Music is a spectrum of sound. And listening to it should reflect that. The purpose of this music blog is to mix styles, eras, artists, and popularities to the point of unpredictability. Then one can just enjoy music as sound - and to listen with an open mind...
Songs of the week!
So Uriel is the proto-progressive band (often misnamed as Arzachel), that spawned guitarist Steve Hillage, and the group Egg (which WAS a progressive band, ha). Their one album is considered a UK psychedelic classic (especially with the 16+ minute "Metempsychosis"), and the group was a precursor to the 'Canterbury' scene. This track is basically a cover to the theme of a UK late-60s TV show (composed by Keith Mansfield), but arranged for a four-piece. A nice beat starts out the track, and the highly hummable melody follows. You can hear Hillage comping along with his guitar. But the obvious focus is on Dave Stewart's piercing organ. I appreciate the fact that group is leaning more towards the 'sound' rather than the notes. The soloing is more in the laid back, and letting the rhythm have some space to breathe.
Song : "Soul Thing (Theme From 'Queen Street Gang') by Uriel
From the LP "ARZACHEL" Jun. 1969
Dave Stewart : organ
Mont Campbell : bass
Clive Brooks : drums
Steve Hillage : guitar
This is the only collaboration between John Cale (from the Velvet Underground) and Terry Riley (minimalist composer). Always felt to be a unsatisfying meeting of the minds between the two artists, the result is in retrospect strangely satisfying. The album consists of two long tracks, two short tracks, and one semi-poppy vocal track, but there is an unusual balance within the music. This is the first (and title) track to the album, beginning with an (almost) funky bassline. When the drums kick in, there is a busy repetitive keyboard riff. The main point of this jam is to put the listener into a trance-like state as every bar gets slightly more complex than the last. One more synth, one more drone, one more notch on the volume knob, and finally Riley's saxophone noodles its way into your brain. Both artists were familar with avant-garde and the subtlety in repetition, and this song presents it in a more accessible 'rock' context. Shades of prog-rock, Eastern, and even jazz can make the piece more rewarding as you peel the layers away. Roll 'em if you got 'em...
Song : "Church Of Anthrax" by John Cale And Terry Riley
From the LP "CHURCH OF ANTHRAX" (Columbia) Feb. 10, 1971
LINEUP: John Cale : keyboards, bass guitar, harpsichord, piano, guitar, viola, organ Terry Riley : piano, organ, saxophone Bobby Columby : drums
This has to be one of the most emotionally 'challenging' song by the rediscovered Rodriguez, and part of a great vignette on the "Searching For Sugar Man" documentary. Starting with an almost demo-like quality to his acoustic guitar, his strong voice then hits you with depressing lyric after lyric. The sweet string section enters around 0:54, and intersperses with Rodriguez' chords and words for 5+ minutes...
Cause I lost my job two weeks before Christmas And I talked to Jesus at the sewer And the Pope said it was none of his God-damned business
While the rain drank champagne My Estonian Archangel came and got me wasted Cause the sweetest kiss I ever got is the one I've never tasted
Oh but they'll take their bonus pay to Molly McDonald, Neon ladies, beauty is that which obeys, is bought or borrowed
Cause my heart's become a crooked hotel full of rumours But it's I who pays the rent for these fingered-face out-of-tuners
And I make 16 solid half hour friendships every evening Cause your queen of hearts who is half a stone And likes to laugh alone is always threatening you with leaving
Oh but they play those token games on Willy Thompson And give a medal to replace the son of Mrs. Annie Johnson
Cause they told me everybody's got to pay their dues And I explained that I had overpaid them So overdued I went to the company store and the clerk there said that they had just been invaded
So I set sail in a teardrop and escaped beneath the doorsill Cause the smell of her perfume echoes in my head still
Cause I see my people trying to drown the sun In weekends of whiskey sours Cause how many times can you wake up in this comic book and plant flowers?
Song: "Cause" by Rodriguez
From the LP "COMING FROM REALITY" [Sussex] Nov. 1971
Rodriguez : guitar, vocals
Jimmy Horowitz : arrangement
So this is the last studio track by Weather Report featuring Jaco Pastorius on bass (that's him yelling at 0:33 of the song). He was working on his burgeoning solo career with his Word Of Mouth band, and touring conflicts forced them to part ways. Also out of the band after this was drummer Peter Erskine, who had committed to the group Steps Ahead. Thus, ended the classic lineup of the group. The pulse of this track is a continuation of Part One (earlier on the album), and essentially a long groove with various sections coming in and out throughout; but make no mistake, many parts are almost entirely thought out. The bass line at 1:03 establishes the main figure, and you can hear each instrument taking their jabs at the piece. By 3:16, the main keyboard chords are established that rides out the the piece.
Song : "Dara Factor Two" by Weather Report
From the LP "Weather Report" (Columbia) Jan. 1982
Wayne Shorter : saxophone
Joe Zawinul : keyboards, percussion
Jaco Pastorius : bass, percussion, voice
Peter Erskine: drums, drum computer
Robert Thomas, Jr.: hand drums, percussion
The Mackrosoft is a jazz-funk collective headed by musician Aja West (Alexander Vallette Cheever). Originally from a hip-hop background, he quickly began churning out album after album of groovy music, utilizing various artists from the jazz & hip-hop community. On this album, he enlisted none other than drummer Mike Clark (from HEADHUNTERS fame!). This track is propelled by a classic funk beat, with bass & electronic piano stabs. More synth and marimba fill out the sound. And about halfway through the track, horns start adding their part, with a trombone & piano competing for solos.
This UK quartet boasted a band WITHOUT a guitar player (I guess in the 70s, that was a novelty). The group usually compensated with an distorted Deep Purple-like organ. In comparison, this track is piano-driven (compared to their usual heavy organ), with laid-back melodic vocals. The bass & drums keep the tempo moving throughout.
Song : "Very Nice Of You To Call" by Aardvark
From the LP "Aardvark" (Deram) 1970
LINEUP : Dave Skillen : vocals Steve Milliner : piano Stan Aldous : bass Frank Clark : percussion Link in title.
Jamaican jazz pianist Monty Alexander has been playing & recording since the '60s and is still going strong. He originally honed his chops playing behind Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, and the like. But throughout the 60s, 70s, to the present has been releasing some quality albums. This track is from his first LP recorded for the great MPS label. A fast-paced Latin-jazz trio piece, it gives a kinetic energy and pulse throughout. A nice crisp production, you can hear Alexander humming along with his piano lines.