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That Special Record: ADELBERT VON DEYEN – Atmosphere

I’m a bit behind at the moment and haven’t played any vinyl for 4 weeks, not a single record has been on the turntable, I’ve been all digital for 4 weeks. The reason for this neglect is that, as a family, we adopted a shit and piss machine. Said machine is the subject of the picture below:

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Don’t be fooled, he’s a menace. He calls himself Orwell and he has made it his mission to to disrupt my life in as many interesting and varied ways as possible. So not many records played, his fault. While he did arrive around Christmas time, please don’t worry, I’m a firm believer in ‘a dog is for Christmas not for life’.

He is why I have not had an opportunity to mention my vinyl subscription to ‘That Special Record’ since the beginning of December. I believe he knows this and finds it all rather amusing.

So, Decembers record from ‘That Special Record’ was ‘Atmosphere’ by Adelbert Von Deyen. As is quite common, I knew nothing about this, literally nothing, I didn’t know either he or the record existed. Bearing in mind that I do like good Tangerine Dream (I emphasise good because not all of it is) and have referred to them positively here several times in the past, this album is a logical choice to send to me, and I do rather like it.

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Tracklist

A1 Time Machine
A2 Silverrain
Atmosphere Part I
A3a Sunrise
A3b Altitude Flight
A3c Astralis
Atmosphere Part II
Ba Skywards
Bb Spaces Of Infinity
Bc Crystal Clouds
Bd Voices Of Infinity
Be Dawn

Further Info:

  • Remixed At – Star Studio Hamburg
  • Mastered At – Star Studio Hamburg
  • Recorded At – Studio Norgaard

Credits

  • Composed By, Performer [Played By], Recorded By, Arranged By, Mixed By, Producer, Liner Notes, Design, Keyboards, Synthesizer – Adelbert Von Deyen
  • Drums – Wolfgang Zabba Lindner (tracks: A1, A2)
  • Mixed By [Remixed], Mastered By – Lars Hidde
  • Painting [Cover] – Urs Amann

Notes

  • Recorded August 1979 to June 1980 at Studio Norgaard.
    Remixed and mastered at Star-Studio, Hamburg.
    Originally released 1980 on sky041
    (P) + (C) 2016 bureau B under exclusive license from sky records

From what I’ve read this is regarded as Von Deyen’s best work by many, and yes, while it is very reminiscent of Tangerine Dream that does not mean it is a second rate copy. It stands up well in it’s own right although, personally, I do think it tails off a little and I prefer side A to Side B.

Here is a classic synths on the beach image of Adelbert which was a requirement back in the late 70’s/early 80’s to have any credibility at all.

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I’m sure that there are people out there who will throw around terms like ‘Classic’ regarding this album, but I think you had to be there listening to it at the time to feel that way, the best I have to offer really is, I like it.

 

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This is Johnny Cash

I recently bought a job lot of 30 soundtracks for next to nothing, there were only 4 or 5 that I was actually interested in so I have 25 that will probably never get played, or no more than once anyway. Amongst the 30 was this:

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It’s André Kostelanetz And His Orchestra ‎– Grand Canyon Suite, which is a very good listen actually, but what is rathe rodd about it is over 11 minutes of Johnny Cash explaining how they got the sound effects for the Grand Canyon Suite, about taking mules into the canyon bottom and setting up recording equipment and such like. It’s really rather odd, but I know this, Cash should have read ‘The Gruffalo’, it would have been amazing.

I found the suite, so you can listen to that if you like, the Cash bit isn’t included though, which is a shame:

Found it on Youtube:

I’ll get around to the others another time, this just struck me as rather odd.

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Gala Drop – II

The Electronic/Dance section of my local record store is probably my favourite.It’s not a big section but every month or so a super cheap album by somebody I’ve never heard of will appear there and decisions will then have to be made. I’ve sometimes just bought them, sometimes streamed a bit of it to see what it is like and sometimes left it there, though sometimes I’ve picked it up weeks later anyway.

With the price of new vinyl releases being in the £15-£30 range one has to be as frugal as possible, of course some releases are must haves and so you have to pay what’s asked if you want it, but one of the great joys for me in music is discovering new things, so when I see an album with a cover I like, by an artist I’ve never heard of in the Dance/Electronic section priced at £4.00, well, I’m probably going to give it a go. This was the case with ‘II’ by ‘Gala Drop’. I had no idea what it sounded like as I couldn’t get any phone reception to stream a bit of it and took a chance on it, and I’m so glad I did.

Before I say any more, why not press play below and have a listen for yourself:

In the couple of weeks since I bought it I must have played this album 20 or more times now, vinyl and streaming combined that is, and hear things in it that were quite possibly not meant to be there but serve as bookmarks to me of what I’m hearing. I’ll explain, while it is classified as Electronic, Rock, Funk / Soul, I hear Dub, Disco, Dance hall and, most oddly perhaps, Prog Rock, the latter being long passages that remind me of King Crimson. There’s also Space Rock, Psyche and Acid Jazz, I know, it’s an odd mish mash but somehow it really works.

Gala Drop are from Lisboa, Portugal, where the album was recorded and mixed. They are:

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Afonso Simões: Drums, Percussion and Synthesizers
Guilherme Gonçalves: Electric Guitar and Synthesizer
Jerry the Cat: Congas and Vocals
Nelson Gomes: Drum Machine and Synthesizers
Rui Dâmaso: Electric Bass

Tracklist

A1 You And I
A2 Big City
A3 Sun Gun
A4 Monad
B1 All Things
B2 Slow House
B3 Let It Go
B4 Samba Da Maconha

You may have heard of American ex-pat and veteran of the Detroit music scene Jerry The Cat who has worked everyone from Funkadelic and Parliament to Derrick May and Theo Parrish. He sings on the majority of the tracks and some of the tracks which could have turned out to just being elongated jams have more cohesion to them as a result of his contribution.

I think this album was a bargain for what I paid for it and there’s something I am unable to describe about it that strikes a chord with me, perhaps the nostalgic air of the influences I hear, perhaps not, but I do know that I like it, a lot.

 

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The Listening List

22/12/2016 – 30/12/2016
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P.I.L – Live In Tokyo
Craig Armstrong – It’s Nearly Tomorrow
Adelbert Von Deyen – Atmosphere
Glitterbug – Dust
Max Richter – Sleep Remixes
Can – 
Ege Bamyasi
Deacon Blue – Fellow Hoodlums
Funkstörung – Funkstörung
To Rococo Rot – The Amateur View
Milan W. – Intact
The Cult – Sonic Temple
Björk ‎– The Music From Matthew Barney’s Drawing Restraint 9
Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein – Stranger Things Volume 1
Four Tet – Pause
Gala Drop – II

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Matthew Bourne – Moogmemory

A couple of weeks ago I was rooting around in the smallest vinyl section in my local store, ‘Classical’, when I saw this front cover:

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This was intriguing as it seemed rather out of place. I was feeling quite adventurous and so, without researching it or listening to any of it, I bought it. The first thing to say about it is that it doesn’t belong in the Classical section at all, at least I don’t think so, it’s more Ambient Electronic I would think but I suppose I can see why they put it there, there isn’t an ambient section of any kind and the Electronic section is Dance/Electronic, so it doesn’t go there. No matter, it’s not there anymore, it’s on my turntable.

Here it is, from Bandcamp where it appears the vinyl is sold out but CD’s are still available:

Having never heard of Matthew Bourne I did a bit of digging around and ended up back at the Bandcamp page as Graham Massey of 808 State says pretty much everything I could have said but better:

“Moog is a regal breed of synthesisers that are slightly untamable, which is why we (musicians) love them. Always on the edge of boiling over; taming one’s Minimoog was like riding a wild mustang, and bringing it to heel. When the polyphonic Moog Memorymoog first appeared in 1982, it was like having a team of six mustangs pulling a stage coach, its power was thrilling, and everybody had better get off the road to let it through…

“Its name was derived from the Apollo-era, onboard computer memory needed to save patches – once one had laboured with its 18 oscillators, modulation possibilities, and the gorgeous ‘Mooginess’ that lives within its filter circuits. The sheer amount of electronics under the hood of a Memorymoog made it literally pump out hot air; making her prone to pit stops and custom updates as the years went by.

“I first met Matthew Bourne, a prodigious improvising pianist, who was fascinating to watch as he took that conventional instrument ‘off road’ in an emotional sweat. Post-gig, and still wild-eyed, he made a beeline for me, having heard that I also owned a Memorymoog. Matt was keen to compare notes, and to discuss the fact that he was having the Lintronics Advanced Memorymoog (LAMM) conversion done to his (this is the Memorymoog equivalent of open heart surgery, which replaces 1,300 components over eight weeks of bench time, costing as much as a new machine). I immediately thought that Matt was insane. Some years later, moogmemory is Matt’s paean to this living, breathing machine. No other instruments are used on the album, and its capabilities are drawn out by this extremely empathetic musician: beautiful, brooding landscapes of thick impasto to translucent sunbursts; Dr. Bob would be proud!”

I’ve listened to the album several times now and the more I listen the more I like it and will probably have to take a look at another piece of his that I read about which is a celebration of Radio-Activity by Kraftwerk, which is all I read about it but it sounds worth investigating.

Vinyl Tracklist (There are a couple more tracks on the CD)

A1 Somewhere I Have Never Travelled (For Coral Evans)
A2 Nils
A3 Horn & Vellum
B1 Alex
B2 Sam
B3 Andrew
B4 Danizie
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The Listening List

11/12/2016 – 21/12/2016

Milan W. – Intact
Antonio Carlos Jobim – Wave
William Basinski – 92982
Gala Drop – II
Naytronix – Mister Divine
Matthew Bourne – Moogmemory
Anstam – Names
Swans – The Glowing Man
Baumann / Koek – Baumann / Koek
Nick Drake – Five Leaves Left
Harmonia & Eno 76 – Tracks and Traces
The Beatles – Rubber Soul
The Cult – Dreamtime
The Cult – Love
The Cult – Electric
Svjatoslav Richter – Rachmaninoff, Klavierkonzert Nr. 2 In C-moll · Piano-Concerto No. 2 In C Minor – 6 Preludes
Roots Manuva – Slime & Reason
The Police – Outlandos D’amour
Sufjan Stevens – Illinoise

 

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William Basinski – 92982

wbasinskThe first time I ever heard anything by William Basinski was back somewhere around the turn of the century when my  then new friend Andy told me about ‘The Disintegration Loops’.

Even further back, in the 1980s, Basinski constructed a series of tape loops consisting of processed snatches of music captured from an easy listening station. Jumping back to 2001 he was going through his archives and decided to digitise the old tape loops to preserve them. As he did this he realised that the tape was slowly decaying as it played. The magnetised metal coating was disappearing, and the music was decaying slightly with each pass.

The September 11th attacks occurred not long after he had digitised the loops and from the roof of his space in Brooklyn, he put a video camera on a tripod and captured the final hour of daylight on that day, pointing the camera at a smouldering lower Manhattan. The next day he played one of his newly digitised loops and listened to it while watching the footage and so ‘The Disintegration Loops’ were born. I would love a vinyl copy but it is prohibitively expensive for the 9 LP box set at around £260, if you can find one. You never know though, one of these days I may manage to get one.

‘92982’ was recorded in 1982 and eventually released in 2009 on CD via Basinski’s own 2062 label and in August of this year became available on vinyl for the first time. The album has been remastered from the original master tapes, pressed onto audiophile-quality 100% virgin black vinyl, and packaged in a die-cut sleeve. Everywhere I’ve seen this album, and on a sticker on the album itself, it says ‘featuring previously unpublished artwork and photographs from 1982’, well, no. There are no photographs in my sleeve anywhere, there’s artwork, which has been photographs for the purposes of turning it into an inner sleeve, but that doesn’t mean there is Artwork and Photographs. Perhaps img_4234something was missing from my copy.

I’ve been listening to this album through headphones via Apple Music on my phone for the last couple of days and I really liked it, however, tonight was the first opportunity since it arrived yesterday that I’ve had to put the vinyl on the turntable and listen properly. What a difference! MP3 compression does not serve this album well at all. Listening to it this evening was such a richer experience, every pop, wrinkle and crackle was audible, and it was a much fuller sound.

‘92982’ is constructed in a similar way to the aforementioned ‘The Disintegration Loops’, with only two instruments noted on the sleeve, Tape Loops and Piano. The album is named for the date it was created, in US format, which is wrong (no, really, it is), and I’m tempted to call it 29982 for the sake of correctness. If you were looking for a good entry point into the work of Basinski’s back catalogue, and who knows, you might be, then this is a good one. Where many of his releases have tracks that are an hour long these are each one side of a vinyl LP which makes them a little more accessible. It sits very much in the ‘Ambient’ category and, whilst repetitive in the extreme, when something new happens it is so much more noticeable and it is, in some ways, the replacement for what a listener would expect to hear in a normally structured song (whatever that is), such as in the second track, 92982.2 where we hear sirens and helicopters, it adds a point of interest to this 23 minute track, an urban sensibility amongst the melancholy.

What is, for me, most interesting about this album from tonight’s listening is twofold, the first is that as I drift of somewhere I find myself disappointed when the needle hits the run out and I have to turn the record over, even though I’ve been sat here for ages doing absolutely nothing but stare into space. The second is that at that point, I realise that for the majority of that time my mind has calmed and that wherever it has journeyed to, it was happy there.

This album would have been in my best of 2016 if I’d heard it before I wrote the list, I may well go back and slip it in there when nobody is looking.The whole thing is available to listen to below but it really is better on vinyl:

Tracklist

A 92982.1 12:54
B 92982.2 22:45
C 92982.4 20:00
D 92982.3 7:07