Burnier e Cartier – Fotos Pra Capa do LP (1976)

Burnier & Cartier
“Fotos para capa do LP”
Released 1976 on EMI/ODEON

1 Minha mãe não sabe de mim (Claudio Cartier, Octávio Burnier, Wrigg)
2 D. João (Octávio Burnier, Reinaldo Pimenta)
3 Recreio (Octávio Burnier, Wrigg)
4 Elogio da loucura (Octávio Burnier, Wrigg, Strunck)
5 À beira de nada (Octávio Burnier, Wrigg)
6 Catarina Canguru (Claudio Cartier, Paulo Azevedo)
7 Dia ferido (Claudio Cartier, Octávio Burnier)
8 Lenda das amazonas (Octávio Burnier, Wrigg)
9 Ecoline (Claudio Cartier)
10 Sítio azul (Claudio Cartier)
11 Pedra pintada (Octávio Burnier)

Here is a nice and warm record that I first heard about through the blogosphere, through our friend JThyme’s blog I do believe, who in turn got turned on to them via Loronix if I’m not mistaken. Burnier & Cartier were a duo from Rio de Janeiro who recorded three albums between 1974 and 1978 and then seem to have dropped out of music. Octávio Bonfá Burnier (son of Luiz Bonfá) and Claudio Cartier had actually been composing together since 1968, and their first album, for RCA-Victor in 1974, featured musicians like Novelli, Bebeto, Paulo Mouro, and Chico Batera. As far as I can tell, none of this people played on THIS album.

The duo were signed to Odeon records at the recommendation of Milton Nascimento, and thus we see a couple former collaborators of Milton on the album — drummer Paulinho Braga and Luiz Alves on bass, both of whom would record a whole bunch of people (many of them very famous) during the 1970s and beyond.

Before I even knew this, the album reminded me a bit of the Clube da Esquina collective, but still different enough to have its own identity. All the songs have two acoustic guitars as the base of their arrangement, and their sound blends jazz-rock, mellow psychedelia, classical music, folk-rock, and some artsy, progressive baroque string arrangements. Um, I guess this might make them “fusion”? I dunno. Don’t be frightened. But in fact the last ten minutes of the album (composed of three overlapping tracks) is entirely instrumental (which has a certain Egberto Gismonti quality to it, although probably less adventurous).

In spite of having a name like a French-Canadian fur-trapping company, and looking like a Brazilian version of Seals & Crofts, these guys made some incredibly intriguing music. Although completely accessible, there is something tenaciously un-commercial about their sound that perhaps explains why these albums are very hard to find. I am not certain if the first one is on CD (I found a copy a long time ago on a well-known blog). THIS title is one of the shoddier reissues on the 100 Anos de Odeon series, in terms of packaging — the good news is that the sound is actually very warm and nice. But not only is the album title not listed on the CD tray (leading it to be replicated in lots of published discographies as simply ‘Burnier & Cartier’ which is partly why I left it like this in the folder name), but the back tray card actually states that the album was released in 1968 (in the booklet, it is correctly stated to be from 1976). So much for giving such a beautiful album the care and attention it deserves when all a label like EMI cares about is its bottom-line. Good to know they were paying attention…

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Henry Cow – Western Culture (1979)

This is a very important record by one of my favorite bands, Henry cow from England. A bit different from what usually is posted on this blog, I originally had wanted to share this yesterday to protest American Labor Day, a holiday established to offset May Day and undermine the Labor Movement. All of Henry Cow’s recorded output is worthwhile, but this is by far their most outstanding creative achievement. I would write a review but I found a more than adequate one from when this album was finally reissued, by Peter Marsh at the BBC, posted below the album info.

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HENRY COW
“Western Culture”
Released in 1979
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Track Listings

1. Industry (6:58)
2. The Decay of Cities (6:56)
3. On The Raft (4:01)
4. Falling Away (7:39)
5. Gretel’s Tale (3:58)
6. Look Back (1:20)
7. 1/2 the Sky (5:14)

Total Time: 36:06

8. “Untitled” (silence only) – 1:29
9. “Viva Pa Ubu” (Hodgkinson) – 4:28
10. “Look Back (alt)” (Cooper) – 1:21
11. “Slice” (Cooper) – 0:36

“Viva Pa Ubu” includes the singing of Dagmar Krause, making the extended album no longer an instrumental.

“Viva Pa Ubu” and “Slice” had been previously released on the Recommended Records Sampler (1982).

Line-up/Musicians

– Tim Hodgkinson / organs, Alto sax, clarinet, Hawaiian guitar (1,2), piano (3)
– Lindsay Cooper / bassoon, oboe, Soprano sax, Sopranino recorders
– Fred Frith / electric & acoustic guitars, bass, Soprano sax (3)
– Chris Cutler / drums, electric drums, noise, piano (4), trumpet (3)

Guests:
– Anne-Marie Roelofs / trombone, violin
– Irene Schweizer / piano (5)
– Georgie Born / bass (7)

Sound and art work

* Henry Cow – Producers
* Etienne Conod – Producer
* Chris Cutler – Cover art

Review
…exhausting, sometimes jaw droppingly gorgeous and occasionally very scary…

by Peter Marsh
20 November 2002

While most 70s progressive rockers had their noses stuck deep in the works of Herman Hesse or Tolkien and spent their time copping licks from Ravel or Mussorgsky, the members of Henry Cow were reading Marx, Mao and Walter Benjamin and preferred Varese, Cage or Sun Ra for inspiration. One of the first signings to Virgin records in 1973, the Cow were responsible for some of the most dazzlingly complex rock ever recorded, merging British psychedelia, free improvisation and modern classical with a healthy dose of revolutionary polemic. The band gained a reputation for immense seriousness depite their occasional sly Dadaist humour, though to be fair there pobably weren’t many fart jokes in the Henry Cow tour bus.

Western Culture was recorded in 1978 some time after their difficult split with Virgin, and was made in the knowledge that the group was to fold afterwards (a previous attempt at recording had failed a few months earlier). Though these were obviously tricky times for all concerned, you wouldn’t know it from the music on this CD, which is some of their finest and dispatched with awesome precision and economy.

Compositional duties are split between saxophonist/keyboardist Tim Hodgkinson and bassoonist Lindsay Cooper (possibly the only ever fulltime bassoonist in a rock band). Their dense, cerebral compositions are restless, angular affairs with nervy, timeshifting rhythmic dexterity from drummer Chris Cutler (who has to be one of the finest, most inventive drummers this country has ever produced) and guitarist Fred Frith (doubling on bass). Frith is superb, switching from fuzzed out, oblique rockisms to querulous Derek Bailey acoustic scrabble (“The Decay of Cities”) and occupying a few thousand points inbetween. There are no pointless displays of prog virtuosity though; despite the sometimes bewildering complexity of the music, not a note is wasted throughout.

Guest pianist Irene Schweizer provides a spot of free jazz fire on Coopers doleful “Gretel’s Tale”, while Anne Marie Roeloffs’s trombone and violin add extra textural grit. The most affecting track is “Half the Sky”, where lush chords underpin Friths Frippish glides and Hodgkinsons chattering alto sax, eventually breaking out into an almost klezmer-esque melody over Cutler’s tumbling percussives. Three extra tracks round off this long unavailable re-issue including “Viva Pa Ubu” (featuring former vocalist Dagmar Krause, here uncredited) and the all too short cut and thrust of “Slice”. Exhausting, sometimes jaw droppingly gorgeous and occasionally very scary, Western Culture is a fitting testament to possibly the most progressive of all English rock bands. Bless ’em.