Showing posts with label Esperanto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Esperanto. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Day After The Sabbath 99: Isolation Waltz (violins)

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Welcome to The Day After The Sabbath volume 99, approaching the full century! This episode brings you heavy rock and prog that uses violins. Hearing that, some of you may be thinking of making a quick exit, expecting a lot of country and folk. While there is some classical and folk influence here, I have looked also for tracks where the riffs are rock-styled, but played on violins. Showing the international appeal of the instrument, this set includes a wide spread of nationalities, including the UK, The US, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium and even Argentina.

What has the violin brought to rock music? It is certainly an instrument famed for conveying emotion, especially those of a maudlin or introspective nature. Conversely, one of the stirring qualities of violins is how they can promote speed and vitality. A versatile instrument indeed, with many available techniques like picking, bowing and strumming. Some violin runs are played so fast that they can compare easily to the most technical parts in progressive rock, or even the fastest of technical and thrash metal. Let's get fiddlin!

TRACKS
01. Saint-Preux - Le Gouffre Amer (1972)
       from album 'le piano sous la mer'
02. Sinto - Things I See (1972)
       from album 'right on brother'
03. Darryl Way's Wolf - Isolation Waltz (1973)
       from album 'canis lupus'
04. Asgærd - In The Realm Of Asgard (1972)
       from album 'in the realm of asgaerd'
05. It's a Beautiful Day - Creed Of Love (1971)
       from album 'choice quality stuff / anytime'
06. Esperanto - The Duel (1974)
       from album 'danse macabre'
07. Ñu - Profecia (1978)
       from album 'cuentos de ayer y de hoy'
08. Jud's Gallery - Catch The Fly (1972)
       from album 'swf-sessions volume 1'
09. Joe Soap - Get Out From Under (1973)
       from album 'keep it clean'
10. Zoo - Four Strings (Single version) (1972)
       from album 'i shall be free'
11. Raymond Vincent - Do It Now While You Can (1972)
       from album 'metronomics'
12. Miguel Cantilo y Grupo Sur - La Leyenda del Retorno (1975)
       from album 'miguel cantilo y grupo sur'
13. String Driven Thing - Heartfeeder (1973)
       from album 'the machine that cried'

references
esperanto-rock-orchestra.com | hannes-beckmann.de
darrylway.com | davidlaflamme.com
miguelcantilo.com.ar | metal-archives.com
gremmy-guitar.com | progarchives.com


le piano sous la mer'
Saint-Preux - 'le piano sous la mer'
The comp begins with an instrumental from the second Saint-Preux album. Saint-Preux (real name Christian Langlade - born 1950) is a composer of contemporary classical music and on his 1972 album he invited some guest musicians who added a hint of rock. On three of the tracks Claude Engel, who was in between stints of playing with Zeuhl legends Magma, played some great heavy guitar, and on Le Gouffre Amer (trans: “The Bitter Chasm”) it was accompanied by the violins of Michel Guyot and Patrice Mondon.


Sinto
Sinto - Right On Brother LP

We move on to Sinto. They were a German (München) fusion band fronted by jazz violinist Hannes Beckmann that started in 1971. They included members of krautrockers The Rattles (see Vol49), Embryo and Between. With a diverse mix of ethnicities in the band, German to African to Cuban members that Hannes met while playing in a Brazilian ballet orchestra, they made fast music with the violin taking a leading role in the riffs. “Things I See” is a great example with it’s violin shredding right up front.

Darryl Way
Violinist Darryl Way was a founding member of UK prog band Curved Air. His post-CA band “Darryl Way's Wolf” included drummer Ian Mosley who was later a member of UK 'neo prog' band Marillion, and guitarist John Etheridge who went on to join Soft Machine. Wolf made three albums of accessible prog, all lead by Way's considerable fiddling skills, and in the later '70s he made contributions on Jethro Tull's "Heavy Horses" and Gong's "Expresso II". Darryl has continued to make solo albums and his most recent was last year. This compilation's namesake, "Isolation Waltz", is noteworthy as Darryl plays a viola, which is larger than a violin and has a deeper sound. The constantly descending riff stomps it's way along to a heavy ending.

Asgaerd were one of the first bands to be signed by the Moody Blues' label Threshold. The "Asgard" of ancient North European mythology means 'castle of the gods'. The band consisted of guitarist/vocalist Rod Harrison (ex-Please and Bulldog Breed - see Vol74), vocalist James Smith and drummer Ian Snow (who were both in the excellent 'Stonehouse' - Vol29), vocalist Ted Bartlett, bassist Dave Cook and violinist Peter Orgil. One of Rod Harrison's songs, "Austin Osman Spare'', was actually recorded separately by Bulldog Breed and Asgaerd.

In The Realm of Asgærd LP (1972)
They released a 45 in 1972 containing 4 tracks, and then a year later Threshold produced their one and only LP, entitled "In the Realm of Asgaerd", which has been likened to the early sounds of US bands Kansas and Styx. The track I have selected, "In The Realm of Asgard", is an epic tale of Thor and Asgard, and the music matches this grandueur with a powerfully-orchestrated, sweeping progressive rock ballad.

It's a Beautiful Day
It's a Beautiful Day - David LaFlamme (L)
David LaFlamme was the violinist in It's a beautiful Day. Since then he's has a sideline career as a character actor "the Annoying Fiddler", appearing in Frazier, Ellen and Wings, among other shows, as the strolling musician who stands right at your table in a restaurant, sawing away on his violin. David grew up to be a soloist for the Utah Symphony.  After serving in the army he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and became an icon in the underground scene performing with people like Jerry Garcia and Janis Joplin. After his short-lived Electric Chamber Orkustra, he joined It's a Beautiful Day in 1967. The their biggest hit was "White Bird" from the 1969 debut LP.

While being a very commercial sounding band, they rocked now and again, the best example being some tunes on side one of their third album called 'Choice Quality Stuff / Anytime". This is where "Creed Of Love" is taken from, David LeFlamme's roaring distorted violin sounds great over the funky riffs of guitarist Billy Gregory and the rest of the band.

Esperanto
Esperanto 
Esperanto was the band that followed on from the earlier solo efforts of violinist Raymond Vincent, who's background will be filled in later when his track appears. His band Esperanto was a unique and complex symphonic prog band but that description does not do them service as they don't really sound like anything else I know. Their music is accessible but displays great technicality, with strings always at the forefront and musicianship to compare to any of the progressive greats of the '70s, as "The Duel" deftly shows. The track effortlessly turns on a dime from totally manic layered strings to enigmatic interludes with the ethereal backing vocals of Brigette Du Doit. The full-frontal violin attack is performed by no less than three fiddlers, with Tony Harris and Godfrey Salmon backing up Raymond Vincent.

Cuentos de ayer y de hoy
Cuentos de ayer y de hoy LP
Ñu started in Madrid in 1974, and had an adventurous outlook, incorporating flute, violin and folk influences into hard rock that had a hint of Sabbath heaviness too. On the first album, 1978's "Cuentos de ayer y de hoy"  (Trans: "Stories of Yesterday and Today"), from which I have used the opener 'Profecia', the violinist credited is Frenchman Jean François André. He is also credited on the second Ñu LP, after which it seems he left the band. Unfortunately he died in 2002.

Carlos Molina José
Carlos Molina José
The band still performs but with just one founding member, singer/flute player Carlos Molina José. In their early years the band's progress was stifled by label problems and other difficulties of maintaining a rock band in Spain at the time. I used an earlier Ñu single on the first Spanish comp (Vol39) and since then have discovered that the original guitarist Rosendo Mercado was annoyed to find he'd been replaced after returning to the band from military service in 1977, so he quit and formed Leño, another great Spanish band that I used on Vol39.

Ñu - Jean François André
The track 'Profecia' is a stunner, sounding like Tull and Sabbath on stage together. Alas, by all accounts, Ñu did not make another album like this and although becoming technically better they lost the heaviness on record and became a vehicle for Carlos Molina José. For their recent re-appearances however, their image seems to be cashing in on the huge heavy metal market that now exists.

Jud's Gallery
Jud's Gallery
We pass the halfway mark now and move on to some krautrock. Jud's Gallery came from Offenburg near Strasbourg. They formed in 1971 as a vehicle for singer/bassist Jürgen "Judy" Winter, with a revolving door line-up. During their three plus year history only one other member, guitarist Peter Oehler, was constant. The only music available is an archival release from Longhair records, which collects sessions that were recorded at Southwest German SWF Radio (now SWR) in Baden-Baden, 1972.

An interesting side story regarding this band is that Jurgen Winter successfully sued Gary Moore for plagiarism, accusing him of copying the guitar solo from their "Nordrach" track and using it on his 1990 hit "Still Got The Blues". The justification for this claim was that Gary's roadie, live-mixer and good friend at the time William Hindmarsh, did work with Jud's back on live shows in the seventies.

The Jud's Gallery violinist was Hannes Greminger, he was also in a band called Open Voice which made an album in 1984. On 'Catch The Fly' he does an amazing job of creating all kinds of spacey sounds over the band's hard krautrock, with different techniques like picking, this tune is a real trip.

John Tennent and David Morrison
Tennent & Morrison
Joe Soap
On to some more conventional rocking with a Stonesy number from Joe Soap. This band was a project of singer/guitarists John Tennent and David Morrison, who had released an album the year before as the duo 'Tennent & Morrison', which included a lot of musicians from Stone the Crows. Along for the ride came guitarist Jimmy McCulloch (Thunderclap Newman, Stone The Crows, Wings), violinist Mik Kaminski (ELO), drummer Gerry Conway (Jethro Tull, Fairport Convention, The Pentangle) and Jeff Pearce on bass.

The folk influences from some of this impressive lineup come through, but mostly the album is upbeat, fun and immediately likable rock, and rock it does in many places. Mik Kaminski's violin is not mainly at the forefront, but grooves away in perfect unison with McCulloch's cocky riffs to make it impossible to sit still listening to tracks like "Come Out From Under", which integrates the violin in a similar way to East of Eden on tracks like "Northern Hemisphere" (See Vol74).

Zoo - Hard Times, Good Times
single (1972)
Zoo was a quirky band that had elements of psych, soul, prog and jazz but is not easy to describe, having a unique sound over all. They mixed violins and a brass section in with some-times hard rock, but at all times there was a sense of fun and unpredictability. Original vocalist Joël Daydé ('68-'70) had left to start a solo career by the time of the album from which I have taken the instrumental here, "Four Strings". By now they had taken on English singer Ian Bellamy, to compete in a scene where they were sharing stages with the likes of Pink Floyd and The Nice. The violinists on Four Strings were Daniel Carlet and Michel Ripoche, and they battle it out over some heavy prog-jazz from the rest of the band.

By 1975, due to a lack of the success they had worked for, Zoo had been finished for a while. Brothers André Hervé (keyboards) and Michel Hervé (bass) started Z.O.U. with two further brothers Joel Hervé, Stephan Hervé, along with singer Maria Popkiewicz. After this André, Michel and Maria all had a spell in the afore-mentioned Magma.

Raymond Vincent
Raymond Vincent
The Belgian violinist Raymond Vincent appears twice in this volume, firstly as part of Esperanto, and here with a track from his solo album 'Metronomics'. Before both these efforts he was in the London-based Belgian pop troup "Wallace Collection". After WC split he played for a short period with Dany Lademacher and Roger Wollaert (who had both left Kleptomania), then with Waterloo's Dirk Bogaert. See the Belgian Vol61 to hear all three of these bands.

Metronomics
Metronomics LP
Metronomics was to signal the sound that he and keys man Bruno Libert would take further with Esperanto. Unusually, Metronomics was funded by, and used to promote, an alcoholic drink called Izarra, which is a popular sweet liqueur in French Basque Country and elsewhere in Europe. Metronomics is generally upbeat, and often likened to the Cantebury prog sound. "Do It Now While You Can" has lots of frantic fiddling, which is put through various effects and sounds really cool.


Miguel Cantilo y Grupo Sur
LP
Nearing the end now and the penultimate track is from an album called “Miguel Cantilo y Grupo Sur” (trans: Miguel Cantilo and South Group). The first thing that struck me about it was the mesmerising psychedelic cover art. Something with a cover like that, from Argentina in 1975, was bound to be at least interesting. I wasn't disappointed, and I was surprised that the album doesn't seem to be one of the more talked-about from Argentina, a country with a great reputation for kick-ass ‘70s rock.

Miguel Cantilo
Miguel Cantilo & ‘El Bolsón’
commune
Band leader Miguel Cantilo had been around since the ‘60s, starting out in a pop duo called “Pedro y Pablo” and continues to make music to this day. In 1975 he released the album that he was unable to realise while in the duo, making bombastic rock that he says was influenced by Led Zep and Deep Purple. As the LP’s inner sleeve pictures show, Miguel was involved with a Patagonian hippie commune called ‘El Bolsón’ at the time, and there are also lots of communally-sung folk tunes that seem to fit the imagery. In reality, only the last three tracks really rock out, but they are great! The track I have chosen, “La Leyenda Del Retorno” is one of those. It begins in rip-roaring fashion with the violin-lead riff right up front, starting as it means to go on and it does indeed have the bravado of an immediate Deep Purple track like Speed King. It reminds me strongly of another album from Argentina, "Miguel Abuelo & Nada", which I used a track from on the Latin Vol43. The Argentinian violinist was Jorge Pinchevsky. Just after this he would join Gong (there's that name again) during their Shamal LP era.

String Driven Thing
String Driven Thing - Heartfeeder LP inside
String Driven Thing is a well-known folk rock band, possibly a little too much so for TDATS, but this tune is perfect as a closer for the set. It is a dark, emotional and powerful track. The reason for this is said to be that it was written by leader Chris Adams while he was in hospital, recuperating from surgery for a collapsed lung, during which he says he was conscious while the surgeon was drilling into his breast plate.

The violinist of String Driven Thing is Graham Smith, who was also in a brief incarnation of Van der Graaf Generator simply called ‘Van der Graaf’, and contributed on the UK folk-prog Greenslade album “Spyglass Guest”.

Taken from the band’s third album, our closing track is called ‘Heartfeeder’, and that was what Chris intended the name for the album to be too. It is a harrowing track, that uses the skills of Graham Smith to beautiful, emotional effect with the ever-longing pathos of the violin. Unfortunately the record label were not happy with the disturbing direction that the music had taken compared to previous work, and the LP's title was changed to “The Machine That Cried”. They also insisted that the longer track's play times were edited down. There is an interview with Chris Adams and Graham Smith here at psychedelic baby webzine: http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/string-driven-thing-interview.html


Thanks for listening! Rich

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Friday, February 3, 2012

The Day After The Sabbath 61: In Your Room [Belgium1]

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TDATS 61 is a Collection of Belgian bands. Firstly I must thank the invaluable resource at www.belgianmetalhistory.be which assisted this fine collection, along with suggestions from members of the TDATS fb group. I shall take a quote from the afore-mentioned 'Belgian Metal History' site: "Being in a band wasn’t (isn’t?) mostly an easy thing to do over here. Those who managed to release something on vinyl had often made a lot of sacrifices to chase/reach that goal."

It would appear, as it has done for most of the regional comps I've made, that this was the case for all countries except the UK and America. The most obvious comparison I can make to this volume is the French one I made a few months back, and I would say that this one's sound has a lot less of it's country's individuality stamped upon it, for a start every track is sung in English. This of course could be partly explained by my own taste and selection process, as I have read that Belgium had very strong jazz And progressive rock scenes (the saxophone was invented in Belgium).

We start with Brussel's Waterloo, named after the site of Napoleon's final defeat in 1815, the band was also defeated after this debut album and made no more. They had a very confident proto-prog sound with strong hammond organ. Waterloo leads us nicely to the next track; who's Bass-player Jean-Paul Janssens and drummer Jacky Mauer had been members of the Brussels-based blues-rock power trio Adam's Recital, and here is their only release, the great fuzzy psych of "There's No Place For Lonely People". Aalst's Irish Coffee (see also vol8) started out as a covers band called The Voodoos who cut their teeth with a residency at a dance hall called “El Gringo” in Hekelgem. Brussels' Carriage Company had their first recognition as a very early example of Belgian hard rock band with this b-side "In Your Room". Unfortunately they courted success by becoming less heavy later on and broke up before an album was released. On to Jenghiz Khan which included Pierre Rapsat (bass guitar/vocalist) who started out in a band which also appears later, Liege's "Tenderfoot Kids". Jenghiz Khan's only album came out of the traps sounding extremely confident, with complex multi-instrument arrangements that featured equal amounts of heavy organs and guitar.

Vacation, from Charleroi, were a heavy blues power-trio who's self-financed 1971 LP “Resurrection Of Vacation” was made with tapes from a Belgian national radio (RTB) broadcast, the tracks are very raw but convey their energetic live reputation. Tenderfoot Kids, from Liege, released a string of singles in the 70s before bass player Pierre Rapsat went on to join Jenghiz Khan, mostly pop styles, they had a few rockers too, like this b-side from their final single 'Choo-choo'. Brussels band Kleptomania (meaning: "an irresistible urge to steal items of trivial value") were another example of very early Belgian hard rock, Dany Lademacher's guitar skills being especially prominent in their sound, but alas they too softened their sound later and their only album release was posthumous in 1979, three years after breaking up. From the town of Ath, Dragon stand out in this comp as purveyors of a more polished sounding later-70s sound, changing their name from Burning Light in 1976 at the point of recording their first album, in the UK. They were all multi instrumentalists and delighted in long, considered progressive Floydish compositions like "Crystal Ball" included here.

There is little information on Georgia Brown, but it's some great power-chorded heavy fuzz like The Snap Shots, and we move on to Esperanto. Raymond Vincent was Violinist leader of the London-based Belgian pop group 'Wallace Collection' and embarked on a harder-rocking career after WC split. He played for a short period with Dany Lademacher and Roger Wollaert (who had both left Kleptomania), then with Waterloo's Dirk Bogaert. He used his solo album 'Metronomics' to demo his orchestral-rock inclinations which helped him eventually to get together with like-minded musicians and make three unique sounding albums between 73 and 75, 'On Down The Road' is the first track from the 73 debut 'Rock Orchestra'. Brussel's Doctor Downtrip (later just 'Downtrip'), previously appearing on vol46, made three albums between 73 and 79. In 1970 They gained the guitarist from another Brussels band, Michael Heslop of Burning plague, and all their albums displayed pedestrian blues numbers with flashes of hard rock brilliance, but unfortunately not really enough to credit their instrumental talents. 'Truck Driver' from their 2nd album "If You Don't Rock Now" (1976) is some relentless grinding Southern-rock.

Antwerp's 'Mothers of Track' peddled a Status Quo-style boogie rock with nice grunty guitar, albeit 5 years behind the times, and finished in 1980 when half the band split to form heavy metal band, 'Killer'. I found the 'Creative Craniums' track on a funk rock comp called "Sherm Sticks And Other Nasty Joints" (highly recommended) and there is next to no information available on this one-single band. The comp ends with Mustang, a band who's roots go back to 1966 but did not release an album until 1976's “Born And Still Alive”, while being great energetic hard rock, it was a few years behind the times, though they did build up a following over those years and played their last show on October 21st, 1995 at the Parochiezaal in Rijkevorsel.

Track List:

01. Waterloo - Lonesome Road (1970)
       from album "first battle"
02. Adam's Recital - There's No Place For Lonely People (1967)
       single
03. Irish Coffee - Masterpiece / Down Down Down (1971)
       from album "irish coffee"
04. The Snap Shots - Hip Hip Hurray (1969)
       single
05. Carriage Company - In Your Room (1970)
       single
06. Jenghiz Khan - The Moderate (1971)
       from album "well cut"
07. Vacation - No War Any More (1971)
       from album "resurrection of vacation"
08. Tenderfoot Kids - Man In Black (1970)
       single
09. Mothers of Track - Motorcycle Rock (1976)
       single
10. Kleptomania - Moonchild (1971)
       from album "elephants lost"     
11. Dragon - Crystal Ball (1976)
       from album "dragon"
12. Georgia Brown - Pollution (1973)
       single
13. Esperanto - On Down The Road (1973)
       from album "rock orchestra"     
14. Doctor Downtrip (aka Downtrip) - Truck Driver (1976)
       from album "if you don't rock now"
15. Creative Craniums - C.C.K.54 (1973)
       single
16. Mustang - Kickin' In Blind Doors (1976)
       from album "born and still alive"

Thanks for listening! Rich

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