Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Television-TORN CURTAIN 2-CD-R set (Hand Made bootleg, country of origin unknown)

I should 'fess up to the fact that Tom Verlaine and his Television boys haven't been getting as many spins around the ol' BTC offices as they should, so it was a fine enough treat getting my snot-encrusted mitts on this relatively new CD-R boot set that captures one of TV's hot early-'76 gigs recorded at their home away from home CBGB. The sound is exceptional especially considering the quality of hand-held cassette players at the time (I originally thought this was taken from a soundboard recording, it's that snat!) and despite the CD-R form's usual setbacks I managed to play both of these disques through sans any of the major technoglitches that usually befall this not-quite-perfected mode of aural reproduction. And (of course) the major benefits of owning this classic slice of bootleg history comes from the performances within, showing Television somewhere between their early primitive sixties garage-band roots (which have only been recently captured on a variety of boot wares) and the group that released the classic (and proficient) MARQUEE MOON album almost two years after the initial hub-bub grew around this critically-acclaimed new group, acclaimed only because the rock critics in En Why had nothing better to do but rather they rally around a band like Television than some tacky and tasteful musical aggregate! The striking guitar solo on "Marquee Moon" is still not fully (or even halfway) developed like it would be on the album yet the band's starting to sound a lot clearer, fine-tuned and perhaps even more art-focused (if you can believe that!) than they had on the early demos and live tapes. And with more of the early numbers getting jettisoned in favor of trackage with more complex, jazzier arrangements even I in some ways (if punk had never developed into punque) could have seen Television evolving into a smart New York jazz-rock unit with a heavier emphasis on Albert Ayler and John Coltrane than would have been expected from just about anyone. Now THAT would have been something interesting to look forward to, at least with regards to these guys spawing a thousand horrid "amerindie" groups who keep telling us over and over again how soul-less they are in today's mechanistic age (yawn...) but anyway if yer one of those obsessive/compulsive types like me who get vicarious thrills through listening to Velvet Underground music evolutionary developments in the instrumentation on "Heroin" this will probably send tingles through your cajoobies.

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