May 2002 Archives

Organ: Nekrofiilis

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Organ: NekrofiilisCD, Poko 2001 (1982)

Track list: Organ - Kaavakekauhu - Itäväylä - Kolme pennin kymmenystä - Kolme prinsessaa - Kani kertoo - Kärpästen juhlat - Peilimorsian - Aknebobbin - Regina Linnanheimon silmät - For next - Nekrofiilis - Kärpästen juhlat - Robotti - Kaavakekauhu - Kundi meikkaa - Suajele mua vähän jostakin päin - Neekerisuukkoja

Sometimes, on their faster, thumping tracks, Organ reminds me of DAF. Their sound is similar, synth sound from 20 years ago. Credit to Poko for rereleasing this Organ's only album with all three of their singles! Their first single, "Kärpästen juhlat", is also their best song if you ask me: steady drum beat, analogue synth bubbling and a vocalist with a bit too serious voice and surprisingly grim lyrics. Damn effective! Best tracks like "Organ", "Kani kertoo", "Peilimorsian", "Aknebobbin" are great, however not every track is of the same high quality. Still, this album is a must for fans of older electronic pop. ****

The Plastic People of the Universe: Pulnocni mysCD, Globus Music 2001

Track list: Pulnocní mys - a. Ruka b. Co zde sním a co zde vypiju - Mladý holky - Leze - Podvlíkacky - Vrátí se - Podél zdi a doleva - Z kouta do kouta - Zpívá - Pokousení

First, apologies to Czech readers for the lack of accents - I just couldn't figure out how to produce all the necessary characters. This band was partly responsible for the end of communist regime in Czechoslovakia. The way they were treated inspired Vaclav Havel, the current president of Czech Republic. With such merits, how about the music? Pulnocní mys, the midnight mouse, was recommended to me as an easily approached album. Well, after the initial "shock" of the uncomprehensible lyrics, the music sounds good. Comparisons are made to Zappa, Mothers of Invention, I don't know about that, but their music is definitely psychedelic and quirky. A bit progressive, maybe, interesting, no doubt. ****

Iron Maiden: No Prayer for the DyingLP, EMI 1990

Track list: Tailgunner - Holy Smoke - No Prayer for the Dying - Public Enema Number One - Fates Warning - The Assassin - Run Silent Run Deep - Hooks in You - Bring Your Daughter... the Slaughter - Mother Russia

Ah, Iron Maiden. My first step into the dark abyss of metal music, I still remember my friend forcing me to watch the video of "Be Quick Or Be Dead". Also, Iron Maiden is still my favourite heavy metal band. As this was one of the two of the Dickinson-era albums my collection was missing, I quickly grabbed it when I found the cheap lp at a Prague music shop. And what can I say? First class heavy metal. It might not be their best album, but it still has some killer tracks ("Public Enema Number One", "Fates Warning", "Run Silent, Run Deep", "Bring Your Daughter...") with some less excellent, but still nice songs. But of course, I'm bloody biased. ****

Eyes Wide Shut

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Eyes Wide Shut CD, Reprise Records 1999

Track list: György Ligeti: Musica Ricercata, II (Mesto, rigido e ceremoniale) - Dmitri Shostakovich: Waltz 2 from Jazz Suite - Chris Isaak: Baby Did a Bad Thing - The Victor Silvester Orchestra: When I Fall in Love - The Oscar Peterson Trio: I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) - Jocelyn Pook: Naval Officer - Jocelyn Pook: The Dream - Jocelyn Pook: Masked Ball - Jocelyn Pook and the Jocelyn Pook Ensemble with Manickam Yogeswaran: Migrations - Roy Gerson: If I Had You - Peter Hughes Orchestra: Strangers in the Night - Brad Mehldau: Blame it on My Youth - Franz Liszt: Grey Clouds - György Ligeti: Musica Ricercata, II (Mesto, rigido e ceremoniale) Reprise

Maestro Stanley Kubrick's last movie got a mixed response, I think. At least my opinions were mixed. The movie was disturbing, both in good and bad. There was something haunting about it. Lots of it had to do with the music, especially Ligeti's "Musica Ricercata". Jocelyn Pook's work is also excellent, her "Masked Ball" is a top class atmospheric piece. Classical pieces are complemented with jazz selections and Chris Isaak. Eyes Wide Shut is a remarkable example of high quality movie soundtrack. *****

Robert Balzar Trio: Alone

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Robert Balzar Trio: AloneCD, Cube/Metier 2000

Track list: Alone - Vinohradska Street 32 - Someday My Prince Will Come - Moon River - Quiet Now - Una Noche Con Francis - There Is No Greater Love - They Can't Take That Away From Me - Kenny - Nardis - Black Nile - In Your Own Sweet Way - Rob-in - My One And Only Love - Christiania

I admit my pretty much complete ignorance of everything about jazz. However, I've decided to embark on a journey to figure it out. So, here I am, interested of jazz and visiting Czech Republic, famous of it's great jazz bands. What could be a better souvenir, then, than an album of Czech jazz? The guy at the record store recommended few albums to me, of which I enjoyed this one most. And I do... I feel that I really can't say anything about it because I don't have the words for it. Therefore I just say that it's good. The trio (bass, piano, drums) plays smoothly, I especially enjoy the work of the drummer. One third of the songs are written by Robert Balzar, the rest are on loan. ****

Avanto 2001

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Avanto 2001CD, Avanto Recordings 2001

Track list: Kari Aronpuro: Urkertomus ("Kammottava vale") - Fennesz: Tradition Is the Handing on of Fire and not the Worship of Ashes - Alexei Borisov: Total NII - Es: Experimental Songcycles #1-5 - [The User]: LPT1 - ZGA: Miners - Toshimaru Nakamura: nimb #9.2 - Ruins: Untitled - Bas van Koolwijk: TST.04 - Jari Haanperä: Indoor Light - Comae: Portadyne - Shogun Kunitoki: 5.36 - Pekka Airaksinen: Epistemological Word Error - Sachiko M: div 1 - farmersmanual: Sonderzeichenmassaker - Circle: Sarvet - Otomo Yoshihide: FF - Op:l Bastards: Copenhagen - Semiconductor: LinEar - Keuhkot: Käynnistys on suuri hetki - Kari Aronpuro: Timokratian jänis

Listening to this CD makes me regret a lot that I didn't go to Helsinki to hear all these amazing acts live. Fortunately Circle and Ruins visited Tampere, too, so I didn't miss all the fun. Ruins definitely was fun, but that doesn't come through on this album as clearly. However, many other strange and confusing things are here to puzzle the listener. Tracks vary a lot, only common thing being their somewhat experimental nature. Most are also quite electronic. Some of my favourites include [The User], Sachiko M and Circle. This compilation probably doesn't compare at all with the real experience, but is a very interesting and quite challenging album on it's own. ****

Pan Sonic: A

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Pan sonic: ACD, Blast First! 1999

Track list: Maa - Pala - Lomittain - Joskus - Askel - Ahdin - A-kemia - Johto 1 - Havainto - Etäisyys - Aleneva - Aktiivi - Rajatila - Johto 2 - Telakoe - Särmäys - Voima

The very reason why I give A the best grade is this: the album has everything necessary and nothing else. For some reason, I enjoy Pan sonic's buzzing and clicking minimalism very much. It takes a little more than a single click to make an interesting track and the magicians Vainio/Väisänen are very skillful to figure out what that little is. Grab a good pair of headphones, crank up the volume and concentrate. *****

Dead & Gone #1CD, Trikont 1997

Track list: Leichenzug mit Blaskapelle - Banda De Tontontepec: Tres Marias - Albert Ayler: Our Prayer - Robert Wyatt: Song for Che - Brass Band and Village Drummers in the Fanti Area of Ghana: A Village Funeral - Tuxedo Brass Band: Nearer My God to Thee - Begräbniskapelle aus Saigon: Trauer-Sturmmarsch - Jopie Vrieze's Klein Bazuin: Hymn - Buck Funk & Reverend Anthony W. Reves - West Lawn Dirge / Just a Closer Walk with Thee - "Banda Musicale" der Vucciria, Palermo: Karfreitagsprozession - Serbische Blaskapelle: Begräbnismelodie - Central Band of the RAF: Marche Funèbre - Olympia Brass Band: In the Sweet Bye and Bye - Willem Breuker Kollektief: Ases Death - Sogenanntes Linksradikales Blasorchester: Trauermarsch - Mike Westbrook Orchestra: Free as a Bird - George Lewis Eureka Brass Band: The Old Rugged Cross - Tom Waits: Anywhere I Lay My Head

This is a rather macabre compilation. I don't know if it's too healthy to listen to this kind of music all day long, but if you enjoy sad music, here's a fine compilation of various funeral marches. Most of the songs are performed by various brass bands and orchestras, but there's some variation. Most touching, at least to me, is the simple "Marche Funèbre" performed by the Central Band of the RAF. The melody is familiar to most of you, I'm sure. The cd features also quite nice and humorous pictures by Josè Guadalupe Posada, you just have to love those little skeletons. They sure do lighten up the otherwise sad and serious mood of the compilation. ***

The Dead Beginners: Sinners' RebellionCD, Spikefarm 2000

Track list: Calling Ruby (Last letter to the First Lady of Jesus Christ) - Treason via Magdalene - The Wounderable One - The Paragon and the Beast of Burden - Amadeus 2000 - La Cathedra - The Illfated - Sinners' Rebellion - Dead Beginners

The Dead Beginners is pretty much the multi-instrumentalist T. Sitomaniemi, who plays all the instruments except drums and most vocals. The music is quite typical synth-backed black metal, not exceptionally furious or imaginative. However, the third track, "The Wounderable One" sounds more interesting. So does "The Illfated", which is without a doubt the best track on the album in all of it's melancholic heaviness. "Sinners' Rebellion" features the strongest vocal performance of the album - and that's what connects the three songs: they all have vocals by T. Sitomaniemi. I rest my case. Those three songs are enough to warrant a better than average grade. ****

My Bloody Valentine: Loveless

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My Bloody Valentine: LovelessCD, Sire 1991

Track list: Only Shallow - Loomer - Touched - To Here Knows When - When You Sleep - I Only Said - Come in Alone - Sometimes - Blown a Wish - What You Want - Soon

My Bloody Valentine was for a long time a band I was planning to check out. The opportunity finally presented itself in form of this cd found in the local library. Now I wish I had found it earlier. Loveless is a wonderful album. My Bloody Valentine sounds fuzzy, the guitars form a noisy, soft wall and the vocals (male and female, both silent and soft) sort of sink in that cloud of music. The result is dreamy. Single tracks don't really stand out (still, if you want to check out only one track, try "Blown a Wish" which is the high point of the album to me). Loveless is very gentle and relaxing trip. ****

Morrissey: Your Arsenal

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Morrissey: Your ArsenalCD, EMI 1992

Track list: You're Gonna Need Someone On Your Side - Glamorous Glue - We'll Let You Know - The National Front Disco - Certain People I Know - We Hate It When Our Friends Become Succesful - You're the One For Me, Fatty - Seasick, Yet Still Docked - I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday - Tomorrow

The album sounds quite different than anything made by The Smiths. However, I think Morrissey shouldn't even try to copy that. His own music is interesting enough. Of course, there's the familiar Voice. If that's what you like the best about The Smiths, Your Arsenal is quite an enjoyable fare. However, I find The Smiths musically far superior to Morrissey. Still, this isn't a bad album and there are few quite good tracks ("You're Gonna Need Someone On Your Side", "The National Front Disco", "Certain People I Know" and of course, "You're The One For Me, Fatty"). At least I find Morrissey's style interesting, he's definitely a notable singer. ***

Kroko: Furia

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Kroko: FuriaCD, Verdura 2001

Track list: On Fahrenheit And Little Bit Celsius - Ambient Ballad pt. I - Polanski After Ski - On The Sunny Side Of The Meat - Agent Weird - Liero - Bad Day For Mr. Rudiment - Sol Ist - Budala Ptiza - Bummärtti - Fire Will Bring Me Home It's What My Soul Needs - Trukki - In Your Fratze - Sweet Home Albamama - Colors + Rainbows + Teddybears - Setzur Au Naturelle - Ambient Ballad pt. II - Roikkuu Katosta

This albums starts with someone snoring and being waken by an alarm clock, after which starts the second track, Ambient Ballad pt. I. The title is some irony, as the song is quite noisy. And that's what describes the rest of album, as well. Noisy. Some of the tracks are recorded in studio, many are recorded live, some are planned, some are improvised. All are instrumental. There's one that is seven minutes long, many which are short noise bursts under one minute. Sound is generally distorted, loud and rough. There are few easier, softer tracks, but most often the sound is violent. ****

Stereolab: Switched On

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Stereolab: Switched OnCD, Too Pure/Duophonic 1992

Track list: Super-Electric - Doubt - Au Grand Jour' - The Way Will Be Opening - Brittle - Contact - Au Grand Jour - High Expectation - The Light That Will Cease To Fail - Changer

After reading an article about post rock from a Finnish music magazine and listening to one mp3 song ("French Disko"), I expected this one to be good. I wasn't disappointed. Stereolab is very close to Neu!, they have the very same motor-like, should I say Teutonic beat in their music. It's not made by machines, it's made by humans but it emulates a machine. Still, Stereolab is very organic. There's the machine beat and a damn fine groove created by drums, guitars, bass and analog synths and on top of that, very beautiful and soft female voices singing. I don't know how this could be any better. *****

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