David Sancious and Tone – Transformation (The Speed of Love) (1976 Epic)

David Sancious and Tone – Transformation (The Speed Of Love)
1976 Epic Records PE 33939| Genre:  Fusion, Jazz-rock, Progressive rock

If, like me, you thought that Incident on 57th Street and New York City Serenade were the high points of Bruce Springsteen’s early career, then you should probably give your attention to musical polymath and chameleon David Sancious.  Sancious was keyboardist for the E. Street Band on their first two albums, and contributed to the title track of Born To Run.  I think it would be a safe claim to say that his sensibility probably helped sculpt the “epic” sound they were crafting, particularly on the longer songs, but if you have The Boss too firmly in mind when putting on this record, you might be jarred by just how dissimilar it seems.  I’ve always been a champion of things eclectic, but Sanscious might be too eclectic for his own good at times.  With his virtuosity on multiple instruments taking front and center stage, it is hard not to marvel at least a little at the breadth of vision, but sometimes they straddle the grey area between stylistic transcendence and plain confusion.  His debut record for Epic (Forest of Feelings, 1975) was produced by none other than legendary jazz-fusion drummer Billy Cobham, and at times the music comes close to holding its own with Return To Forever or Weather Report or Mahavishnu Orchestra, and at other times sounding a bit like a slightly funky Rush without the benefit of no horrible lyrics (everything here is instrumental).

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Haboob – Haboob (1971) (HörZu Black Label / Reprise Records REP 3400)

Haboob – Haboob
1971 Hör Zu Black Label / Reprise Records REP 3400
Made in Germany

This is a rather difficult-to-describe rarity from a group that only made a single record, a trio of ex-pat Americans living in Germany. The driving force is James Jackson who rocks out on Farfisa, Choir Organ, and Hohner Piano. George Green, who also played in the Munich ‘drum orchestra’ band Niagara, gives a drum solo that is actually interesting (I appreciate drum solos in a live setting, when I’m there, but usually find them tedious on records. Continue reading

Goblin – Suspiria (1977) and Zombi aka Dawn Of The Dead (1978)

Goblin – Suspiria
Released 1977 Cinevox MDF 33.108

Reissued in the box set  The Awakening (2012) – Bella Casa
1 – Suspiria 6:00
2 – Witch 3:11
3 – Opening The Sighs 0:32
4 – Sighs 5:16
5 – Markos 4:05
6 – Black Forest / Blind Concert (Original Edit) 12:33
7 – Death Valzer1:51
8 – Suspiria (Celesta And Bells) 1:34
9 –  Suspiria (Narration)1:48
10 –  Suspiria (Intro)0:32
11  – Markos (Alternate Version) 4:09
12 –  Markos (Alternate Take) 3:50



Goblin
Zombi (Colonna Sonora Originale Del Film)

aka Dawn of the Dead
1978 Cinevox MDF 33.121

Reissued in the box set  The Awakening (2012) – Bella Casa

1     L’alba Dei Morti Viventi     6:02
2     Zombi     4:21
3     Safari     2:08
4     Torte In Faccia     1:54
5     Ai Margini Della Follia     1:20
6     Zaratozom     3:34
7     La Caccia     3:36
8     Tirassegno     2:48
9     Oblio     5:10
10     Risveglio     1:03
11     L’alba Dei Morti Viventi (Alternate Take)     5:14
12     Ai Margini Della Follia (Alternate Take)     1:40
13     Zombi (Sexy)     2:22
14     Ai Margini Della Follia (Alternate Take)     3:40
15     Zombi (Supermarket)     3:17
16     L’alba Dei Morti Viventi (Intro-Alternate Take)     0

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It’s a Halloween DOUBLE FEATURE at Flabbergasted Vibes!
It seems as if, at some point, Goblin became the Game of Thrones of progressive rock: it’s cool to like them even if you’re generally dismissive of the genre.  A revival of interest in this Italian group includes a burst of recent activity, including a few books about their music, a box set collecting six of their albums, and a concurrent (or was it subsequent?) reunion and tour.  They are undoubtedly most famous for providing soundtracks for director Dario Argento, who worked extremely closely with them.  As my friends can tell you, I’m much more of a music head than a cinephile, with yawning gaps in my cultural literacy when it comes to film.  As such, I was familiar with these Goblin records without being familiar with the films.  This includes even the hugely famous Dawn Of The Dead from George Romero, which I only saw last year for the first time.  And just for this post, I got hold of a gorgeous Blu-Ray of Suspiria and watched it last night.  The overall foreboding has not yet worn off.

The music that Goblin produced for these films is central to their entire aesthetic, the score is almost present as it were a separate character, having an impact on the plot more than providing a setting or acting as a reflection.  This feeling of urgency isn’t all in my head, apparently, because according to the liner notes the music for Suspiria was actually recorded before they began shooting, and was at times blasted through PA speakers on the set to provide the proper ambiance.  
Both Suspiria and Zombi are pretty nightmarish records.  The sense of brooding unease never lets up.  As on all their record, the group blends organic sounds (percussion and stringed instruments like lutes or zithers or dulcimers) with analog electronics (synthesizers, oscillators), whispers and shrieks and other creepiness.  They’ll swing from the soundscapes called up from terrifying bad-trip psychedelia, then switch suddenly to a galloping jazz-funk jam that offers a way out of the dream, or a jaunty prog workout in an off-kilter time signature, anthems of chase or pursuit depending on your luck or misfortune, or perhaps some gentle acoustic guitar or mellow saxophone to lull you into a temporary state of relaxation.  Some sort of throat-singing type chant provides the bedrock for another track’s dissonant organ chords and yammering, hallucinatory voices.  Considering how cliché-laden the twin genres of horror and prog rock can be, it is kind of amazing how these soundtracks retain a sense of fresh unpredictability throughout them.  There is a questionably “tribal” passage on Zombi seemingly meant to invoke white peoples’ fear of Afro-Caribbean percussion, or more precisely the ritual uses to which it often lends itself, but even that somehow manages not to cross over into tackiness territory.  Overwhelmingly instrumental (there are obligatory wordless choral bits here and there, in accordance with the 1974 International Agreement on Horror Film Soundtracks), these two soundtracks work well as self-contained records, but when I finally saw the films they belonged to, they seem more fully realized and deliberate.    Suspiria was actually the band’s second soundtrack for Argento, the first being “Rosso Profundo”, which is included in the box set on the Bella Casa label, as is the later collaboration for the film Tenebre.  Two albums not related to films are also in the box – Roller (1976) and Il Fantastico Viaggio Del Bargarozzo Mark (1978).  


I’d like to thank my friend Cheshire Tom for sharing the box set with me and being okay with this post.  I guess whether or not these two albums end up on your Halloween party playlist tonight largely depends on who you’ve invited over.  See the comments section for more info.   Regardless of how you chose to enjoy them, I advise you to keep some soothing tunes handy to follow them.  I recommend The Best of Bread.

Ceccarelli – Ceccarelli (1977)

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Ceccarelli
“Ceccarelli”
Released 1977 – Inner City (IC 1057)
 
Forget It    
I’m A Skunk    
Big City Bright    
Ded’s Circus    
Life Is Real Only Here (Part 1)    
Speed It Up    
What The…    
Where Is Here    
Life Is Only Real Here (Part 2)    
His Love    
Space Out



Vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; Click Repair; individual clicks and pops taken out with Adobe Audition 3.0 – dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced (for 16-bit). Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.

I saved this album from being thrown in the trash by a college radio station.  A bunch of us volunteer DJs had been tasked with sorting through thousands of LPs in a storage space over the course of several months and deciding what was worthy of putting into the main library and what would be discarded.  I came in at the end of the process, when the management told us we could just scavenge for things to keep before they began tossing stuff for good.  It was and still is a fantastic radio station, but  I discovered  a lot of the indie kids considered a lot of quality music to be unworthy.  And a lot that was pretty collectible too,  without much defacement to the album covers – Judy Sill white label promo, going to the trash?  Bridget St. John on Dandelion? One-off heavy psych rock bands like Alamo or Granicus?  Or Coleman Hawkins and Bud Powell records on Pablo, kind of boring past-their-prime recordings like everything on Pablo but still surely not destined for a landfill.   It was my moral obligation to save these from oblivion and take them home.  Including this album, a specimen that has potential to accomplish the rare feat of pleasing or at least sparking the interest of both the “rare groove” hunter and those into whimsical prog-rock bands fond of making up their own mythological universes.

During the Great Radio Purge of 2008, Most of the good jazz had been put back into the library.  Now granted the first stage of this ‘trim the fat’ operation worked on the honor system, presuming that someone stumbling across a Sun Ra album on Saturn Records was going to keep it at the station and not take it home… This may be why I absented myself from the first stage, wishing to avoid such ethical dilemmas.  Also, volunteering isn’t a very lucrative occupation , I was already doing two radio shows for them, and doing any more would impinge on innate laziness.  In any event, I was remotely aware of André Cecarelli’s name as a figure in European jazz and jazz fusion, but mostly I was attracted by the bright mandala oil painting gatefold cover because I like shiny things.  Opening it up, I found some guide notes that had been typed by the reviewing DJ and glued neatly to the inside jacket, which is a nice touch since usually they are handwritten on index cards fixed sloppily on the jacket with a glue stick, or just written directly on the album covers in ballpoint pen.  After appreciating the DJ-reviewer’s tidiness, I then noticed some of the additional musicians on the recording:  Janick Topp and Claude Engel (Magma), Didier Lockwood (Magma, Pierre Moerlan’s Gong), Ernesto ‘Tito’ Duarte (Barrabas), Alex Ligertwood (Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express, Santana).  I mean, c’mon, it had to be worth at least a listen, right?

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The album may not be as far out as this list of heavy friends playing on it might lead you to believe, nor as good as it probably ought to be, but it has some intense moments.  I am less enamored of it than the DJ tasked with reviewing it in 1978, but then he or she also seemingly did not recognize any of the musicians who played on it and so perhaps had lower expectations than I did.  As the reviewer states, this is much less jazz (as might be expected from something on the Inner City label) and much more fusion or jazz-rock (they suggested calling it “big band fusion…”)  The reviewer makes a comparison to Mahavishnu Orchestra, which I don’t really hear:  this stuff takes itself far less serious than anything John McLaughlin has ever played on.  There is none of the sci-fi loonyness of Magma either, which may be a relief to many of you.  If anything this stuff puts me in mind of Jean Luc-Ponty and George Duke, or maybe just mid-70s Zappa when George Duke was playing on his records.  Bonus points for the use of steel drums on the track “Ded’s Circus.”

If I had to some this album up in one sentence it would be: “The kind of record that Howard Moon from The Mighty Boosh would get very excited about.”  In fact the gravely spoken word on the interlude “What the…” on side two sounds suspiciously like the Spirit Of The Blues character from that show.

As a bonus, I photographed the track-by-track notes from the anonymous late-70s college DJ before having a go at removing them.  Word to the wise, removing adhesive material that has been in place for over thirty-five years is not a guaranteed success (but I knew that before beginning).  The stickers weren’t really bothering anybody, but I knew they were there and it would bother me sometimes late at night and I would consider digging through a few thousand LPs to find this one and try to remove them at 4 a.m.  I opted to leave the reviewer’s overall impressions in place, however.  I mean it’s part of the history now, right?

16-bit 44.1 khz

 

24bit

 

Marcos Valle – Vento Sul (1972) with O Terço

“Vento Sul”
Marcos Valle
with O Terço

Released 1972 on Odeon SMOFB 3725
Reissued 2011 in the boxset Marcos valle Tudo

1 Revolução orgânica
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
2 Malena
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
3 Pista 02
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
4 Vôo cego
(Cláudio Guimarães)
5 Bôdas de sangue
(Marcos Valle)
6 Democústico
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
7 Vento Sul
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
8 Rosto barbado
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
9 Mi hermoza
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
10 Paisagem de Mariana
(Frederyko)
11 Deixa o mundo e o sol entrar
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)BONUS TRACK
12. O beato

Marcos Valle – vocals, piano
Ian Guest- orchestration and arrangements on `Bodas de sangue`
Hugo Bellard – orchestration and arrangements on `Deixa o mundo e o sol entrar`

O Terço:
Sérgio Hinds – electric guitar and coro
Vinícius Cantuária – drums, second vocal on ‘Revolução orgânica’, coro
César das Mercês – bass, and coro

Cláudio Guimarães – electric guitar
Fredera – electric guitar on ‘Pasagem de Mariana’
Robertinho Silva – drums, percussion
Paulo Guimarães – flute

Produced by Milton Miranda
Musical director – Lindolfo Gaya

———————-

“Vento Sul, from 1972, is an album very different from the earlier records – I experienced a lot in terms of rhythms, harmonies, melodies, arrangements and instrumentation. O Terço, one of the best bands of the era, accompanied me in all this and we recorded it all together. I also counted on the collaboration of Fredera, Robertinho Silva and the talented twins Cláudio and Paulo Guimarães (they were also part of the band in our shows). The bonus track here is a verion I did for Odeon of “O beato”, a song that was part of the soundtrack for the novela ‘Selva de Pedre.’

I consider this album a very experimental one: it was practically created in a modest fisherman’s house that we rented in Búzios, in a communitarian spirit. It marked my ‘hippie’ era…
– Marcos Valle, liner note / blurb

So here were are (finally) with the next installment as the Brothers Valle continue their trend of changing the approach to songwriting and recording and continued to make ingenious decisions regarding their musicians and production choices. This album features the band O Terço as part of the backing band, which unfortunately for Brazilians of a certain age will be associated with wanky overblown progressive rock from the mid-70s. But in their early days they were much more psychedelic, and I make no apologies for my own soft spot for early 70s prog. And on this album O Terço sounds more like the earliest O Terço than O Terço actually did by 1972 — the dreamy, acoustic haze from when Jorge Amiden was in the band (see the ‘Karma’ album also posted here). Also in the musician credits are stalwarts like Robertinho on the drums and Paulo Guimarães on flute

The marriage is a happy one. The album was recorded in Búzios, which was practically a hippie commune that received famous visitors like Joplin and Mick Jagger in the years leading up to this album, before it blew up into an overpriced tourist trap. It is the first album since 1963’s “Samba Demais” to feature songs that were not written by at least one of the Valle brothers. The collective creative process on this album is evident by how smoothly tunes like “Vôo cego” by Cláudio Guimarães and “Paisagem de Mariana” (Frederyko) fit in with the Valle’s tunes. In fact “Vôo cego” (or ‘Blind Flight’ in English) is one of my favorite songs on the album. It is followed by a beautiful instrumental tunes, ‘Bodas de sangue’, that was arranged by Ian Guest, someone I don’t know much about other than the fact that he also has album credits on Donato’s “Quem é quem” and on some Milton Banana Trio albums; and that, contrary to his very English-sounding name, he was in fact Brazilian and an important figure in jazz circles and taught quite a few students a music professor. The song is followed up by the quirky, somewhat experimental, somewhat silly ‘Democústico’, where you’ll hear an agogô played in an afoxê rhythm balanced against squiggly wah-wah guitar lines.

The lysergic textures of this record can hypnotize the unwary, so do not listen to this while operating heavy machinery. The title song “Vento sul” has an open, meandering, incompleteness to it that is equally charming and beguiling. Reflective lyrics dealing with the identity politics of alternative lifestyles in the tune ‘Rosto barbado’ give way to playfully schizoid moodshifts in ‘Mi hermoza’, which alternates between open acoustic strumming and big aural spaces to a chugging midsection that is about as hard-rocking as the Valles are likely to get. Sounds as much or more like an O Terço song than the tunes here actually written by O Terço members, in fact. It is followed by “Paisagem de Mariana”, a song that fits flows nicely in its surroundings and which bears a pretty heavy stylistic similarity to any number of Milton Nascimento/Ronaldo Bastos/Fernando Brandt compositions between 1970 – 72. “Deixa o mundo e o sol entrar” is a another gorgeous tune anchored in acoustic guitars with careful piano, occasional drums, and a meandering melody line that is as warm as the song’s title. It is a perfect finale for this masterpiece-in-miniature. For this reissue, I actually wish they had included a minute of blank audio / silence at the end in which to collect our wits. Not that “O beato” doesn’t fit with the rest of this — oddly enough, for a telenovela track, it is as equally hazy and tripped out as anything else on this disc. But the original album has a kind of poetic closure to it with “Deixa o mundo” that gets a bit lost when followed immediately by another song.

Since it is sandwiched in Valle’s discography between two giant albums, ‘Garra’ and ‘Previsão do Tempo’, it seems like `Vento Sul` may have gotten overlooked to some degree. At least one of my Brazilian friends who is old enough to have been alive when this album was released (unlike myself), and who is also more of an O Terço fan that I am, was completely unaware of it until I passed along this reissue to him. And as much as I personally love this album, it lacks any obvious hit singles or even anything that jumps out as particularly “catchy”, which could turn off listeners who are particularly enamored with the Valle Brothers’ pop sensibilities. Even though it has ‘big names’ attached to it, this album FEELS obscure, with repeated listenings never quite diminishing the sense that we are privy to some aural hidden treasure and secret between friends. These are qualities that should put it high up on the list of favorites for anyone into ‘cult’ favorite psychedelic Brazilian music from the late 60s and 70s. Marcos, in his blurb (too short to be called liner notes, really) seems to insinuate that this album is kind of an exception or even diversion in his discography, an experimental side-trip. It may be that, but it is also an exploration and perhaps a deepening of some of the aural territory he had already been traversing in the previous two albums. The next album, `Previsão do Tempo’, marks a return to more structured compositions, soul and funk influences, and songs that are easier to sing along to when you play them loudly. But don’t shrug off this album – it deserves a careful listen, with or without additional chemical enhancement.

Back cover liner notes, free translation (as in loose, as well as the fact that I don’t charge for this…)

I’m in the middle of the album. Five songs are already recorded. I’m certain that they are going to be some of the best things I’ve ever done. As good or better than “Samba Demais” (my first album) or “Viola Enluarda.”

The songs on this album were made with much care and tranquility, and I sincerely think that it’s been a long, long time since I’ve done anything that pleases me so much. I’ll say the same for the lyrics by Paulo Sérgio. We’re giving you the full picture of what we’ve recently been sketching out in our music. Nothing rushed, no worries about commercialism.

Paulo Sérgio came up with the idea to form a group. We formed one. It was a wonderful idea.

Sérgio, VInicius, Cézar, Frederico, Paulo e Cláudio (twins), Robertinho e Maurício Maestro. Musicians and people of the highest caliber.

We are working like eight arrangers. Every day we get together to hang out and talk and the ideas for each song keep coming. And the result couldn’t be better, I think; we all think so.

The album cover is from Juarez Macho, logically. Renato is responsible for the production and I can say that he also is part of the group, because he’s collaborating like a motherfucker with us on this album.

We are lucky to have the recording technicians are Zilmar and Nivaldo. Milton Miranda is the Director of Production, and is also one of the most sensational people I’ve ever known.

It’s all there.

– Marcos

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Karma – Karma (1972) {O Terço, Arthur Verocai)

Karma
“Karma”
Released originally on RCA-Victor 1972 (103.0046)
This reissue Selo Cultural 2010

01. Do Zero Adiante
02. Blusa de Linho
03. Você Pode Ir Além
04. Epílogo
05. Tributo ao Sorriso
06. O Jogo
07. Omissão
08. Venha Pisar na Grama
09. Transe Uma
10. Cara e Coroa Continue reading