Friday, January 15, 2010

Alcatraz - Vampire State Building (1971)

Krautrock • Germany

This album was a huge surprise for me.It's one of those obscure gems that i'm so glad i took a chance on.ALCATRAZ were fom Hamburg ,Germany and originally did covers of bands like VANILLA FUDGE,TEN YEARS AFTER,BLACK SABBATH,URIAH HEEP etc. Over time they decided they didn't want to that anymore as they became more interested in jazz avant-gardists like SOFT MACHINE,COLLOSSEUM and TONY WILLIAMS LIFETIME. When they started to compose their own material they united the jazz and rock elements.For example in the liner notes it says the band mixed music fragments of Cannonball Adderley with influences of DEEP PURPLE.I didn't hear any of the latters sound here but i love the way they combine the jazz with the raw guitar.This band refused to compromise back then with promoters,managers,record lables whatever.It was their way or no way,their music would be played and recorded the way they wanted.You can hear their thoughts about that in the lyrics of the second track.Anyway they played live with bands such as BIRTH CONTROL,IKARUS,NEU,JANE and many others. "Simple Headphone Mind" opens with drums which are joined by piano,bass and flute.This is classic jazz ,it sounds so good.Then after 2 minutes the guitar comes in changing the mood completely.This is just as good only different.These contrasts continue.The tasteful guitar 5 1/2 minutes in reminds me of Santana,sax follows.Bongos come in late.Amazing tune. "Your Chance Of A Lifetime" has lyrics which talk about the lies bands are told about becoming rich and famous by managers and record labels who in reality care nothing for them personally, in fact they're just using them for their own gain.The drums and guitar sound great early then sax joins in around a minute replacing the guitar.Incredible sound here.The guitar is back lighting it up 2 1/2 minutes in to the end. "Vampire State Building" has a good beat as sax joins in.Nice bass and drum work before 1 1/2 minutes.Guitar arrives a minute later.Drum solo 3 minutes in.Piano after 4 minutes with a different soundscape.It turns psychedelic with flute 6 1/2 minutes in.Jazzy a minute later with guitar and flute as vocals also join in.The tempo picks up 12 minutes in, then sax joins in. "Piss Off" is a good title for the "in your face" guitar and drums early on.The sax and flute start to trade solos with the guitar,back and forth with some dissonance as well. Vampire State Building is a killer release from 70's Germany underground. The band delivers a bunch of bombastic, extremely freaked out fuzzy improvisations including jazzy tendencies. Simple Headphone Mind opens the album with a surprising hippie like groovy jazz variation that features powerful piano bases, enchanting flute line and a very catchy rhythm. The break session provides endless screaming fuzzy guitar solos accompanied by a very jazzy instrumentation. Tour chance of a Lifetime is a heartbreaking, cloudy compositions for dense, spacious melodies with beautifully dramatic vocals. Where the wild things are is an hyperactive freak 'n roll piece with killer riffs, mysteriously atmospheric jazz fusion links. Piss off is a bizarre, curious, fuzzy & druggy jam making a large part to atonal guitar / sax dialogues. Change will come is a retro jazz rockin' piece including a nice groove and agitated stoned vocals. Dirty, Heavy druggy psychedelica. An important musical document.

1. Simple Headphone Mind (10:00)
2. Your Chance Of A Lifetime (5:06)
3. Where The Wild Things Are (3:03)
4. Vampire State Building (13:10)
5. Piss Off (3:18)
6. Change Will Come (6:08)

RĂ¼diger Berghan - piano, vocals
Klaus Holst - guitar
Klaus Nagurski - flute, tenor saxophone
Ronald Wilson - bass
Jan Rieck - drums, percussion

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mallard (1975)

Mallard was a short-lived '70s experimental rock band featuring several former members of Captain Beefheart's Magic Band: guitarist Bill Harkleroad (aka Zoot Horn Rollo), bassist Mark Boston (aka Rockette Morton), and percussionist/drummer Art Tripp (aka Ed Marimba), the latter of which also played in Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention for several albums, as well. Both Harkleroad and Boston had been members of the Magic Band from 1968 through 1974, when a falling out between them and Beefheart (over their unhappiness with the album Unconditionally Guaranteed), led to their exit. The trio of Beefheart graduates was joined by a host of others for their 1975 self-titled debut (including future Who keyboardist John "Rabbit" Bundrick, singer Sam Galpin, and percussionist Barry Morgan), an album that was financed by Beefheart fan Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, but was only available in the U.S. as an import. Mallard's sophomore release, In a Different Climate, was issued two years later (their first to be domestically issued), and saw Tripp replaced by George Draggota. But like its predecessor, the album failed to attract fans outside of the Captain Beefheart cult network, ultimately leading to Mallard's breakup.

1. Back on the Pavement
2. She's Long and She's Lean
3. Road to Morrocco
4. One Day Once
5. Yellow
6. Desperados Waiting for a Train
7. Piece of Me
8. Reign of Pain
9. South of the Valley
10. Winged Tuskadero
11. Peon


Bill Harkleroad G/PROD
Mark Boston B/V
Art Tripp D/PERC
Sam Galpin V/P
John "Rabbit" Bundrick P
Barry Morgan PERC

Monday, January 11, 2010

Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - Ice Cream For Crow (1982) U.S.A

1. Ice Cream For Crow (4:29)
2. The Host The Ghost The Most Holy-O (2:22)
3. Semi-Multicoloured Caucasian (4:15)
4. Hey Garland, I Dig Your Tweed Coat (3:09)
5. Evening Bell (1:58)
6. Cardboard Cutout Sundown (2:35)
7. The Past Sure Is Tense (3:17)
8. Ink Mathematics (1:39)
9. The Witch Doctor Life (2:35)
10. 81' Poop Hatch (2:36)
11. The Thousandth and Tenth Day of the Human Totem Pole (5:36)
12. Skeleton Makes Good (2:14)

Total Time: 36:45

Line-up / Musicians

- Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart) / vocals, harmonica, Soprano saxophone, chinese gongs, prop horn
- Jeff Moris Tepper / white jew, guitar, slide-guitar, steel-appendage guitar, acoustic guitar
- Gary Lucas / guitar, steel-appendage guitar, glass finger guitar, national steel dualion
- Richard Snyder / bass guitar, marimba, viola
- Cliff Martinez / drums, percussion, shake bouquet, glass washboard, metal drums

- Eric Drew Feldman / Rhodes piano, synthesized bass

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Captain Beeefheart Bat Chain Puller (Unreleased LP)

1. Bat Chain Puller
2. Seam Crooked Sam
3. Harry Irene
4. Poop Hatch
5. A Carrot Is As Close As A Rabbit Gets To A Diamond
6. Brickbats
7. Floppy Boot Stomp
8. Flavor Bud Living [Performed by John French]
9. Carson City (Owed T' Alex)
10. Odd Jobs
11. The Thousandth And Tenth Day Of The Human Totem Pole
12. Apes-Ma