Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Fly Assassin and Visionary Appalachian Ragas

I've been listening to Jean-Claude Vannier's 1972 album L'Enfant Assassin Des Mouches [B-Music/FindersKeepers] which has been on my to-buy list for awhile. I finally took the plunge on this edition as it features a video of a live performance from an Yves Saint Laurent fashion show circa 1971 (!). One of the reason that the late 60's/early 70's are such an interesting time for music is that so many seemed willing to mix every possible style of music and instrument into a single lp, today it's all so flat. I put it down to the pernicious influence of focus groups, narrowcasting and that mindset (I sound like an old codger I know). Anyway back to Vannier: fantastic stuff. Bits that suggest Krautrock or Musique Concret or sitting-at-a-sidewalk-cafe accordion music or groovy Yves Saint Laurent fashion show music circa 1971.

Currently playing is Henry Flynt's Ascent to the Sun [Recorded]. I'm still assimilating this one but I can tell you that it was recorded in 2004 which means that Henry has returned to music production. That is a good thing.

You can file the disc next to C Tune and Purified by the Fire as it contains a single 40+ minute track, but Ascent is more challenging and somewhat harsher sounding. This may be due to the fact that C.C. Hennix's tamboura isn't present so that comfortable drone is absent and what is left is the voices of Flynt's multitracked violin. It's enough.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

The Fantastic Voyage of Goblin

Goblin came to my attention when I first saw George A Romero's Dawn of the Dead in the theatre. It must have been 1978 when my friend Jim and I headed from the suburbs into the city to see what we hoped would be an extremely cool film. After all, the script excerpt that was published in Heavy Metal looked more than promising. What can I say, Romero delivered with his story of survivors taking refuge in a shopping mall from the mass zombie uprising. Then there was the attacking Biker gang. Yes, there was something for everyone.

It didn't take long for me to order a copy of the soundtrack on Varese Sarabande and that LP has remained one of my prized possessions. When I came across a copy of Goblin's score for Dario Argento's Suspiria, buying it was a no-brainer. This soundtrack was even better and came across as a nightmarish version of Tubular Bells. Yes, Goblin was a progressive rock band, but don't let that put you off. If anything, they could be filed next to Van Der Graaf Generator in the Non-Guilty Pleasure/Non-Cape Wearing branch of of the prog-rock world. Like VDGG, Goblin's music was more intense than most and lacked the muso noodling that made progressive rock so damn fussy sounding.

If you're interested in delving into the world of Goblin, may I suggest The Fantastic Voyage of Goblin: The Sweet Sound of Hell [Bella Casa/Cherry Red Records CASA1CD]. It's a 19 track compilation of their better known themes from Profondo Rosso, Suspiria and Dawn of the Dead among others, as well as a couple of cuts from their non-soundtrack albums. Special mention should be made of the funky "Snip-Snap" (from the score for Patrick) and the space-age bachelor pad sounds of "Sicilian Samba" from Squadra Antigangsters.

If more is desired, track down a copy of Goblin: Their Hits, Rare Tracks & Outtakes Collection 1975-1989 [DRG Records 32904].

To round out this post, here is the trailer for Dawn of the Dead and a TV spot for Suspiria:

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