Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sound and Silence

Musical exploration in the classroom, directed by John Paynter and Peter Aston in 1970. Created and performed by students from several different primary schools England-wide.

Paynter's liner notes are absolutely endearing: "Band 3 Sea Tower (from Project 5) This piece grew out of an imaginative discussion about a fossilised sea-urchin which the teacher had brought into the classroom. The music is impressionistic -- the piano strings stroked gently with the fingers remind us of the ocean depths; note-clusters played on the keyboard with the flat of the hand suggest the violence of a storm. Against this backcloth recorders, glockenspiels and xylophone play melodies which represent the movement of fishes and an octopus, and the destruction of the submerged tower."

And here are some images from the accompanying book.

Something I didn't win on Ebay

I love the hype-job on this: "obscure unknown BRUCE HAACK style weird PSYCH female/male kids vocals , ultra cool synth moog psych sounds for breaks/samples diggers , from late 70s , private press." The sound clip and photo are actually pretty cool though, and it's Greek, which doesn't get mentioned but to me adds some intrigue. There's something dodgy though... It looks like the buyer's remorse could be strong with this one.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Vers L'Homme

Continuo's recent Unidisc windfall (brilliant! thanks!) reminded me of another little Unidisc morsel. Vers L'Homme is a French xian kiddie folk/pop record with a good beat. The multi-culti Leviathon figure on the cover is sort of how the music works too -- it's a baggy monster of spiritual jazz and fire-and-brimstone evangelical narration and Poppys-esque children's rock. Will try to rip the whole LP when I have time, but for now here's "Hymne à la charité."

The White Bus

A quirky Shelagh Delaney/Lindsey Anderson project from 1967. Patricia Healey hails a mysterious bus and gets caught up in an urban expedition led by full-regalia-wearing "Lord Mayor" Arthur Lowe. A very weird and beautiful film full of visual non sequiturs. Also a cool if somewhat understated score by Misha Donat. Buried in the mix there's a rhythmic musique concrete refrain where Donat (who also scored the "Crown of Glass" colour trade test film) appears to have borrowed Delia Derbyshire's green lampshade. Here's the creepy folksy lullaby that plays when Healey boards the bus.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Poison Awareness: A Resource Book for Teachers

"What is this thing? Maybe I should drink it."

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Hello! I am going to post some Estonian choral jazz folk now. Collage were a student music ensemble in the 70s who re-worked Estonian folk songs in the pop idiom. All very groovy and student-radical chic. They put out a few LPs and this is my favorite. Think of a teenage Carl Orff mistakenly double-booking a recording studio with some bossa nova session musicians. With a mountain crone on lead vocals. Enjoy.

Here's a little taster clip. This song is called "Petis Peiu"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Living at Thamesmead

My eyes nearly jumped out of their sockets today when I read the following passage from Owen Hatherley's brilliant book Militant Modernism. He's describing a scene from "Living at Thamesmead," a 1974 propaganda film directed by Jack and Charmian Saward for the Greater London Council:

"Opening with scenes of the communal lakes turned, seemingly, into Butlins, filled with frolicking children, we move onto a walk through the gigantic estate, soundtracked by a bucolic electro-acoustic ditty that demands reissue on Trunk Records. The couple can't keep their hands off each other: at one point they lie in an embrace on the playing fields. The camera closes in on the girl's red, parting lips, then dissolves. Their traversal of the concrete walkways is at every level sexualised, their fictionalised kitchen-sink romance made symbolic of the appeal of the sparkling, ex nihilo city. Inevitably, the film ends with the couple deciding to move there to raise a family..."


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Nobuhiko Obayashi

I still haven't really seen Nobuhiko Obayashi's Hausu. Looks like a must-see, but for me this probably won't happen until the Criterion DVD comes out. A few months ago it was on Youtube in its entirety, and I remember FFing my way through some of it and thinking how much it looked like a Patrick Nagel illustration come to life. In the meantime I have been enjoying some of Obayashi's earlier works on Ubuweb. WOW. "Confession" (1968) and "Emotion" (1966) are just too good. (Cool music alert.)

Also, while I'm here, what the hell happened to Creel Pone?

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Entourage Music and Theatre Ensemble

There's a certain kind of hippie commune wellness xian folk music that I really like. The Christ Tree album, Children of One, and some (well, one) Sufi Choir records are like that. Certain parts of Berkeley California are still like this. But The Entourage Theatre and Music Ensemble sets the high water mark. It's the sound of centering yourself and emerging from your teepee to join in the muesli harvest or a summer solstice initiation rite. The upstate NY and later Connecticut-based Entourage put out two records on Folkways, and they are both excellent (and the kind of thing you can find at Mutant Sounds.) I was toodling around the band's website and found some archival photos and videos of various theatre/dance collaborations, some of which have an alluring pagan witchiness to them. Behold. Check it out for yourself for more goodies, including an unreleased score commissioned in 1976 by The Royal Danish Ballet.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fishbourne Films

I've been in love with the music for Ian Hamilton's Tomorrow Come Someday for the past few years, so it was almost a dream finally seeing the film. It is the most beautiful thing. I've just watched the whole thing singing along like an idiot to all the songs. You really couldn't imagine a more perfect accompaniment to Peter Howell and John Ferdinando's score. The film, I mean, not my singing. Available as a new CD/DVD set in a record store near you.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thin Air

Woah. A booklet for Paul Rooney's 2009 Expo Leeds lecture, commissioned by Sound and Music. Promo blurb --> "Part academic lecture, part science-fiction story, Thin Air uses the remarkable legacy of ex-student Alan Smithson to excavate real and imagined histories trapped inside Leeds Metropolitan University's H Building as it faces demolition. Throughout the 1970s, Smithson undertook an extensive sonic study of H Building claiming that the recordings of distant voices he had made in its empty rooms were the remnants of the radical, eventful and tragic episodes that had taken place there." Slide close-ups here.

The Music of Eric Zann

H.P. Lovecraft tale directed by John Strysik. Part 1/Part 2

Monday, September 6, 2010

Action Beat

Improvised Piece for two xylophones and Drum composed and played by three ten year-olds, Robert Morgan, Richard Thain and Brian Nelson
Western County Primary School, Harrogate

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Ghost Dance

Amazing psychedelic sequence from Satyajit Ray's "The Adventures of Goopy and Bagha" (1968). Right through the looking-glass. (This Youtube clip offers a better view but the embedding function is disabled.)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Mailbox find

Ebay risk-buy. Worked out pretty well! A timebending electronic teach-in on Boosey & Hawkes from 1970. It's interesting how obscure soundtrackers never have names like "Dave Anderson" or "Tim Smith" but always cool ones like "Alcides Lanza" and "Emmanuel Ghent" and "Eugene Cines." I am not familiar with these names at all. They are billed on the sleeve as "The Electronic Studio" which has the resonance of some beard-scratching think tank or research group. This is a timely one as well because there are some nice Ruth White-style haunted house themes for Halloween. Sorry to hold out the candy and then take it back but clips will follow in a mix once the beginning-of-semester dust settles.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

After long day, comatose on couch perusing archival film footage on this amazing website. Loads of beautifully restored early/silent film and underground shorts. Stills above from Haro Senft's Mondtag and Sterne in Der Stadt and Walter Booth's Der Luftkrieg der Zukunft. Also a very nice print of Jeff Keen's Marvo Movie and the experimental kinetic illustrations of Margaret Tait. Mondtag (Lunar Day) is beautiful and worth checking out. Kid in red anorak wanders into forest to escape feuding parents, and the forest becomes a kind of dream screen onto which he projects his fears and feelings.