Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cults Percussion Ensemble

Here's another delightful recording which has just popped through the A Sound Awareness letterbox. This time, an oddly beautiful compendium of tuned percussion music, wonderfully played by an ensemble of Aberdeenshire school children. All twelve tracks were recorded and issued privately in 1979, with financial support by Grampian Regional Council and Aberdeen Educational Trust, with the resultant lp to be sold at concerts while the ensemble toured the United Kingdom, Germany and France. In my many years of scouring charity shops, jumbles sales and early morning carboots I've never even had a sighting of this elusive gem and I have a sneaking suspicion that many a proud 'Granite City' grannie or grandad have multiple mint copies sitting underneath their beds waiting to be bequeathed to future generations as precious family heirlooms. The copy I acquired came via a rather odd Yorkshire antique dealer who liked to send records in recycled pizza boxes. Luckily, the aforementioned pizza boxes hadn't been used prior to delivery. The recording itself is very peculiar, combining child like exotic percussion flourishes and eerie, swirling sound tones, all beautifully played with a melancholic innocence only youth can muster. Years ago, when I first heard this record, I instantly thought of Jonny Trunk. It's like the perfect Trunk record and it seems fitting he's decided to reissue it. What's not to love, there's spectral vibraphonic glissando, impish flourishes played on glockenspiels, proto hip hop drum breaks played on timpani drums and fourteen year old musicians conjuring all sorts of weird little shimmering sound shapes of sonic wonder on every composition. It's very enchanting stuff indeed. I should probably also mention that the record features a fourteen year old Dame Evelyn Glennie and a rather fine beige sleeve, which according to the sleeve notes, Jonny Trunk decided was too beige for a contemporary audience. I guess he's right. Head over to Trunk HQ to find out a little more.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Absurdist Sound Stones & Gallic Acid

Two very strange recordings arrived through my letterbox this morning, a decidedly odd compilation of absurdist wonky 'head jazz' by Emil Richards and a sublime anthology of psychedelic orchestration by French composer William Sheller. 

Emil Richards, percussionist extraordinaire, maverick electronic freakout pioneer and wearer of immensely formidable moustaches has long been a favourite on the A Sound Awareness turntable. This compendium collects his three best recordings; the wonderfully delirious and 'out there' "Stones", the remarkably off-kilter and weirdly arranged strangeness that is "New Time Element" and probably my favourite example of 'zoned out transcendental rug jazz' ever recorded, the extraordinary oddball and bizarre "Journey To Bliss". All three are musical gems.

William Sheller has also been a longtime favourite and this collection not only gathers together his visionary opus "Lux Aeterna" but many of his rare and seldom heard 45s such as the rather fine (and rather pricey) Erotissimo OST single which is delerious minute and a half of French psychedelic pop wizzz! "Lux Aeterna" is a very different musical proposition entirely and as such this uniquely strange recording is both difficult to describe or reference. Originally composed as a wedding gift in 1970, it's an oddly beautiful recording which combines a weirdly sinister melange of ritualistic choral chants, melancholic psychedelic orchestration, whirling electronic oscillations, meditative kosmiche groove and devout spoken word recitations. I can only think of a handful of records to compare it to, the nearest touchstones being the dark instrumental passages of Jean Claude Vannier's “L'enfant Assassin Des Mouches” or the mystical psychedelic liturgical paens of Majoie Hajary's "La Passion Selon Judas" or maybe a few of the immersive orchestral reverberations found on Jason Havelock's "Pop Symphony". As I said, comparisons are not easy. Whatever dark chemicals they were dumping in the Seine in the late 60's and early 70's to create such weirdly uncharted musical waters we can only guess. This is an exceptional example of fractured Gallic acid from the post May '68 musical pharmacie.

Both of these musical oddities are released this month by the Omni Recording Corporation and are well worth your further investigation.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Recorded Music For Film, Radio & Television: Electronic Vol.1

Fans of dark electronic tape gloopage will have much to celebrate this month with the impending reissue of Tod Dockstader's long out of print library records on the Mordant Music label. Originally released in 1979 on the Boosey & Hawkes library imprint, "Electronic Volume One" is a masterpiece of future shock electronica for film, radio and television - a strange mixture of ominous oscillations, fluctuating electro sound tones and weirdly pastoral tape glitchwerk. Lend your ears to the oddly motorik vibrations of "Snap Sail" or the weirdly glacial drift of "Floating Up" and then pop over to Mordant manor for more info.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fauna Marina

Here's a track from a quirky little Italian library record by Egisto Macchi which features several musical compositions inspired by all things watery and sub aquatic. I'm rather fond of the eerie strange pulses of the plankton track but decided that the track about crustaceans needed to be heard mainly because my four year old daughter did a funny little crab jig to it when I played it. Maybe you could try your own movement and dance lesson at home? The record also features a rather outstanding watercolour drawing on the front cover which takes 'peaked outsider' graphic design to a whole new level - but you've probably noticed that already. Jump in and enjoy the swim but watch out for those pincers.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Ernest Berk

British electronic music pioneer Ernest Berk provides strange electronic tonalities for this rather disquieting depiction of rural England by film maker David Gladwell.

Thursday, September 06, 2012


A slowly evolving experimental film by Croatian cinematographer Vladimir Petek.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Veris The Program Mix

For those that like to dig a little bit deeper, here's a new audio collage of oddball library music and eccentic vibrations by vinyl archaeologist Veris The Program (one half of Mondo Fuzz). I've enjoyed his collections of underexposed and mostly ungoogleable sounds for years and this mix is no exception. Lovely stuff. Should you wish to dig and delve further, Veris was also responsible for this rather wonderful mix on Finders Keepers a while back. Tracklist in comments. Enjoy.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Designs From The Cutting Room Floor

Here's an incredible set of Julian House posters for the film Berberian Sound Studio which rather weirdly ended up on the cutting room floor. Peter Strickland was kind enough to send these over last night as he knows what a Julian House fan boy I am! There's thirteen designs in total, all of which are amazing but as these particular ones have appeared elsewhere I asked Peter if I could have permission to re post them. Thankfully, he kindly agreed. Wonderful stuff!

Saturday, September 01, 2012