the long horn-y instrumental number does come off slightly Mothers of Invention-ish to the point where I get the impression that had Frank Zappa heard this one he'd be flinging the turntable right across the room! I won't even tell you about the obligatory avant garde track. If you're the kinda fanabla who hated all of those post-SGT. PEPPER attempts to merge rock, classical, folk and jazz into a new artistic form be sure to miss out on this one.
Jac Berrocal/David Fenech/Vincent Eppelay-ANTIGRAVITY CD (Blackest Ever Black, available via Forced Exposure)

If you like to feel toasty warm inside knowing that there are still some free-minded jazz musicians out there doing their best to out-avant the avant garde you'll really go for an album like this one. Bordering on Nurse With Wound concerns, the trio of Jac Berrocal along with David Fenech on guitars and various noisemakers along with Vincent Eppelay on percussion and various other noisemakers waddle between the new jazz and new rock thang with as much ease as a gerbil through a fleshy maze, making for sounds that recall the more outre aspects of 1980 Systematic Records catalog experiments and maybe even that all night college radio show that got axed in a flash. Might not exactly tingle your tastebuds at one sitting, but I do see myself (and maybe you) returning to it frequently like I do all my other Berrocal blockbusters.
G.L.Unit-ORANGUTANG! CD-r burn (originally on EMI Odeon, Sweden)

I get the feeling that some of you readers aren't exactly fans of white (or Asian) Europeans (Asians) playing free jazz. Maybe I'm wrong, but I do get those mystioso "vibes" once in awhile, man. But if you do then this one just might be "thee" ticket for you.

I wonder how EMI got tricked into releasing this '60s/'70s cusp platter in the first place but they did, and this big band avant garde jaunt is pretty good stuff for fans of not only the Sun Ra Arkestra but the Globe Unity Orchestra and Alan Silva's triple-disc BYG outing that remains overdrive legendary even until this day.

Massive pure free flow that echoes not only Ra but Albert Ayler which would figure considering how both were like the ultimate benchmarks of sonic striveitude. Total free-form wigout music that should surprise you just the way it did when you were a teenager dabbling toes into the pond of experimental sound thanks to a few well-placed mentions in CREEM. Only one thing here that bugs me, and that is the creature featured on the front cover is not an orangutang but a gorilla! Sheesh, I guess all primates look alike to some people!
Various Artists-CLEAN FUDGE MATRIX WISEGUY CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Mixed bag time again, with the likes of Les Feles and Size (one's French and the other's Mexican) doing some late-seventies styled new unto gnu wave that really doesn't hold up the way some better practitioners of the form do a good thirty-six years later. The Fun-Atics, Genells and Romans material is good if patented obscure early-sixties doo-wah music good for a listen (although practically nada next to the heavy guys of the day) while the commercial jingles do tingle this aging fanabla's good-ol'-days nodes as much as a choice episode of ABBOT AND COSTELLO ever could.

As for the bread that sandwiches the rest well. Alice B. Toklas giving a recipe for hash brownies ain't anything I felt comfortable listening to...something that's strictly for the rainbow crowd to smirk themselves to death over while the Lenny Bruce radio gig only reinforces all of those reasons I loathe the man as a precursor not only to late-sixties hippie relevancy but modern-day sociopolitical mook. How anybody could listen to, laugh or even learn from this pathetic junkie is beyond me, but since we've gone beyond the pale ages back it's no surprise that people look up to him as some sorta wizened sage espousing the same pearls of wisdom these dorks have wanted to hear for years. The only thing Lenny Bruce was good for was inspiring one of Tim Hardin's best songs and even those movies he did inna fifties show him to have been nothing but a mediocre hack actor so foo on him and his sordid memory!


Charles Hodgson said...

Hey Chris, is that the "Hair" Motion Picture Soundtrack or the "Original Broadway Cast" recording referenced by review in the VU Inevitable book? Thanks!

Charles Hodgson said...

Just checked and the movie wasn't made until 1979, so it's definitely NOT the OST being reviewed in the book. Still mystified as to what the CORRECT version would be to track down.
(Get a feeling of deja vu about all this though - did I ask you before?!)
Need to get a copy of that book. I only have 'Uptight' & Kostek's bootleg guide. Both invaluable. Hang on, I seem to recall getting some kind of '80's 'scrapbook'-type thing with lots of press cuttings. No idea where THAT is!)

Charles Hodgson said...

That scrapbook is listed here. Weird thing.

Christopher Stigliano said...

Charles, the writer DAN Jones was referring to the London stage version which I believe did release an album (but don't quote me on this). It's the one with Sonya Whatzername from Curved Air in the cast in case you're into doing some research on the situation. Of course those other recordings of the musical might have that Velvets zing, but who knows?

Charles Hodgson said...

Chris, thanks for the reply. There is an "approximation" of the original London cast recordings from 1968 currently available on cd. Unfortunately some changes have been made on there which mean the original LP is the only place to hear the exact version reviewed in the book. I'll check youtube further, but I did find some footage of Sonja Kristina singing a song from "Hair" titled "Frank Mills" which is nice and all, if somewhat missing a true VU vibe ( Also checked out some Curved Air on the 'choob which sounded pretty good, maybe a bit too technically sofisticated for my tastes, but certainly catchy by prog standards. I may have to check out more by them.
(Seriously considering buying a copy of that "Inevitable" book, if I can get together the necessary scratch, so thanks for that tip too.)