Archive for October, 2000

Bob Drake talks about “Les Etudes d’Organism”

Tuesday, October 31st, 2000

Great little tidbit from Bob Drake re the Thinking Plague song “Les Etudes D’Organism” (from In Extremis) on rec.music.progressive today:

>The atonal polka section will make you laugh out loud.

There’s a good story about that part. I don’t remember who came up with that goofy bass clarinet part, probably between me and Mike Johnson. So Mike wrote it out for Mark Harris to play but didn’t realize it had to be transposed for the bass clarinet. (I can’t read a note…looked alright to me :) So when Mark played it it was in the wrong key, but it was much funnier that way so we kept it.

Hordes of fictional prog bands

Monday, October 23rd, 2000

For some reason I’d been overlooking the avant-progressive list recently, but in the past couple days there have been some pretty interesting thread. Someone asked about Pere Ubu, an “avant-garage” band whose 25th anniversary concert I happened to catch, by completely random chance, at the Knitting Factory. I was only able to stay for about an hour of the show, but I found it to be fairly interesting, though their type of noise-manipulation (especially the vocal side) isn’t really to my tastes.

The best piece of news coming from this list, though, is the fact that Soleil Zeuhl, who brought us the Dün Eros reissue that I still haven’t gotten around to getting, are planning to reissue Eskaton’s two non-4 Visions albums, Fiction and Ardeur, in mid-2001. Sweet!

My copies of the gatefold 24-remasters of Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Starless and Bible Black, and Red just came in today. I’m listening to Larks’ now at a ridiculously high volume, and the bass is shaking windows. Oh man, this stuff kicks so much ass. I’m not really putting much effort into comparing the new with the old, but on Larks’ at least the quieter moments seem much clearer - Muir’s percussion stands out a lot more to me than it ever did before. And Wetton’s bass is huger than ever, but that might be because I’ve never listened to this album at quite this enormous volume before.

Someone on rec.music.progressive just pointed out this rather amusing War Against Silence review of Echolyn’s As the World. A favorite quote: “…most of what seems to be the action in progressive rock isn’t even happening in English (though I’m still not totally convinced that some net denizens aren’t inventing hordes of fictional prog bands from Italy and Peru, just to confuse me)”.

Höyry-Kone was the highlight of my ProgDay

Monday, October 9th, 2000

Predictably, I had a good time at ProgDay Sunday (I had a wedding to attend Saturday), though things were mitigated by the extremely irritating fact that I missed Discus, who were one of two reasons I went in the first place. I did manage to see the other reason, Höyry-Kone, who put on one of the most transcendent live shows I’ve ever seen. They were, in short, absolutely breathtaking, with a great, heavy set tempered by scads of onstage humor. I’ll write up a review of what I saw later, but the only other two bands I caught were Tiles and Malibran, neither of whom I was much impressed by.

Also predictably, I blew a goodly chunk of cash in the space of maybe twenty minutes:

So far, I’m most hooked by the Rahmann disc, which reminds me of a less dark and more world-music influenced Shub Niggurath-Univers Zero cross. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by both In the Labyrinth and Kopecky, both of which are relatively simple but feature lots of neat influences and hybrid sounds. I suppose it was almost a given that I’d like Kopecky, given the fact that I’m a total sucker for the fretless bass. Anyway, those are actually the only three albums I’ve listened to in-depth, but I’m looking forward to digesting the rest soon.

I’m going to try my damnedest to go see Höyry-Kone again at the Knitting Factory on Tuesday the 17th. It means missing Sunny Day Real Estate here in New Haven, but that’s a more than acceptable tradeoff. Those guys were simply breathtaking.

Ralph Nader and prog

Thursday, October 5th, 2000

Nine hundred reviews! We rock! :-)

I went to see Ralph Nader speak today; he was being hosted here in New Haven by the Yale Political Union and the Connecticut Green Party. He was an excellent speaker and is obviously a very, very intelligent guy, judging from the way he answered — in a refreshingly direct manner — some pretty tough questions coming from Yale’s few right-wing students. I for one am somewhat more typical for a Yalie, being pretty left-wing, and Nader appealed to me a lot. One thing he said struck me in a progressive rock context. He was talking about freedom of expression is somewhat stunted by the fact that the media is entirely corporate-controlled, and no normal person is really able to reach out and communicate to large amounts of people. “You’re a brilliant violinist in the middle of the south Sahara desert.” Given my views on mass media, I agreed and in the meantime made the obvious comparison to the situation that progressive rock finds itself in.

For my music class, “Musical Cultures of the World”, our assignment for each unit is to find a piece in the Western tradition that is influenced by whatever music the unit is about. The first unit was on Indonesian gamelan music; I used the title track from King Crimson’s Discipline. The second unit, which we’re now wrapping up, is on Native American music; I used “Dum Dum Tambora” from Canción del Sur by Los Jaivas. I believe the next unit is on Indian (as in, Asian Indian) music - not sure what I’ll use for that one.

I’m currently in the middle of training for WYBC - the Yale Broadcasting Company. WYBC has both a commercial FM station (which happens to be New Haven’s #1 station, with 50,000 listeners) and a student-centered AM station. I’m planning to get a progressive rock show on the AM station next semester. WYBC does broadcast over the Internet, so anyone interested in tuning in could do so from anywhere in the world. Cool stuff.

In order to go to Sunday at ProgDay, I’m missing both The Flaming Lips and De La Soul in New Haven. Oh well, it’s a good tradeoff, and I’ll still get to see Sunny Day Real Estate.