Saturday, November 14, 2009


My sole Globe Unity LP, issued on Po Torch in 1977 and a rather good one. Side one, "Jahrmarkt" was recorded in '75 and has a stellar cast that includes Evan Parker, Brotzmann, Braxton and the mighty trombone trio of Christmann, Rutherford and Mangelsdorff. It's a bit murky and clunky but, by and large, a decent semi-structured free-for-all. Still, the rewards are to be found on Side B, "Local Fair", a massive, Ivesian public performance conceived by Brotzmann featuring, in addition to GUO, a local brass and reed band (Wuppermusikanten), a Greek jazz quartet an accordion entourage whose squeezeboxes number a couple dozen. The recording is ambient, including area noise, the groups coming and going, merging and separating, free jazz, polkas, "Down by the Riverside". Excellent.


A very fascinating DG LP, I guess issued around '69 (I picked it up much later at a record fair, iirc) featuring Vinko Globokar performing a piece of his own (Discours II pour cinq trombones) as well as Berio's "Sequenza V", and works by Stockhausen and Carlos Roque Alsina (the latter otherwise unknown to me). I'd forgotten the Berio was here, having only relatively recently really gotten to listen to the entire set, spurred by Domenico Sciano's excellent recombinative release from last year. Impressive piece, as is the Stockhausen ("Solo fur Melodie-Instrument mit Ruckkopplung" (1966-67), an early (?) example of the musician being recorded, the music played back into the room after some delay, the musician commenting on it, etc. Here, much of the "commentary" comes from five people playing tape recordings of a section from "Hymnen". Very rich piece. Lot of meat in this recording, worth going back into often.


Along with Material and the Love of Life Orchestra, the Palominos (originally head by Anton Fier and Laswell, soon run pretty much by Fier) were one of the groups that forced me to re-evaluate my opinions on the viability of rock-oriented music in the early 80s, which I'd all but abandoned. I remember running across this in the jazz outlet of J&R, back when it was a small place on Nassau St., around '83. I knew most of the names, having heard Frith & Tacuma of course, but also having encountered Zorn, Laswell and Lindsay (in DNA) here and there. Most humorously, for me, was the presence on one track of Roger Trilling (credited with "Records"), who I knew a bit at Vassar in the early 70s (if you've self-googled, Hi Roger!). How could I resist? I forget if I'd already owned Zorn's "Locus Solus" at this point (right around the same time) but even so, this sounded entirely new and exciting to me. Still does! Trying to think of what else sounded like this; can't really come up with anything. That heavy, "tribal" kind of rhythm, maybe Martin Bisi or early Sharp, but this packs such a surge. Laswell and Tacuma are fantastic here, huge sound. Really holds up superbly.


Ok, I understand my credentials as arbiter of all things rock might come into question in some quarters, but damned if this isn't a great, relatively straight ahead rock album. Every track is utterly solid, fine melodies, strong, strong playing. Some, like "The Animal Speaks", featuring John Lydon, are as powerful a rock song as I know, so much better than anything in the quasi-same ballpark of which I'm aware. Even Michael Stipe sounds great! The slightly softer pieces on Side 2 (with fine Jack Bruce on "Silver Bullet") point the way to the next album but are far, far superior. Excellent sound, too.


Talk about falling off a cliff. Most of the same personnel, gears shifted almost entirely to MOR status, everything laced with saccharine. Objectively, I guess it's no worse than any dozen other things of its kind released around '87 but comparatively, this is a major step backward; I only retain it for historical purposes! :-) This was the last LP of theirs I bought. I think it was two or three years before their next, which came out on disc. I kept up with them though I thought their output was spotty. Fier navigated through a few different areas, including drone-y Laswelliana though their last (?) one, "Dead Inside" (1996) a collaboration with poet Nicole Blackman, has several very strong tracks, "Victim", a first person narrative of a kidnapping and murder, is one of the most chilling pieces I've ever heard.

11 comments:

Jesse said...

Approximately how much vinyl do you own,Brian?
Trying to calculate/speculate if I might live long enough to reach Z with you.

Brian Olewnick said...

About 1,000. It's taken me, what three years to get to the G's? Should reach the Z's in five or so.

Jesse said...

I sold about 350 ten years ago, have retained around 800. I have considered a similar systematic listen through, but instead pull vinyl from the crates randomly.

Brian Olewnick said...

What a bizarre notion! :-)

I can recall doing play-throughs back maybe in high school, around about the time my collection might have numbered 50-60 albums. I felt "guilty" at likely not having listened to a given record for extended periods and figured this was a good way to counter that.

I did, shockingly, develop a geeky randomizing method that I used once in a while: I'd pick a record and, after having listened, I'd total up the digits of its catalog number and advance that many places down the row of spines. If I happened to land on the same album the next time around (and hadn't bought any in the interim that fell alpha-chronologically between it and the next one), I'd simply do a +1.

Jesse said...

That's Rainman-y.

Brian Olewnick said...

You say that like it's a bad thing.

simon reynell said...

I totally covet your Deutsche Grammophon Globokar disc, Brian. I bought most of that series, but somehow didn't get that one & had forgotten of its existence. Would love to hear it.

As a student I sometimes used to roll dice and/or toss coins to determine what record to play next, perhaps as a kind of homage to Cage who was already a bit of a hero for me. At that time I had about 100 LP's, so it wasn't too time-consuming, and it did bring up some interesting juxtapositions.

But I hardly ever play any of my 600 or so LP's now, having transferred the half of my collection that I was most interested in to cdr a few years ago. The others are kind of vaguely waiting for me to have time to do some more transfers, but I suspect I'll pop my clogs before getting round to most of them.

Anonymous said...

Always dug Palominos,the most,man.I hope you have Love Tractor's,'Around The Bend'.Krazy Kool!

Bill

Mark Forman said...

Glad you dug on the Palominos which really showcases the ethic of Bill Laswell throwing together musicians of disparate backgrounds and stepping back to listen to the chemistry. Welcome relief from that "free jazz" stuff you seem to love. Pun totally intended.

arraymusic said...

Was that Local Fair piece Brotzmann's idea? I seem to recall somewhere reading that it was Kowald's, but I'm not sure...

Brian Olewnick said...

You're correct, just checked the sleeve, both pieces by Kowald. not sure where I go the notion that one was Brotz'.