3/12/16

Vinyl Dynamite #60


From today's stack o' wax: disco, moog, horror, country and EZ listening.  Enjoy.



Everything You Always Wanted to Hear on the Moog* (1972)


The title here is obviously taken from the 1972 film Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (which was taken from a 1969 book).  I happen to love the sound of the moog.  It's a great in rock/pop music (ex. "Daily Nightly" by The Monkees and "Lucky Man" by ELP), and it's great all on its own.

The number of moog LPs released in the early seventies is somewhere approaching 70 kabillion - most were covers of popular hits.  This one is somewhat unique in that it's classical music.  Here is

"EspaƱa"

"Malaguena"


From the back cover:

Were you really afraid to ask?

Somebody, at least, must have been, because such a recording has never been done before—a collection of orchestral showpieces performed entirely on the Moog Synthesizer, that awesome array of oscillators, filters and amplifiers. We think that what you wanted to hear was an album of your favorite works—pieces whose inherent brilliance and rhythmic drive make them a "natural" for this new kind of treatment. What could be more exciting than an album of Spanish music? (The consistency of our Spanish program, you will note, is marred only by the fact that Lecuona was not a French composer.)

But, to get back to those oscillators, filters and ampli­fiers : There is an all-too-common misconception that the synthesizer has a mind of its own—that it's a computer, that you plug it in and it plays music. WRONG. Although electronic, the synthesizer is a real musical instrument— it has a piano-like keyboard and a musician must play it. (In this particular case, two musicians, who also divided the tasks of score analysis, manuscript copying, and selec­tion of tone colors. It is almost impossible to remember who did what when, but Kazdin has a distinct recollection that he did all the electronic programming.)

Let it be said before going any further that every sound on this record, literally hundreds of sonorities represent­ing real or imagined instruments—and that includes the enthusiastic response of well-wishers at the end of Bolero —was made on the Moog Synthesizer.

There is one more thing that ought to be said: The Moog used for this album (is there anybody still left who doesn't know that "Moog" rhymes with "rogue"?) is capable of producing only one or two notes simultane­ously. This means that each of the melodic and harmonic threads contained in the original orchestral scores had to be played individually. Sometimes as many as twenty musical elements had to be overlayed on multi-track tape.

Does this process sound complicated?  Are our nerves a little bit frazzled? Did it take us a long time?

Don't ask.




The Magic of Kostelanetz


Man, were it not for that "2 record set" label, we might've seen something.  Oh well, at least the music isn't a disappointment.  It's exactly as you'd expect: oldies made to sound even older.  This is 1973 Zayres or Kroger shopping music through and through, and I love it.

"Fly Me To The Moon"


"Till There Was You"



This insert came inside the record:




Discopedia Vol. 2 (1979)


Truth be told, I bought this recently hoping for that "Disco Dance Step Lesson Enclosed".  Alas, no such luck.  Instead, I was left with a pretty unremarkable disco record that clearly was not meant for listening, but rather as a backdrop for dance lessons.

You can read the back cover below - there's a lot of praise and glory heaped on the recording method here.  "Masters were cut on a Scully mastering lathe" for the love of God.  But you know the old saying - "You can't polish a turd".  Indeed, this is just a pile of lackluster disco covers.

"San Francisco"/"In Hollywood" are two blended tracks from the Village People's first record (before they hit it big with YMCA, In the Navy, and Macho Man on their second record). To say they are repetitive would be stating the obvious.  I suppose, if you're coked up on the dance floor in 1978, a little manic repetition is a good thing.







The Flowers Company - Toe Tappin'


I covered this one waaaay back in Vinyl Dynamite #2; and since the music link is long since dead, I thought it deserved a repost.

I still can't find anything about the mysterious Flowers Company; according to the back cover, they'd been touring for 17 years.  Yet, I can't find anything on them at Discogs or elsewhere - which is a shame because they're really good (if you like this sort of music).

This track, "Pull Myself Together" is about a man dealing with the emotional issues of a break up and having to explain it to his child. He also reflects on his own upbringing ("...momma never loved me and my daddy never cared...") which may have contributed to his own inability to maintain the relationship. I don't know if this is an original Flowers Company tune, or a cover version.  It seems like I've heard it before, but can't find this song anywhere else, so perhaps it's a Flowers original.






Ghost Story Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1981)


Back in the grand old days of VHS, this was a regular rental for me.  The Straub book captured that Gothic vibe perfectly, and the film was, in my opinion, a worthy adaptation.  I don't think the movie gets a lot of love these days, but it really hit that "Gothic sweet spot" for me back in the day.

Well, it's probably been thirty years since I've seen it; so, it's due for a rewatch.  One thing I didn't remember was how great the soundtrack was.  It's composed by Philippe Sarde, a guy who's done his fair share of soundtracks including Tess (1979) and Quest for Fire (1981).  It's a beautiful mix of Hitchcock (i.e.Bernard Herrmann), Italian Giallo, and straight-up creepy chamber music.

Side 1
"Ghost Story"
"Accidents"
"Love Suite"
"Dementia"


Side 2
"Fright"
"Regression"
"Picnic"
"Demise"
"Finale"


5 comments:

  1. Andre Kostelanetz is sometimes called the father of easy listening/orchestral pop (while Mantovani is called the King of the genre). He was one of the first conductors to record pop music with orchestral arrnagements. He and Percy Faith sold a ton of albums for Columbia Records in the '50s-'70s. Kostelanetz was also one of the first recording artists to understand the importance of recording engineers. That's why just about every album Columbia released back then was so well recorded and sound great.

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    1. Maybe it's the red or the hat, but it looks like Beefheart's drunken follow up to Trout Mask.

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  2. "Ghost Story" was a great movie!

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  3. I had the Moog album, got it as part of a Columbia House "get 12 albums for a penny" deal. The side-long version of Ravel's "Bolero" is fun to listen to...even has synthesized applause as well. Interesting sidenote: the albums was on the Columbia Masterworks label, which was usually reserved for more conventional classical recordings.

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  4. In reference to the Moog album, "Switched on Bach" by Wendy (then Walter) Carlos was released in 1968.

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