Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Melodic Energy Commission (Canadian Psych Folk Weirdness!)

Stranger in Mystery (Canada 1979) - Lp

An interesting branch of the Hawkwind family tree is Melodic Energy Commission, which included among it membership Hawk electronics maestro Del Dettmar. The band's lineup consisted of Xaliman on vocals, guitar, piano, electro-keys, gongs, percussion, and shepherds pipes, Randy Raine-Reusch on dulcimer, khaen, gongs, and flutes, Del on EMS synth and Delatronics, George McDonald on guitar, theramin, and wall of oscillation, Mark Franklin on bass, and Paul Franklin percussion, tablas, glockenspiel, and synth organ, plus numerous guests. Stranger In Mystery is a Canadian Gem feature tribal, acoustic, flower power, hippie psychedelia combined with loads of spacerock electronics. The music is raw, but heavily exploratory, often changing radically within a single track. For example, the nine minute title track features acid guitar and synths jamming in their own individual directions in a kind of heavy Hawkwind,Tangerine Dream Vibe to Ethnic notes which remind me of the Sun City Girls or early Tower Recordings. Xaliman's slightly efx'd vocals are a bit eerie and fit the music well. This album goes from psychedelic chamber orchestra, to dissonant strumming acoustic guitars, and tweaked analog electronics. The original vinyl of the release is very rare. The band is from Vancouver Canada and still exists to this day. Look for them on myspace!

I've also included in the zip file a rare early single by the group.
- Melody is Energy 7''

The Album was originally posted over at Ezhevika Fields.
This one needs to make it to more ears!

Download here,
Melodic Energy Commission

Pip Proud (Australian 60s Low-Fi Folk)

Pip Proud - Eagle-Wise (1968-1969)

Eagle-Wise is a compilation of his LP's A Bird In The Engine and Adreneline and Richard, both albums that were originally released in 1968 and 1969 and incredibly hard to find now. Incredibly Tender intimate Folk.

Reminds me at times of Alistair Galbraith, Syd Barrett, Sentridoh, and Neon Pearl.

The greatest Australian singer-songwriter of the 1960's. While all around him artists fell over each other trying to imitate overseas trends - beat groups, psychedelia, or whatever they were listening to in London and LA that month - Pip Proud was starting from scratch, and making his own music. The Adelaide-born Proud learnt guitar and developed his own idiosyncratic style as a teenager; moving to Sydney in his late teens, he began writing poetry, novels and songs at an impressive rate.

Download here,
Pip Proud

Monday, January 28, 2008

Can Am des Puig - Book Of Am (Spanish Folk Psych 1977)

The Book of AM - Part One & Two ; Dawn and Morning
(Spain 1977)

Beautiful cult commune hippie psych folk item with a certain eastern flavour. Extremely rare - most of it is really good. Spiritual songs with various acoustic instruments, harmonium, sitar, tabla female/male vocals.

A gem of the Acid Folk Genre!

Can Am des Puig - Book Of Am

Friday, January 25, 2008

Kenneth Higney - Attic Demonstration


Attic Demonstration is a collection of demos performed by Higney in 1976. A New Jersey truck driver looking to jumpstart a career as a songwriter, Higney pressed the record in order to give it to other musicians, in hopes that they would perform his songs. That no one took him up on his offer is not surprising, since this a relentlessly downbeat, ramshackle collection of music. It’s a compelling and frequently bleak piece of work, but not one with much (or anything at all) in the way of the commercial potential Higney may have hoped for. Imagine Neil Young’s depressive masterwork On the Beach, only replace Neil Young with an untrained singer who vacillates between a haunted, plaintive drawl and a raspy shout, force the musicians to play constantly out of time, drench everything in tortured lead guitar, and deprive the band any second-takes.

As Higney explains in his liner notes, all of the music, (including overdubs), was recorded in a single take. That explains the ragged, cacophonous sound of the LP’s two rockers, the opening “Night Rider” and the final track, “No Heavy Trucking.” Perhaps they were intended as anthemic road songs; instead, these are abandoned landscapes as desolate as the one photographed on Attic Demonstration’s front cover – a shaggy haired Higney framed by a dreary cloud-choked sky, a vaguely pained expression on his face, resembling the jean-jacketed lead in some long-lost, Garden State Antonioni film. “Night Rider” is the most upbeat track; Higney harangues the title character, probably a biker, backed by clattering drums and guitars that are rarely in sync with the percussion. The dissonant and claustrophobic “No Heavy Trucking” portrays a truck-driver at the end of his rope, sitting alone and helpless in a malfunctioning rig - a glimpse into the trucker’s life far removed from anything dreamed up by C.W. McCall.

There’s also a plodding dirge sung from the point of view of a disillusioned rock star, a plea for his “Children of Sound” (his songs?) not to leave him and go “die in this world of hate,” and three break-up laments that combine bitter misanthropy and wounded self pity. “Look at the River” is the highlight – it begins as an acoustic rumination on the pain of being left by a woman, but builds into an acidic rebuke of her foolishness in abandoning him (”Your life will be an empty shell / Your life will be a rusty bell”), with Higney‚s increasingly desperate vocals matched by corrosive blasts of guitar.

While the LP showcased Higney’s original songwriting (almost utterly devoid of hope and happiness), the two bonus tracks, both from a single released in 1980, are in a more playful vein. Since they were produced with the intention of actually being released commercially, they are considerably more polished than the demos on Attic Demonstration. “Funky Kinky” is a disco (!) song, complete with a high-pitched chorus and cheesy synths. The stomping glam-rocker “I Wanna be the King” is Higney’s tribute to New York City punkers, and contains a great should-not-be-a-rhyme in the line: “I’m gonna be a star / I hate the sissy music of John Denver!” The single, Higney explains, didn’t get much more attention than Attic Demonstration did – it was a “monster record which drowned in the swamp after being chased by villagers.”

Download here,
Kenneth Higney

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Mort Garson - rip

Canadian Electronic Musician Mort Garson passed on at the age of 83 on January 4th in San Fransisco. His records from the 60s and 70s are some of the best Moog Synth music ever made. Here is a cult classic for you all to enjoy. Rest well Mort.

Lucifer (Mort Garson)
Black Mass

The concept of this album showed the Moog delivering sounds sinister and exciting to a degree the lurid horror films of the day never matched. All the titles related to occult phenomenons and themes, and seemed to focus mainly on the darker side of occultism. With it's breakbeats galore, intense synthesizer, hip original themes, this was really a unifying concept. An occult Moog-album! The man behind this recording was a somewhat obscure solo artist; Mort Garson.

Mort Grason was born in Canada in 1924, as a graduate from the Juilliard School, he began writing musical scores in the 1940s, and worked as an arranger / composer / engineer in the late 1940s / early 1950s. He got highly acclaimed as the orchestral arranger for Glen Campbell's 1968 "By The Time I Get To Phoenix". Garson also had production credits on records by vocalists and other artists, including Mel Torme, Doris Day, Ed Ames, and Leslie Uggams. He wrote, arranged, and directed for many years on many labels in many styles. He also made music for TV and movies. But he recorded some albums too, each more strange than the other.

According to a Robert Moog (inventor of the Moog) interview, he told that when he was showcasing his instrument at an expo, Garson (even then in his mid-40's) and an assortment of crazed geniuses decided to use it, among other electronic instruments to make a psychedelic pop / rock / spoken word concept album which turned out to be the first usage of the Moog on a commercial pop record from the West Coast. This was the album Zodiac Cosmic Sounds, recorded together with Jacques Wilson in 1967. It consisted of twelve "songs" composed as a suite on the twelve signs of the zodiac and where accompanied by Paul Beaver on electronic keyboards, including the Moog synthesizer. That same year Garson wrote and arranged another little masterpiece, the single credited to the Big Game Hunters.
Next album Electronic Hair Pieces from 1969 used the Moog to arrange some well-known pop hits. His third album was the electronic masterpiece The Wozard of Iz (also from 1969) sets to (Moog) music a socio-political satire built around the children's classic (Bernie Krause on "environmental sounds" and Nancy Sinatra as a co-narrator). His passion for the Moog took him to compose entire albums for A&M of music for each zodiacal sign(!) that predated new-age music by a decade: Signs of the Zodiac: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagitarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces.

But he also made another record in 1971, which was very different. Under the devilish pseudonym "Lucifer", Garson released this record: Lucifer - Black Mass. It had his wildest hodgepodge of electronic sounds. Little is known about this release though.
The same year, after the Black Mass album, Garson released a not-occult album called Music For Sensual Lovers in collaboration with performance-artist "Z", which contained moody Moog music accompanied by the wonderful screaming and orgasmic moans of a porn star(!). Then, four years passed, before Mort Garson returned with another occult-themed Moog record; Ataraxia - The Unexplained in 1975...

Black Mass