Recent advertiser's announcement from Summerfield Brothers, the UK distributors of Ibanez guitars.
DAVID Bowie plays his first dates in Britain since the 1976 Station To Station tour during June and July. Musicians for the tour include three regulars - bassist George Murray, drummer Denis Davis and guitarist Carlos Alomar - plus four new members: ex-Hawkwind violinist Simon House, Sean Mayes from Fumble on keyboards, Roger Powell from Todd Rundgren's Utopia on synthesiser and Adrian Belew on lead guitar, who readers may remember from the recent Zappa tour. British dates: June 14, 15, 16 — Newcastle City Hall; June 19, 20, 21, 22 — Glasgow Apollo; June 24, 25, 26 — Stafford Bingley Hall; June 29, 30, July 1 — London Earl's Court.
THE sponsors of the Vitavox Live Sound Award have decided to change the dates of the next Award competition, so that the finals are held in the early part of the year rather than the end (as was the case with the last Award, in December '77).
As a result the next finals will not occur until Spring 1979, partly because Vitavox don't want to have another one so close to '77, and because the company's industrial commitments (particularly in the 'defence' field, we gather) would complicate matters.
Arrangements for the Third Award will be made over a nine-month period; full details will emerge later in the year.
Meanwhile, the '77 winners, 'New Wave' band Screeens, from Leamington Spa, England, are on the road with their brand new Vitavox Thunderbolt horn-loaded speaker systems — their prize for winning the competition.
The Thunderbolts consist of a 15in cone bass driver with phase-correcting throat design, S3 pressure driver, 4-cell dispersive horn and heavy crossover network. They're built into sturdy ¾in plywood cabs.
SO what do Frank Zappa's Ovation and Gilbert O'Sullivan's boudoir piano have in common? They both have the honour of being enclosed, in transit, in a Cripple Creek case. C.C. are now based in the Chiswick area of West London after a recent move from sunny Richmond, and make very reasonably priced flight-cases for everything musical.
A heavy-duty series Cripple Creek case will withstand even the least dextrous roadie's attempts to render its contents immobile — and the cases we looked at seemed good value for money. A couple of examples: a Strat flight-case for £62.50; for a Fender Twin £80.50; for a Soundcraft 16/4 mixer £93.50. Oddities prove no obstacle for C.C.'s handiwork - a Zemaitis twin-neck, Suzi Quatro's Alembic bass and a trumpet/trom-bone travelling pair have been recent victims of Cripple Creek encasement. Cripple Creek Case Company, (Contact Details).
OBSCURE Records, Brian Eno's label for experimental music, are now available through Polydor Records, the previous arrangement with Island Records having ceased.
There are eight records currently available, of which Brian says: "These are experimental albums and people might not know what kind of music this is - it can be a risk for the listener." Risky — but rewarding — listening is available from: Gavin Bryars, The Sinking Of The Titanic (OBS 1); Christopher Hobbs/John Adams/Gavin Bryars, Ensemble Pieces (OBS 2); Brian Eno, Discreet Music (OBS 3); David Toop/Max Eastley, New and Rediscovered Musical Instruments (OBS 4); Jan Steele/John Cage, Voices And Instruments (OBS 5); Michael Nyman, Decay Music (OBS 6); Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Music From The Penguin Cafe (OBS 7); Harold Budd, Pavilion Of Dreams (OBS 10).
We'll be looking at these recordings in more depth in a later issue — in the meantime, take a risk.
SPIRIT materialised in England in the form of Randy California, Ed Cassidy and Larry Knight at the beginning of March after some hastily set-up gigs had been arranged through Miles Copeland's Frontier Artistes - the first time that the group had played on these shores since 1973. Apparently the band were in Germany and rang Frontier to say they'd like to come to England on the way back to the States, and three gigs at Essex University, London's Rainbow Theatre and the Locarno Bristol were frenziedly put together.
It seems that Spirit and Copeland are to form a new label, since Mercury parted company with the band last year soon after the severely under-rated Future Games album failed to sell like even warm cakes. First release on the label seems likely to be a live recording of the previously mentioned Rainbow gig, though as we went to press Randy was experiencing a little trouble with the guitar sound on the tapes. It seems he had three stacks of two cabinets each - the outer two pairs of which had diagonally opposite matching sounds, one pair straight sound, the other pair Echoplex guitar. 'I had the microphones set right first,' explained Randy, 'but then our road guy just said, "Those are wrong," and I was off somewhere and I didn't hear it that clearly. So I'm really afraid that all we have is two tracks of the Echoplex guitar.'
Work continues on the tapes with Martin Birch producing, and Randy felt confident that Martin would be able to perform some kind of eq-ing miracle to suck the straight guitar sound out - but if the worse comes to the worse then the guitar parts will be re-recorded. Songs performed at the Rainbow included various tracks from The 12 Dreams of Doctor Sardonicus album, including Mr Skin, Nature's Way and Animal Zoo; Like a Rolling Stone and Hey Joe from Spirit of 76, and even a version of 1984 from the unreleased Potatoland project.
Spirit aficionados could probably predict a summer release date for the live recording if all goes well; in the meantime they should note that a full interview with Randy California follows in the next issue of Sound International.
BRITISH band No Dice were involved in a serious road accident on the way to a gig at the Metro Club, Plymouth in mid-March. The group's minibus was badly damaged, but everyone managed to escape with minor injuries. Steve Shannon, chief roadie, was driving and had to have fourteen stitches in a gash on his head. The band are currently touring America unabashed, and opened in Salt Lake City on April 3rd.
THE names Parasound and Bernie Krause may mean a lot of different things to different people. Engineers may know of Orban Parasound, (Contact Details) as the manufacturers of a fine range of equalisers and effects units. Musicians and others may remember Bernie's partnership with the late Paul Beaver, and the string of brilliant albums, Ragnarok, In a Wild Sanctuary, Gandharva, and All Good Men, to name but five, produced by these purveyors of Masterful Moog Music.
What is not generally known, however, is that another album exists, in tape form at least. Entitled Citadels of Mystery, this album, conceived by Beaver & Krause but produced by Bernie after the untimely death of Paul Beaver in early 1975, was commissioned by Chrysalis Records in the States (we believe), and lies today hidden in a dark corner of their tape store, forgotten by all. Why, we ask ourselves, has this album been left to grow mould on its spools?
The answer is simple, but sad. Those of us who know and love the partnership's previous albums remember the subtle, atmospheric synthesiser pieces that characterised Beaver and Krause's work in the past. The new album has little in common with these earlier works: it is complex, rhythmic jazz-rock, immaculately produced and engineered, with subtle, impressive use of synthesised instrumentation backing conventional sounds. Presumably Chrysalis expected another album along the lines of All Good Men, or something. Regrettably, they neglected to consider the fact that All Good Musicians have a disconcerting tendency to develop their work. Music must advance, and an artist who stays in the same place, whilst no doubt selling as well as before, can only stagnate if he/she doesn't have new ideas and put them into practice.
The title of the album, Citadels of Mystery, relates to a book of the same name by L. Sprague de Camp. I found the book pretty uninteresting myself, a number of 'de-mysticising' items on a lot of parts of the world that deserved a more sympathetic treatment. Items of this nature are best left to the John Michells of this world, rather than to SF writers and archaeologists who can only accept things if they're suitably materialistic. Still, it's a good cue for an album.
Keyed in for the liner notes by Bernie is a piece by Dr. Loren Eisley, from The Invisible Pyramid, whose vision far outstrips de Camp: 'The long trail of Halley's Comet, once more returning, will pass like a ghostly matchflame over the unwatched grave of the cities. This has always been their end, whether in the snow or in the wind...' Krause has chosen to portray several mysterious remains of man's endeavour: Machu Picchu, hidden high in the Andes, ransacked Inca stronghold raped by the Spanish invaders; Zimbabwe, legendary site of King Solomon's Mines in SE Africa; the Citadel in Haiti, location of the first successful black revolt in the Western Hemisphere in 1803; Stonehenge, mysterious megalithic monument on Salisbury Plain, England, to this day unexplained by archaeologists, but understood by ley-men and mystics... all human magic and mystery is here, admirably performed by a group of top-flight musicians who know exactly what they're doing. Side one, the Machu Picchu Suite, explores Latin rhythms to the full, with excellent use of synthesiser lead lines, acoustic guitar and percussion. Side two explores the hidden reaches of Zimbabwe in Jambo, Jambo (a greeting in the Masai tongue). Next, Stonehenge: A Mid-Summer's Day Dream, is about the only piece which resembles the old B & K style: a soft, atmospheric piece featuring Andy Narell on piano. The album is rounded off by Voodoo chants in Citadel, Ay Bobo, culminating in the best steel drum piece I've ever heard. A brilliant album.
Yet Chrysalis don't like it. Why? One can only presume that they dislike it because it wasn't what they expected. They wanted an album that sounded like the last one, we imagine. And when Bernie didn't turn up with the goods, they turned it down, but not before they had spent $27,000 themselves, and allowed Parasound to put in $5,000 of their own. As Bernie says, 'no one has had the vision'. What we'd like to know is why Chrysalis don't want to release it (it may not be mainstream rock but it should certainly cover its costs) and why no-one else has picked it up. The answer to the latter is almost certainly the fact that few people know that it exists.
So come on, all you sensible record labels, ye ECMs and ye Creed Taylors. Come and buy this brilliant album and get it out into the world, where it belongs. Come all ye who value good music and can cope with a bit of originality, instead of the banal rubbish that assaults our ears every day on the radio. Get in touch with Bernie at Parasound, (Contact Details).
Paul Beaver at least deserves a memorial, and this album is surely it. We await the ultimate demonstration of your good taste in saving this recording from the everlasting darkness of the tape-store.
Regrettably this is not the only album to suffer such a fate. Martin Briley, ex-Greenslade, produced an album in late '76. Island Music are sitting on it. It requires a few hours remix to become a top-selling album. Everybody who has heard the rough mixes loves it. Yet still it remains hidden. And why isn't Jade Warrior's latest album available in the UK? Kites hit the US charts, but is it out in Britain? No. The Third Ear Band produced a Last Album before they split, New Horizons. It was the best LP they made, but Blackhill couldn't pay the bills. It resides in the basement of Basing Street Studios in London; why? Can no-one afford to release it? And all this is without even considering the Hendrix tapes, hidden in the tape store at Olympic... but I suppose that's a 'special case'. Whatever the reasoning behind these inactions, 'suppressed creativity' is an understatement.
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