Monday, June 14, 2010

Pitch: What Am I Gonna Do For Fun?

This record was written up waaaaay back in 2006 on the Italians Do It Better blog/website, but I don't think the music was ever shared. Their post explains the origins of the record and the personnel involved. The most "fun fact" about the musicians involved is that Marc Center more or less developed Macromedia (some company that released an obscure and probably unused program called "Flash"), and programmed the first licensed music for a video game (the Peter Gunn theme in Spyhunter!).
When I found this record, I didn't know what to expect - it had a nice DIY silkscreened sleeve, "synthetizers" listed as the main instruments, and a guest horn section on the B-side. The B-side is indeed a bit of a loungy number somewhere between synthpop, funk, and lounge music. In actuality, it fits pretty well with the NY no wave scene (think Elliot Sharpe and the more brass-oriented bands he was in).
The A side is the winner here, and is one of the unknown minimal synth gems that occasionally pops up out of nowhere. With completely blasse, vaguely foreign, and occasionally delay-effected spoken female vocals, random samples, a gurgling dublike synth bassline, and lazy synthesizer melodies, this sounds like a contemplative Young marble Giants during a heroin-induced trance. And I mean that in the best way possible.

Pitch: What Am I Gonna Do For Fun? 12"
1982, self-released
A: What Am I Gonna Do For Fun?
B: It's a Quest

Various Artists: Paris Mix LP

After seeing the posts of Ice's sole EP and Guernica's split LP , I decided to share a very sought-after French coldwave compilation that both of those bands were featured on. This LP, called Paris Mix, was released in 1982 on the Zeb Records label in France. As far as I know, this was the only release on that label, and only 2000 copies of this record were pressed.
The record is split between coldwave and punk tendencies. The aforementioned bands both have strong contributions on this record - Ice has an exclusive (at the time) version of their cold synth classic La Grande Guerre, and Guernica have two incredible coldwave songs that sound very similar to Charles de Goal. I particularly LOVE the three songs from Zona, a female-fronted post punk band that sounds like a mix of Au Pairs, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Charles de Goal. I can't find much info on them, although I vaguely remember them having one other release. Any more material from Zona would be greatly appreciated!
Those artists make up side one. Side two starts off more punk-ish, with a trio of songs from Peggy Luxbeurk. They are the perfect transition between the two different sides, as the last five songs on the second side are rounded out by Swingo Porkies and Prop Sack, who are both straight-ahead punk.
The sheer amount of incredible material on this record make it one of those albums that can truly be called "legendary" (or at least "classic".) My copy has a few pressing errors that cause occasional static at the start of side two, so don't be too annoyed by background noise on a couple tracks! This is well worth the download by any fan of underground French music!

Various Artists: Paris Mix LP
1982, Zeb Records
A1 Guernica - Kamikaze
A2 Guernica - Rebellion
A3 Zona - Vie Parisienne
A4 Zona - Boule Quies
A5 Zona - Citron
A6 Ice* - La Grande Guerre
B1 Peggy Luxbeurk - Sueur Froide
B2 Peggy Luxbeurk - Les Enfants De La Crasse
B3 Peggy Luxbeurk - Univers
B4 Swingo Porkies - Pas Comme On Les Voit
B5 Swingo Porkies - RĂ©solu
B6 Swingo Porkies - Un Monstre Est En Moi
B7 Prop Sack - Comme Avant
B8 Prop Sack - Aujourd'hui

RED: vinyl discography

It's often interesting to see synth and new wave musicians develop their sound and eventually find fame, from film composer Graeme Revell's humble beginnings in SPK to director Jim Jarmusch's brief musical career in Del Byzanteens. Such is also the case with Red, a band founded by German-born composer/guitarist Ottmar Liebert. Admittedly, I'd never heard of him until I picked up this pair of 7"s, but he's a "Nouveau Flamenco" guitarist with five Grammy nominations to his name. The music of Red is nothing even remotely approaching flamenco, though. With synths, drum pads and live drums, and melancholy female vocals, this is a mix of minimal synthpop, post-punk, and new wave. They apparently released a cassette as well, which, according to discogs, nobody owns (although if someone DOES have it and can rip it, I'd be quite interested!). The music on these records is a bit spotty at times, especially on their first 7", on which they crammed five songs. The second side is pretty good, though, and by the time they released their follow-up, they definitely found their footing - even though I Wish It Will Rain completely rips off the vocal pattern of The Token Man by Modern English (play them back-to-back and you'll see what I mean).
It's also worth mentioning that their debut gets bonus points for it's uber-DIYness. Individually-painted covers with taped paper designs wins every time!

Red: Walking in the Park 7"
1981, Odds on Music
A1: Walking in the Park
A2: Rooftop
A3: God Save America
B1: Red
B2: The Landed

Red: KCDY 7"
1982, Skyheaven Music
A: K.C.D.Y.
B: I Wish It Will Rain

Shockingly great music!

Shoc Corridor are one of those bands who had all the talent, the songwriting skill, the pop sensibility, and the experimentation of the heavy-hitters in the synth genre, but who just never seemed to break past cult status. Their second LP, Train of Events, is a classic combination of the cosmic and the pop veins of electropop, and their debut, Experiments in Incest, is one of the most beautiful and blissful cosmic minimal electronic monsters ever unleashed upon the world. I can listen to albums over and over and over and over and... well, let's just say I like these albums a lot. If you have not heard these yet, download them from the excellent Systems of Romance blog and treat yourself...