Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Day After The Sabbath 88: Escape From The Storm (Finland)



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Unzip password:  tdats


Finland is the fifth in my Nordic series after Denmark (Vol72), Sweden (Vol75), Norway (Vol81) and the first one (Vol28) which was a mix. I have now also done Iceland (Vol124). I finished most of the work for this a few months ago, but with the recent and gratefully appreciated help of a few TDATS group members like Aki Stenius, Ville Pirinen and Jani Pitkänen I have been able to fine-tune it to the point of perfection. It's turned out to be another excellent selection of heavy prog with a sprinkling of hard rock, a jazz-funk monster, a sliver of metal and a couple of chill-outs; a fine and varied mix that really shows what breadth of quality music the often over-looked country of Finland offered in the '60s and '70s. I was happy that I was able to use album cuts for the majority of the comp, giving you guys out there plenty of options to dig further if you like any of these bands, on top there's a couple of great singles.

Tracks:

01. Jormas - I Can't Break the Habit (1968)
       from album 'sincerely'
02. Charlies - Living for Myself (I'm a King Dreamer) (1970)
       from album 'buttocks'
03. Apollo - Hideki Tojo 1884-1948 (1970)
       from album 'apollo'
04. Kaamos - Strife (1977)
       from album 'deeds and talks'
05. Alwari Tuohitorvi - Kromikaunotar (1973)
       single
06. Eero Koivistoinen Music Society - Hot C (1973)
       from album 'wahoo!'
07. Kalevala - Escape From the Storm (1972)
       from album 'people no names'
08. Tabula Rasa - Nyt Maalaan Elämää (1975)
       from album 'tabula rasa'
09. Paroni Paakkunainen - Plastic Maailma (1971)
       from album 'plastic maailma'
10. Eero Koivistoinen - Pientä Peliä Urbaanissa Limousinessa (1968)
       from album 'valtakunta'
11. Blues Section - Hey Hey Hey (1967)
       from album 'blues section'
12. Finnforest - Mikä Yö (1975)
       from album 'finnforest'
13. Elonkorjuu - A Little Rocket Song (1972)
       from album 'harvest time'
14. Melvin McRae Band - Law Man (1976)
       from album 'queen of hearts'
15. Tasavallan Presidentti - Obsolete Machine (1969)
       from album 'tasavallan presidentti'
16. Sarcofagus - All Those Lies (1979)
       single
References:

For those interested in the fantastic cover art; it's a famous Finnish painting inspired by the Kalevala, a collection of traditional Finnish poetry and folklore that was compiled by physician-philologist Elias Lönnrot and published in 1849. He traveled the regions in and around Finland over a course of many years, gathering spoken-word poems and mythological stories dating back to the Bronze age. The resulting epic book was an important inspiration to Finland when it was establishing and instilling its national identity during its successful 1917 declaration of Independence from Russia, taking advantage of the unrest caused by Russia's revolution.  The painting itself is called 'The Defense of Sampo (Sammon puolustus)', painted by Akseli Gallen-Kallela in 1896. This is a quote describing the painting: "The scene portrayed is taken from the 43rd song of the epic, where the hero Väinämöinen, seen wielding a sword, has stolen the precious artifact Sampo from the evil witch Louhi, and she, having taken the form of a giant bird, is trying to reclaim it. The battle for the Sampo is also given a deeper connotation as a battle for the soul of Finland."

Love Records logo
One record label to mention is Love Records, which was by far the most important in Finnish prog. Almost half of the artists in this comp had at least one release on Love. Wigwam was on Love, the most prominent of the country's prog acts which was one of the first and only to become acclaimed elsewhere in the world (they were signed to Virgin in the UK). Love was also the home to 'Blues Section', who seeded the development of many other bands in this comp, including another Love signing 'Tasavallan Presidentti' (trans:'President of the Republic').




Jormas
So we jump in with Jormas, a pop band that included members from 'The Islanders' and 'The Finnish Beatmakers'. They were at one time Finland's most popular band, members included Pepe Willberg and Raul Wikström who worked together often, including in the post-Jormas act 'Pepe & Paradise'. Their second album, 1968's 'Sincerely!' included track 1 here, a cover of London band The Ferris Wheels' track 'I Can't Break The Habit'.

Charlies
Charlies were from Lahti, the capital of the Päijänne Tavastia region in southern Finland. The members were Wellu Lehtine (vocals, harmonica, Moroccan clay drums, cowbell), Eero Ravi (guitar), Pitkä Lehtine (bass, tambourine), Kusti Ahlgren (drums, Moroccan clay drums, kettles) and Igor Sidorow (flute, saxophone, piano). There are a couple of re-issues available, of two albums, and 'Living for Myself (I'm a King Dreamer)' is from their second and final album called 'Buttocks' (1970). It's a great one, with plenty of heavy guitar, nicely done flute and funky drumming.

Apollo LP (1970)
The next track introduces the band Apollo, and a drummer that was in three of the bands on this comp, Edward Vesala. He was a well respected avant-garde jazz composer and band-leader also playing in Blues Section and Tasavallan Presidentti coming up later. Singer Harri Saksala was also the singer on Kalevala's first album 'People No Names' which is coming up later. The remaining two members, Eero Lupari (guitar, vocals) and Heimo Holopainen (bass, vocals) were both in 60s beat-niks Topmost and here's a sample. There were also some contributions from "Paroni" Paakkunainen who appears later here. The song I used here for track 3 seems to be named after the Japanese general who was in charge of the attack on Pearl Harbour, though I am unable to explain this further, so if there's any one out there who can translate the lyrics and help me out, drop me a line. I have found a great review of their single album from 1970 on the excellent Mutant Sounds blog so here it is: "One of the very first Finnish prog bands, Apollo was in fact the launching pad for the world renowned fusion drummer Edward Vesala, whose gorgeous work I've previously posted both under his own name and as a member of Toto Blanke's Electric Circus. Dag Erik Asbjornsen described this extraordinary acid rock/proto prog crew in Scented Garden's Of The Mind as sounding "like they're fronted by a singing moose", a description too perfect to try to top, though it only applies to the half of the album where they're in post-Cream acid pummel mode, but oh...when they are, it's sublime. If any of you out there have been hepped to Kalevala, you'd almost swear this was the same band when they're functioning off this tip; Apollo's iteration sounding as though it's being filtered though the same heavy fogbank of dope smoke that also resulted in expressions of this form like May Blitz or Peru's Tarkus. Yes. That heavy. Stomping stoned caveman shit that is just too gobsmackingly ridiculous and wonderful for words. It's also contrasted about 50/50 here with swoon-worthy orchestrated proggy prog that's very McDonald and Giles/early Crimson in tone. The tension between these poles makes for a truly epic listen."

Kaamos were from Turku, a city on the southwest coast of Finland at the mouth of the Aura River. The members that recorded their sole album in 1977 called 'Deeds and Talks' were Jarkko "Jakke" Leivo (bass), Ilpo Murtojärvi (guitar, backing vocals), Kyösti Laihi (Keyboards) and Johnny Gustafsson (Lead Vocals, all percussion). It was released on a label called 'M&T', which was run by the famous Schlager/folk duo and brothers Matti and Teppo Ruohonen. 'Schlager music' is the term used to describe popular and often sentimental music styles in Scandinavia, Central and Northern Europe, and the Balkans.

Kaamos
Here is a great summation of the band and album from Prog Archives: "This Finnish quartet were formed in 1973 and released one album that mixes folk, Medieval and classical music with bits of blues and funk. Thanks to Kyösti Laihi, the original keyboard player who kindly provided some information about his band (see the review section of their album), we learn that Kaamos comprised some seasoned musicians who learned their skills playing the likes of Yes, Gentle Giant, Jethro Tull, Zappa and Todd Rundgren among others. More importantly, they wrote their own material which resulted in a little gem called "Deeds and Talks" released in 1977, now a collectable item. Although the band doesn't exist any more, all members are still musically active in one way or another.

"Deeds and Talks" is a refined piece of prog with prominent guitar (in fact, great guitar work) and keyboards. Some tracks will remind the listener of Jethro Tull without the flute, whereas some have an almost funky, Stevie Wonder flavour but still manage to have a prog feel; others are rather bluesy while others, still, are purely symphonic. An unlikely mixture of styles quite successfully put together."

Alwari Tuohitorvi were from a town called Ähtäri in the Southern Ostrobothnia region. They started out as a progressive rock band, they morphed into a more commercial sound later on, and various spin-off bands like The Mathews and Kummitus appeared. At the time the song I have used here 'Kromikaunotar' (b-side, 1973) was recorded, the lineup was Jukka Rautiainen (vocals, guitar), Seppo Alajoki (guitar), Raimo Pikanen (drums) and Mika Sundqvist (bass). It's got a great jarring, proggy, almost post-punk riff. It's been hard to find much substantial information on the band so let me know if you can help out.

Eero Koivistoinen is a jazz saxophone player from Helsinki. After studying jazz in Boston, US, he was a member of seminal Finnish band Blues Section (coming up) between 67 and 68. Track 6 here is from his funk/jazz supergroup 'Eero Koivistoinen Music Society' which recorded a classic album called 'Wahoo!' in 1973. Also appearing on this record were many other members of Blues Section. It's a really highly-rated jazz funk album that is wicked fun from start to end and I think even non jazz-nuts like me will like it a lot!

Kalevala
Nearing the middle of the comp and we arrive at a Helsinki band that is named after the afore-mentioned epic book, a name which they ended up almost by accident, when a concert organiser objected to their then-topical original name Vietnam and they needed a quick replacement. Kalevala's first record 'People No Names' was an unusual album to come from the country at the time, deffinitely one of the more advanced, and most progressive Finnish albums of the early 70s. It's full of tight, complex and heavy playing as you can hear on this comp's namesake 'Escape From the Storm', which at times builds up tension like cool 70s movie chase music. As previously mentioned, their singer Harri Saksala also sung on the Apollo album, but he does't use such a theatrical/exaggerated method here, which maybe something to do with the fact he sings in English this time. The next album that came along 'Boogie Jungle', is a little of a backward step into predictable rock but there's a couple of decent tracks there like 'Rockin' Fish'. Here's the bio from Prog Archives: "Kalevala was formed in 1969 by Juha Salonen (bass), Remu Aaltonen (drums/vocals) and Albert Järvinen (guitar). Their first name was Vienam, but they had to change it in order to get concerts. This first line-up played straightforward rock’n’roll, and they were a popular live act in Finland. There was no studio recordings from this line-up, but the Finnish broadcasting company recorded their performance from 1970 “Ruisrock” festival. After this the line-up changed. Remu founded Hurriganes (see Vol79), which Albert also joined later. 

Now Kalevala’s musical direction was changed to more progressive direction. The new musicians on their second line-up were Markku Luukkanen on drums, Matti Kurkinen on Guitar and Harri Saksala doing singing. They recorded one album, “People No Names” (1972) which was released by Finnlevy. They had some guest musicians helping on doing it: pianist Olli Ahvenlahti, Raimo Wallen playing flute and on acoustic guitar Ile Kallio, who was playing on Hurriganes during that time. The result was quite unique.


The band was very unstable, as they had again changes in their line-up. Now they had Zape “Limousine” Leppänen on vocals, who has worked with many respected Finnish artists. The band recorded an album “Boogie Jungle” (1975), which is again more basic rock music. They had Jim Pembroke doing their lyrics plus backing vocals, and Jukka Gustavson playing keyboards on one track. Shortly after this band faced a sudden catastrophy, as Matti Kurkinen got in to a fatal car accident. Their name was defined as Kalevala Orchestra for their next album ”Abraham’s Blue Refrain” (1977). After this they toured Europe with Ange, but they faced financial problems, and the musicians disbanded Kalevala went to different directions.

Some members of the band rejoined in studio 1995, but they couldn’t get a record deal. These new tracks are available on “Anthology” (2004), which has some live recordings and before unreleased material on it."

Tabula Rasa
Half-way now and we find a pleasant but powerful folky instrumental from Tabula Rasa. They were from Kangasala and made two albums between 75-6 after forming in 1971. The lineup for the first album was Tapio Suominen (bass), Asko Pakkanen (drums), Jarmo Sormunen (flute), Heikki Silvennoinen (guitar) and Jukka Leppilampi (vocals). There's some really great stuff on the s/t 1975 LP that this track is taken from and I plan to use more of it on a heavy folk comp I'm doing. Jarmo Sormunen left the band and became a priest, while Heikki Silvennoinen continued a career in blues rock, as well as becoming a comedy actor who's notable work included a TV sketch series called Kummeli which was acted almost entirely by musicians. Heikki is the guy who has trouble staying seated in this clip.

Paroni Paakkunainen
Seppo Paakkunainen is a saxophonist/flautist who was involved in many Fininsh bands. I have used a track from an album which he lead, and was released under a nickname of his, Paroni Paakkunainen. It includes the talents of names I'v already mentioned; the singer Harri Saksala from Apollo/Kalevala and Edward Vesala from Apollo. 'Plastic Maailma' (Trans: 'Plastic World') is a swinging song with some cool flute.

Now we return to Eero Koivistoinen, this time his first record, which was a varied affair, that was influenced heavily by The Beatles. It includes the killer fuzz of 'Pientä Peliä Urbaanissa Limousinessa', which makes for a long garage rocker with manic guitar (courtesy of Blues Section's Hasse Walli) and tonnes of crazy attitude as the the song breaks down into chaos towards the end.

Blues Section
Speaking of Blues Section, here they are for track 11! 'Hey Hey Hey' arrives literally with a roar of heavy machinery that fades into the distortion of some more Hasse Walli guitar freak-out. Like the track before, this one swings and grooves along with the aid of Eero Koivistoinen's sax, and ends in an equally heavy and destructive morass of fuzz which could be described as the sound of a spitfire with guns blazing flying head-on into an on-coming double decker bus.

After the tumult of Blues Section's implosion, we can enjoy the cleansing crystalline sounds and new beginnings of 'Mikä Yö', some beautiful instrumental progressive rock from Finnforest. They originated in Kuopio, a city and a municipality located in the region of Northern Savonia, and when they recorded their first (of three) albums in 1975, their lineup was the trio of Pekka Tegelman (guitar), Jussi Tegelman (drums) and Jukka Rissanen (keyboards).

Elonkorjuu - Harvest Time (1972)
Back for a pummelling now; Elonkorjuu were from the city of Pori on the west coast of Finland. I used them once before on Vol22, as they made one of Finland's earliest heavy proggers, 1972's 'Harvest Time'. Here's another track from that album; 'A Little Rocket Song'. The band recorded again in 1978 with a different lineup and a move into a more sedate style. It would seem that guitarist Jukka Syrenius had the most involved post-Elonkorjuu career, and the 'Jukka Syrenius Band' has recorded four albums since the 80s. Here's a clip of him playing at the Pori jazz festival last year, and here's a clip of Elonkorjuu playing (with Jukka) at the same festival in 2011.

Melvin McRae Band - Queen Of Hearts LP (1976)
From the beginning of researching this comp I was intending on using the opening track 'Palaa' from Yellow's album 'Keltakuume'. Recently I discovered that the next album they made, under the differing name of 'Melvin MacRae Band', was an all-round better effort, so here is 'Law Man' from the 'Queen of Hearts' album instead. It's seems to be a very rare album and there is little information available on the net. It's a typically later-70s sounding hard rock record with a lot of boogie blues going on which is not that inspired. All is not lost....there are at least three good'n heavy songs which are quite fast and aggressive, of which 'Law Man' is my pick. Here are the credits from the album: Melvin McRae (guitar, vox), Rauni Osterman (drums) and Hannu Takala (bass) (which is the same as the final Yellow lineup, minus Helge Koskela). Engineer: Tom Vuori. Recorded at Finnlevy Studios, Helsinki, Finland 1975. According to the Finnish Wikipedia, Yellow emerged from a 60s band called 'Only Five', though by the looks of it none of those original members were still around in the McRae band.

Tasavallan Presidentti
Nearing the end now, and a track from veteran band Tasavallan Presidentti. One of Finland's most famous prog rock bands. Founded in spring 1969 by guitarist Jukka Tolonen and drummer Vesa Aaltonen. Other members of the band came from Blues Section that had recently split up: bassist Måns Groundstroem and singer Frank Robson. Tasavallan Presidentti released their debut s/t album in 1969 with the complete lineup being: Måns Groundstroem (Bass Guitar, Organ), Vesa Aaltonen (drums), Jukka Tolonen (Guitar, Piano), Junnu Aaltonen (flute, sax) and Frank Robson (vox, piano). They toured in Sweden and England in the early 1970s and released three more albums before splitting up in 1974. 'Obsolete Machine' shows it's Blues Section heritage nicely with the same irresistible swing.

So #88 comes to an end with a slice of NWOBHM-style heavy metal, heralding the new sounds of the next decade... Helsinki's Sarcofagus just about got a 70s release with their first single, the galloping 'Go to Hell / All Those Lies' (1979), with the lineup of Juha Kiminki (bass), Ari-Pekka Roitto (drums), Kimmo Kuusniemi (guitar) and Hannu Léiden (vocals). Two albums came in 1980 and then a third was made after the band changed name to the 'Kimmo Kuusniemi Band'. They have re-formed since and you can see more of them at their site here.

Thanks for listening and see you on the next one! Rich



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Friday, May 17, 2013

The DooM That Time Forgot 9

Download from: [mf]
unzip password:  tdats
Another treat for fans of the doom-orientated episodes of 'The DooM That Time Forgot'; thankfully LibertyCaps is back on the scene with another of his cataclysmic compilations. I know a lot of you will be happy about this as I still get questions regarding his sombre series.

There are a few artists and tracks on here that have appeared previously on TDATS, but it's great to hear them again in the context of the DTTF's morbid visions, Keep your eyes peeled for Volume 10 later on, which is being forged in the fires below as we speak....

Tracks:
01. Bolder Damn - Dead Meat '71 (US) 16:04
02. Gravy Train - Think of Life '70 (UK) 5:08
03. Aunt Mary - G Flat Road '72 (NOR) 5:44
04. Sunbow - Stargazer '76 (UK) 8:32
05. Jodo - I'm Still Trying '71 (UK) 4:51
06. Rag i Ryggen - Sanningsserum '75 (SWE) 6:35
07. The Human Beast - Reality Presented as an Alternative '70 (UK) 5:00
08. Formula 3 - Dies Irae '70 (ITL) 7:36
09. Schwarz Sunday - You Will Not Alter Me '76 (UK) 6:39

Here are all the previous volumes, along with TDATS 62 & 95 which I made in the spirit of TDTTF:

Vol 1 | Vol 2 | Vol 3 | Vol 4 | Vol 5 | Vol 6 | Vol 7 | Vol 8 | Vol 9 | Vol 10Vol 62 | Vol 95

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Friday, May 3, 2013

The Day After The Sabbath 87: Do I look High? (space rock mix)



Download from: [mf] or [mg]
unzip password:  tdats
What is ‘Space Rock’? Well, for a start it's a ubiquitous and incautiously-used genre tag. Some people say it's a meaningless term and I can see their point. It's been said that some of Pink Floyd's earliest explorations were space rock, though Floyd themselves don't agree, but there’s been experimentalists making eerie electronic outer space and science-influenced music since the 50's and even earlier. Is ‘space rock’ music with lyrics about space travel? Is it music with cheesy sci-fi outer-space sound effects? (‘Outer-space sound effects’ being something of an oxymoron considering there is no sound in space). Is it just 60s/70s rock that uses a lot of the early electronic synth effects, which nicely complement ‘altered’ mind states?

If ├┤awkVVind were the epitome of the sound then it's all about drug-fueled science fiction-themed proto punk. More interestingly, did it originate from imaginative minds of musicians in response to the optimism of the new space age in the 50s and 60s; the soundtrack to the moon landings? Conversely, maybe it’s the reaction to the same period’s development of weapons powerful enough to wipe out life on our home planet. Well, I guess the beauty of it is it can be all or any of these things. Roger Waters said that Syd Barrett's vaguely spacey lyrics are really just a metaphor for our inner space, but I like to think it comes from yearning notions that there’s something great, hopefully better, out there.

Volume 87 of TDATS is another departure from the norm. I had some help way back on the previous Spanish comp #39 from a fellow blogger called Mara Bunta, who lives in Spain and helped out with some very cool picks for that one. Other than her own blog, she specialises in collaborative mixes created with other bloggers/music fans, and makes them available on Mixcloud.

Tracks:
01. UFO - Flying (1973)
       from album 'UFO 2: Flying (One Hour Space Rock)'
02. A.R. & Machines - Station 1: Globus (1971)
       from album 'die grüne reise - the green journey'
03. Omega - Tízezer Lépés (1969)
       from album '10000 lépés'
04. Barry Gray - Death's Other Dominion (1975)
       from album 'space: 1999 [original television soundtrack]'
05. Eagle Fart - Ruler of the Cosmos (1971)
       from album 'looking for the void'
06. Philippe Besombes - Boogimmick (1975)
       from album 'libra (un film du groupe pattern)'
07. Gong - Fohat Digs Holes in Space (1971)
       from album 'Camembert Electrique'
08. The Sun Lightning Incorporated - Quasar 45 (1969)
       single
09. Montrose - Space Station #5 (1973)
       from album 'montrose'
10. Älgarnas Trädgård - Takeoff (1974)
       from album 'delayed'
11. Dies Irae - Trip (1971)
       from album 'first'
12. The Mec Op Singers - Stop the Machine (1969)
       single
13. The Galaxies IV - Don't Lose Your Mind (1967)
       single
14. Lightshine - Nightmare (1976)
       from album 'feeling'

References:

Mara suggested making a collaboration with TDATS, so I offered a few tracks I had been saving up for a Space Rock comp I was planning, and Mara completed it with a few of her own picks. TDATS 87 is the result, and what makes it really special is the amazing job she has done on mixing it together, with a few wise words from the Scientific Sage & Sentinal of Space himself, Carl Sagan. Carl of course being the famous cosmologist, author and science popularizer.

So we kick off with track 1....Before UFO became a huge stadium rock act of the mid 70s and 80s, they started out with a different sound. Our first track is an edit of the closer from their second album, 1971’s 'UFO 2: Flying (One Hour Space Rock)', which is 27 minutes long on record. Back then the band had guitarist Mick Bolton, who would soon be replaced by Michael Schenker, fresh out of The Scorpions. At this time they were aiming for the stars with their own interpretation of Space Rock, which took the form of (often long) bluesy hard rock songs with some spacey sound effects and fantastical lyrics about princes from other planets.

A.R. & Machines was started in 1971 by Achim (A.R.) Reichel, who was a founding member/front man of popular German beat group The Rattles (see Vol49), and also an actor. Many of his records, including previous project 'Wonderland ', were in collaboration with drummer Frank Dostal who was also in The Rattles. Later on Frank became a lyric writer and had success with pop disco hits like 'Yes Sir, I Can Boogie'. After A.R.& Machines dissolved, Achim continued to produce solo records and still does now. The Machines albums are ones for fans of experimental krautrock like Neu!, Tangerine Dream and Can, and the track I used here 'Station 1: Globus' uses a lot trippy delay effects, reminiscent of Floyd's 'One Of These Days'.

Budapest, Hungary’s Omega have appeared on the blog before, back on Vols 2, 22 and 41. They have been around since the early 60s, had good success in Europe and made a wide range of sounds through the years from psych, to hard rock, to glammy theatrical prog. These styles met somewhere in the middle on the 1976 album ‘Time Robber’ which I liked enough to buy on vinyl a while back and here for track 3 is one of Mara’s picks; ‘Tízezer Lépés’ from their 1969 album “10000 lépés” (trans:”10000 Steps”). On this record they were in proto-prog mode and Tízezer Lépés is a cool track with a dreamy keyboard/brass backing and wicked lead guitar. Omega shared at least two members with one of the other well-regarded Hungarian bands, Locamotive GT (Vol41); Tamás Somló (sax, vox) and József Laux (drums).

For track 4, we have a bit of incidental music from a TV show that has nostalgic memories for me, called 'Space 1999'. It was just about still getting re-runs on TV here in the UK when I was a kid, along with other questionable TV scfi 'classics' like the original Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers, for an impressionable youngster they were as close to a serialised Star Wars as could be hoped for. In Space 1999, the moon gets accidentally blasted out of earth's orbit, taking its inhabitants on un-told adventures across the galaxy. During recent searches for movie and TV theme music, I came across this Barry Gray composition, a guy who created this and music for many other Gerry Anderson productions through the years, like Stingray, Thunderbirds and 'Captain Scarlet & the Mysterons'. Barry was fascinated by the Ondes Martenot, which was an early form of electronic instrument with a similar sound to the Theremin. He used it to create his strange sci-fi noises, I wonder if that's the sound that appears at the end of 'Death's Other Dominion'?

Track 5 will be our mystery entrant here, but I’m sure it will not take you long to figure out who it is…

And on to track 6 with Philippe Besombes, a French electronic pioneer who worked on collaborations like Pôle,'Besombes - Rizet', Hydravion and his own albums. While he was a chemistry PHD student, he ‘borrowed’ electrical equipment from the physics lab to use in his experiments in making strange sounds. Later his efforts lead to involvements with orchestral/electronic pioneers like Karlheinz Stockhausen, Iannis Xenakis and Jean Michel Jarre. The first record released under his name was a collection of incidental music he and a group of talented session musicians made for an obscure sci-fi movie called Libra, from which I have included the track 'Boogimmick' here. The record is a mixture of space rock, free jazz, pop and avant-garde electronica and has recently been rediscovered and re-appraised as a minor classic of its (very unusual) kind. Julian Cope has written a devoted review with lots of great facts here. Julian reviewed another of Besombes’ albums here. Boogimmick is one of the more conventional tracks on the record, the first few seconds of riffing comes on like the best song that ├┤awkVVind never wrote, then it devolves into a blues jam with a load of widdly spacey noises. Going off on tangent here, while researching Philippe Besombes, I became newly-acquainted with the ‘Nurse With Wound list’ in which Besombes is included. It’s a list of obscure artists compiled by Steven Stapleton’s experimental noise band ‘Nurse With Wound’ and printed in the cover of their debut 1979 album ‘Dissecting Table of a Sewing Machine and an Umbrella’. The list has become renowned as something of a must-listen guide for record collectors and includes many acts that I have used over the time of TDATS; like Art Zoyd, Blue Effect, Comus, and Nine Days Wonder to name just a few.

Gong's story go back to 1968 when it was started by Daevid Allen, a founding member of influential UK proto-proggers The Soft Machine. Soft Machine were returning from a trip to France where they had ingratiated themselves with the Parisian underground scene, but Allen wasn't allowed to re-enter the UK after border control noticed that, as an Australian national, he had previously over-stayed on his visa. He returned to Paris and started a new band called Gong with his wife Gilli Smyth, the two of them remain the core of the band to this day, while Soft Machine continued without him. Gong have been an omnipresent entity ever since and have played at many international festivals including the second ever Glastonbury in 1971. Over 40 names have passed through it's ranks and the multiple Gong splinter bands, including Bill Bruford (King Krimson, Yes), Steve Hillage (Kahn, Mike Oldfield, System 7) and Tim Blake (├┤awkVVind). The track included here, one of Mara's picks, is 'Fohat Digs Holes in Space' from the 1972 album 'Camembert Electrique'. It's very easy to hear on this track why Gong are counted amongst the space rock originators; it begins like a scene from an alien invasion movie and quickly morphs into beautiful echoes of space sirens tempting us into the black hole. It's the kind of song where anything can happen, and when it does it makes perfect sense.

The Sangralads meet President Nixon
The Sun Lightning Incorporated started out as 'The Sangralads', who took their name from the Sangralea Valley Home For Boys in Indiana. In the band’s early years various kids who stayed in the home for wayward kids passed though it's ranks, and the only constant member, Phil Armstrong, has written an account of the band's life here. They got as far as recording a couple of singles, of which 'Mary's Kidd' was a minor hit in Southern Michigan, 1969. The final line-up was: Phil Armstrong (keyboards/vocals); Rocky Lillard (guitar/vocals); Bill Thompson (drums/vocals) and Mike Sisson (bass/vocals). This lineup recorded the track I have used here, 'Quasar 45' which was their second single. Of the four songs they recorded, it's the only one with space rock idealisms, which are nicely described by Whap Records on the back of the 45's jacket:- "Since The beginning of time man has looked into the heavens and dreamed about space. The size of space, the shape of space, the sounds of space. On July 20, 1969, Neil A. Armstrong stepped onto the moon and the United States Apollo program heralded the beginning of man's history in space. Great events in history have oft times inspired the composers of song and verse. A 21 year old musician also an Armstrong (Phillip R.) was so inspired on this occasion. QUASAR 45 is a song with the sounds of space both real and imagined. Listen carefully and you will hear the roar of a rocket launched, the monotonous din of radio signals from afar, the haunting and beautiful bass runs signifying the endless eternity of space itself. All is resolved in the finale by the faint sound of strange voices suggesting ones presence on some faraway planet. QUASAR 45, written in the Rock & Roll idiom is like two minutes and 37 seconds of modern opera. If you're with this generation you'll dig the way out and beautiful sounds of QUASAR 45."

Ronnie Montrose started out as a successful session guitarist. He was also member of the Edgar Winter Group. He played on their classic single Frankenstein, on the hit 1972 LP ‘They Only Come Out at Night’. Ronnie started up his own act ‘Ronnie Montrose and Friends’ after leaving Edgar Winter, recruiting fellow San Franciscans Sammy Hagar (then known as Sam, later of Van Halen) on lead vocals and Denny Carmassi (drums). Also invited was bassist Bill Church, who Ronnie knew since they had both sessioned with notable names like Van Morrison & Herbie Hancock. The debut s/t Montrose album kicks off with three super strong songs; Rock the Nation, Bad Motor Scooter and the hard-driving 'Space Station #5' (included here). I also previously used 'I Got The Fire' on Vol4.

Älgarnas Trädgård formed in Sweden's second largest city, Göteborg (Eng:'Gothenburg'), in 1969. The six-piece's classic 1972 album 'Framtiden ar ett Svavande Skepp, Forankrat I Forntiden' is regarded to be as good as anything from krautrock at the time and melds ethnic/archaic folk instrumentation with trance-inducing psychedelic space rock. The track I have used here is from a pothumously released collection of 1973-4 material, called 'Delayed'. Älgarnas Trädgård are another band found on the Nurse With Wound list, and members such as Sebastian Öberg were in many other well-regarded Swedish bands like Fläsket Brinner. The other members of the band were, at various times, Andreas Brandt (violin), Mikael Johansson (bass), Dennis Lundh (drums), Dan Söderqvist (guitar),  Jan Ternald (keyboards), Ulf Mårtensson (drums, 1971), Christer Öhman (drums, guitar, 1973-74), Kjell Karlgren (saxophone, 1976) and Sverre Götberg (drums, 1976).

I must thank Ian Gledhill over at Prog Archives for the following bio on Dies Irae: "Playing locally in and around clubs in southern Germany, Switzerland and France since 1968 Dies Irae, consisting of Rainer Wahlman, lead vocals/harmonica, Harald Thoma, guitars/vocals, Joachim Shiff, bass and Andreas Cornelius on drums were finally discovered by the now long defunct Hamburg record label PILZ in early 1971. They were a progressive psychedelic/blues freak band with a darker side from Saarbrucken, Germany who released just one LP and one single as well as appearing on the PILZ sampler, Heavy Christmas, in 1971 before splitting up in 1972 as a result of musical differences to form two offshoot bands, Lucy Gang and Green Wave.

Not to be confused by several metal bands which have used the name Dies Irae which literally translates to Day Of Wrath which is the title of a Latin hymn which refers to the day of judgment before the throne of God where the saved are delivered from evil and the unsaved are cast into the eternal flames, the original Dies Irae has been often compared to Black Sabbath's early sound on their LP "First" for PILZ because of a guitar/harmonica heavy blues sound with lyrical references to the occult although the vocals were far more trippier and out there. Extended psychedelic electronic collages and free form jams were also included on the sole album. 

Despite recording just one single album the band created some waves in the summer of 1971 when most German radio stations refused to play anything off their album because of controversial LSD induced lyrics with sacrilegious connotations. A wacked out, off the deep end video of 'The Trip', filmed in 8mm was, however, aired on German TV and was enough to gain them limited underground status to this day. An attempt was made in the early 90s to reform the original band again and several live tracks appeared on a live CD, “Saarock Live", recorded at a local club in Saarbrucken called Le Garage which also featured several other bands. In 1993 the band was disbanded once again, this time slipping into Krautrock folklore forever, although their single album "First” remains in demand in CD form amongst fans of heavy prog".

Next up we have a double-whammy of fun 60s garage psych, the first is a 1969 a-side from Belgian band The Mec Op Singers. Coincidentally, the first song/EP they released was called Dies Irae (1966) like the previous band here, which is speculated to have been influenced by the Gregorian chant-like sounds of the 1965 Yard Birds track 'Still I'm Sad'. I found some history of the band here in Belgian, which does not translate that well but I can at least tell that their name is a contraction of 'Mechanical Optical Singers'. If anybody wants to know more, the rhythm guitarist Guy Bodart can be found on youtube and I have seen him commenting on a few of their tracks there. 'Stop The Machine' has suitably scifi lyrics and loads of cool scifi-effect sounds. The rest of the band was Francis Lacor, Jean-Pierre Allard and Alain Vigneron.

The next slice of 60s psych is a 1967 b-side 'Don't Lose Your Mind' from Trenton, New Jersey's 'The Galaxies IV'. I found an interview with the bands drummer Alan Fowler here in which he describes their popularity and how they were invited to play at New York's Worlds Fair in 1964 and 1965. It also describes the group's success in band battles and how New York leader and politician Robert Moses declared a 'Galaxies IV Day' in the summer of 1965. The track I used here 'Don't Lose Your Mind' is a belter, full of spacey echoes and widdles, along with a manic performance from singer/guitarist Chris Holmes. The rest of the band was T.J. Tindall on guitar, Charles Brodowicz on keyboards and Len Demski on bass. They changed their name to Alexander Rabbit and made one album in 1970 called 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame (The Bells Were My Friends)' before breaking up. Here is the epic proto-prog title track.

Formed in 1974 by four students, Lightshine originated from the town of Emmerich in the lower Rhein area. Slightly out of their time, negotiations with Sky and Vertigo came to nothing, they didn't fit in with the new smoother progressive sounds of the mid-70's, so eventually they decided to publish an album themselves. Unusually, Lightshine sounded very psychedelic for a band in 1976, their personalised brand of progressive rock was heavily inspired by British bands like Family and Genesis, along with touches of early Jane, Eloy, or Satin Whale, but with a touch of Teutonic eccentricity, their twist on Peter Gabriel type theatrics is highly original, and with complex arrangements and clever (sometimes very funny) songs, it all made for an enjoyable and inventive album. But, aside from getting enough interest to repress the album a year later, Lightshine never got above the ranks of support act to the likes of Hoelderlin or Scorpions. They disbanded in late 1977.

So it's goodbye from Carl, and goodbye from me, thanks for listening and happy travels! Rich

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