Friday, December 19, 2014

Five years old today - 'Heavy Christmas' and a happy new year

Unlike most previous Christmas updates, there is some music to download in this one, keep reading...

TDATS is five years old today. It's been a great ride, and it will continue to get better. I have much more music to add next year, lots of new ideas, and a lot more interviews with acts that have never been spotlighted before. If you are an obscure rock digger you will surely continue to enjoy the fruits of these searches as much as I do. As usual, drop me advice and ideas to if you feel so-inclined, or contribute at the fb group which now has almost 4000 members, wow! This year saw the creation of TDATS radio, which is still in early days and will hopefully get an upgrade in 2015 if it gets enough listeners.

Thanks to all who support, comment on, and encourage The Day After The Sabbath. Enjoy this year-end's festivities and see you again here soon!

Heavy Christmas 1971

Download from [mf] or [mg]
password:  tdats

"Heavy Christmas" is a christmas-themed krautrock sampler put out in 1971 on the Pilz label, the home at the time of bands such as Dies IraeVirusJoy Unlimited and Rufus Zuphall. Expecting such a thing to be possibly a little more than embarrassing, It really is a surprisingly excellent collection of German prog, most of which is exclusive to this record.

A1 Libido - Evolution 3:14
A2 Marcel - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen 2:35
A3 Joy Unlimited - All Heaven and All Earth are Silent 8:22
A4 Virus - Mary Meets Tarzan 1:05
A5 Dies Irae - Silent Night 5:38
B1 Libido - Come on Everybody 6:38
B2 Ardo Dombec - Heavenly Rose 3:52
B3 Dies Irae - Shepard's Song 0:22
B4 Ardo Dombec - Open Your Door, Open Your Mind 2:08
B5 Virus - X-mas Submarine 3:26
B6 Flute & Voice - Ecce Navicula 4:05

There's a couple of fun tracks from "Libido", a band seemingly created for this set that consisted of Achim Reichel (guitar, vocals) and Frank Dostal (vocals) who were the backbone of "A.R. & Machines" and earlier, The Rattles. You can hear a bit of their spacey guitars at the end of "Evolution" that is reminiscent of  A.R. & Machines.

Flute & Voice were the duo of Hans "Flute" Reffert (guitar, flute) and Hans Brandeis (sitar, guitar, vocals). Coincidentally, I have recently been speaking to Hans Brandeis, who was a guitarist in Night Sun Mournin', the earlier incarnation of Night Sun. I asked him about this record and he said:

Hans "Flute" Reffert (l)
and  Hans Brandeis (r)
Hans: How we got involved into the "Heavy Christmas" project? Well, our first album came out at the PILZ label, and at that time, PILZ obviously wanted to put out a kind of promotional recording on which all the groups of the PILZ label should be presented together. Therefore, our producer asked us if we were interested in contributing something. Of course, we were... However, I didn't want to make fun of Christmas songs, and I also did not want to follow the cliché of English song lyrics. So, I selected an old German Christmas song, which had preserved a lot of the character of Renaissance music. The only problem was that there were only German lyrics existing. But, as I said, I didn't want to have an English translation, but wanted to have them translated into Latin, instead. So, I went to see my old Latin teacher from school who translated the lyrics for me from German to Latin...

So what's the original German name of the "Ecce Navicule" song?

Hans: "Es kommt ein Schiff geladen..."  means "There comes a ship a-loaden..."
The Latin text "Ecce Navicula" means "Look there, the ship..."
For the music, we used the original arrangement for Renaissance lute, which, to make it sound a bit different, was played on a steel string guitar, but without changes. To make the piece sound a little bit weird, I added a parallel Sitar voice, and we inserted a part with voices and flutes. We tried to keep the dignity and solemnity in the song, while the other performances on the record did not do so, in my personal view. The text of the song probably comes from Johannes Tauler (1300-1361). Regarding the music, there is an interesting feature, a constant change between 6/4 and 4/4 rhythm. There are lots of different versions on YouTube, but hardly any of them really do this change. But we do...

Most of the versions on YouTube are arrangements for choir, and usually the performers try to "modernize" the song in weird ways...

"Ecce Navicula" is also used as a bonus track on Amber Soundroom's reissue of "Imaginations of Light", which was Flute & Voice's first album.

The rest is all of high quality and you can't go wrong with the likes of strong tracks from Joy Unlimited and the pipes of Joy Fleming, Marcel, Virus and Dies Irea's brutal version of "Silent Night" (yes you read that correctly).
Heavy Christmas indeed.

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  1. Happy Birthday
    Thank you for the many great posts in that time, i am not a christmas person, but i wish you a very Happy, heavy Rocking New Year


    1. Thanks, same to you, and come back for vol112 soon :)

  2. merry christmas, happy holidays, and thanks so much