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Odesza‘s Harrison Mills steps in for this week’s Essential Wax a few days before he drops ‘A Moment Apart’ on September 8. ‘A Moment Apart’ moves into expanded territories, creating a dreamy, stirring hybrid that owes as much to Motown and ‘60s surf music as it does to electronic forebears such as Four Tet, M83, […]
The 21st 78Man podcast features records from just one label-Durium Records, which was in existence for less than a year in 1932/3, and released one sided 2 track cardboard flexi discs. It can be heard on Itunes Here or Soundcloud Here . All the tracks on this podcast are by The Durium Dance Band and tracks heard are :
- Just Humming along (released as Track 2 on EN 13)
- One hour with you/What would you do (EN 14)
- Gipsy Moon (Track 2 on EN 16)
- Round the Marble Arch/It’s that little extra something (EN 17)
- It ain’t no fault of mine/The echo of a song (EN 19)
- Lovable/Foolish over you (EN 21)
- I do like a game of football/Underneath the arches (EN 36)
Durium Records was a short lived label, only releasing records between April 1932 and January 1933, on single sided cardboard flexi discs, with two songs per side. Released on a Friday (pay day for most UK workers), the records cost just 1 shilling (5p in new money, or around £3.20 in todays money when inflation is taken into account), and were usually sold at newspaper stands rather than conventional record shops. The name of the label came from a synthetic resin, invented in 1929 by an American professor, Dr. Hal Trueman Beans, which was used to cover the playing side of the record, making it possible to stamp the grooves onto the cardboard disc. Durium Records were based in Slough, and as well as releasing records in the UK, also exported to several European countries, such as Germany, Norway, and Denmark. The label ceased production in January 1933, the last release being EN 44, which comprised “Let’s all be fairies”/”Toasts”. Although the EN series was the main one, there were a few other catalogue series, such as BD, F and M, bringing the total number of UK releases to around 75. Although the majority of Durium’s releases were credited to the Durium Dance Band (a catch all name used by various artists), there were also a few releases by the American Jack Norman’s Orchestra, and Carson Robison & his Pioneers, and one-off releases by Tommy Handley, Terry’s Quick changers, Morton Downey and Orchestra, and the Cuvelier Accordion band.
Now in its 13th year, Jan Bang and Erik Honoré’s PUNKT festival continues its path finder mission to melt genre boundaries with the ‘leveller’ of a live remix, performed by nearly every artist involved. Yet, anyone who’s witnessed this sonic alchemy will attest that an immediate reinterpretation of another, often revered, musician’s music is equal parts inspiring and daunting. It may well be second nature to live sampling savants like Bang and Honoré, and their brothers in electronically-treated bitches brewing, but not so much to this year’s artist-in-residence, old school über-producer Daniel Lanois. It was his task to remix Aussie avant-jazz soundscapers The Necks (below), who were strangely front-loaded on the bill with an early evening performance that still managed to gain its own gravitational pull: Chris Abrams’ diaphanous jazz-inflected piano chiming over Tony Buck‘s sleigh-bell rhythms and bassist Lloyd Swanton adroitly bowed bass. By all accounts less bombastically rhythmic than they can sometimes be, The Necks used their 45-minutes of freedom to the max, building a rolling momentum that saw a single chord engorge to rippling waves of piano arpeggios, rumbling bass thrums and broiling drums, eventually breaking into a soft tidal calm, washing over the crowd.
A promising opening gambit for a night of improvised music making then. Yet, Lanois (below) and his extremely talented bass-and-drums team of Jim Wilson and Kyle Crane, seemed unable to shift into the imposingly open space left so graciously by The Necks, as a sample from the bass and some piano soon become subsumed in some distinctly pub-rock like jams, which chugged to an abrupt halt in about a third of their allotted ‘remix’ time. Disappointing this may have been, but Lanois did redeem himself the following day with his own blues-rock powered set the following night, which included some effective sweetly harmonised vocals between himself and bassist Wilson. What Lanois’ appearance (following those of Brian Eno, Laurie Anderson and David Sylvian) at this small, perfectly formed and influential festival underscores is the risk of inviting a ‘celebrity’ musician to participate in this most mercurial of experimental events.
The Saturday evening programme was bookended by two sets from impishly brilliant trumpeter/singer Arve Henriksen (pictured top and bottom) who seems incapable of playing or uttering a note that doesn’t cut straight to the heart. Opening with his Towards Language band of Bang and Honoré, and ubiquitous guitar-soundscapist Eivind Aarset, the group acted more as a single entity, as deep chordal swells mingled with hushed trumpet lines and strangely funky electro pulses. This was given an emphatically minimalist remix by arch Brit experimentalist and author David Toop (who’d dazzled the previous day in startling duo with Sidsel Endresen, pictured below) and filed recordings fiend Jez riley French, before the PUNKT Ensemble of young players effectively emulated their ambient jazz heroes a little too closely to really stand on their own merits. The ensuing remix was dryly minimalist thanks to French electronica artist Yann Coppier‘s wry sense of space and texture which melded into the crunching, off-kilter grooves of Peter Balden and DJ Strangefruit.
With Lanois’ Trio burning through the midnight oil in the first part of their set, the final tunes saw guitar and bass supplanted by keyboard and synth-bass as Lanois played samples of his desert home, demonstrating he’s not immune to exploring deeper moods beyond artfully sculpted stadium rock. Thankfully it was Henriksen who was afforded the last word, literally googling Lanois’ lyrics to speak and sing them over the final remix with drummer Audun Kleive (below) joining the Nordic throng.
The trumpeter’s preacher-style declamations and gravelly nuanced annunciation lent Lanois’ words a haunting, prophetic gravitas. Henriksen‘s ability to pluck beauty from the virtual air and throw it into the evening’s six-hour music marathon with samurai-like skill and timing is redolent of an artist who’s used to creating musical poetry on-the-edge and in the moment.
– Mike Flynn
– Photos by Petter Sandell
Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon is loaded with innovative musical ideas that set high expectations for how epic a rock studio effort could be in 1973. It was Pink Floyd’s first concept album as the lyrics cohesively revolved around heavy themes like mental illness, mortality, and greed. Instrumentally, it’s sound collages and extended jams reinforced the lyrical content and would influence all psychedelic and progressive rock records in its wake. Fortunately, the group and their engineer Alan Parsons had access to the new 16-track mixing technology and new synthesizers like the EMS Synthi AKS, which created the texture of their cosmic universe.
Dark Side of the Moon was purposefully sequenced into two vinyl sides as two symphonic movements— the band’s performance gradually crescendos until they hit a climax at the end of the first and beginning of the second. “Money” opens the second side in a refreshing way— it’s accessible riff brings you back to earth after Clare Torry’s experiential vocal performance on “The Great Gig in the Sky” and its shift from 7/4 to 4/4 time inspires an exhilarating performance. It’s the perfect combination of their homemade cats register samples, and their seemingly effortless ability to craft groovy riffs. Bassist Roger Waters and guitarist David Gilmour play together with a chemistry you can feel, and it becomes even more tangible with a great hi-fi.
When composing the album, Waters was inspired by John Lennon’s debut solo effort, Plastic Ono Band. “Well Well Well” is the most aggressive guitar-driven track on the album that questions both the world and his relationship with Yoko Ono. Waters admired Lennon’s straight-forward and raw writing style and applies its bluesy bars to “Time” and “Money”.
Tame Impala are the juggernauts of psychedelic music today— their performances take listeners into another stratosphere with Kevin Parker’s saccharine falsetto and the band’s jammy song structures. “Mind Mischief” is built with the same guitar-bass synthesis as “Money” with a sugary melody and a lush combination of synthesizers. Its main adrenaline-fueled riff is psychedelically-manipulated throughout the track, and the hazy chaos they craft in the middle of the track is similar to “Any Colour You Like”.
The Flaming Lips use the same types of tools along with string orchestra samples to build “Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell”. The band brings Floyd’s style of psychedelia into an indie context and combines a dominant bass line with some acoustic guitar strums, stunning string arrangements, and quirky synthesizers that travel from ear-to-ear. Similar to both Tame Impala and Pink Floyd, “Ego Tripping” feels like a continuously evolving beast that becomes more beautiful and complicated as multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd rotates experimental and classic samples under Wayne Coyne’s lyrical advice to not let life pass you by. They also covered Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety and released it as a studio album in 2009!
Dark Side of the Moon transports its listeners into another world whilst still posing the problems of real life within a musical context. A hi-fi listening experience makes it feel even more immersive and revelatory. “The dark side of the moon itself is an allusion to the moon and lunacy,” said David Gilmour in past interviews. “The dark side is generally related to what goes on inside people’s heads— the subconscious and unknown.”
Full information on our involvement at Rock Mountain Audio Fest including album timings and ticket packages can be found here.
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- Bells of Normandy by Harry Hudson’s Melody Men with Max Klein (Xylophonist) (Originally released by Edison Bell Radio (1493) in 1931.) Harry Hudson was born in 1898 and began his musical career as part of a double act with fellow singer Stanley Kirkby in 1915. Their association carried on until the mid ’20s. In 1928 Harry Hudson (with his band The Melody Men) started recording for the Edison Bell Radio label, and over the next few years released many records for the label, including “I want to be alone with Mary Brown”, “Misery Farm”, “Moscow”, “Mickey Mouse” and “One little raindrop”. He and his band also recorded under various pseudonyms-Rolando and his Blue Salon Orchestra, Radio Melody Boys, The Blue Jays, and Tanzoni and his Orchestra. Hudson remained active musically until the 1960s, and died in 1969.
- La Vie en rose (Take me to your heart again) by Gracie Fields (released by Decca (F. 9031) in 1948. Gracie Fields was born 9 January 1898 in Rochdale and christened Grace Stansfield. She made her first stage appearance at the age of 7 and made her first recordings for His Master’s Voice in 1928, recording one of her biggest hits, “Sally” for them in 1931. In 1935 she moved to Rex Records, her first release for the label being “When I grow too old to dream”/”Turn ‘Erbert’s face to the wall, Mother” on Rex 8557. She recorded for both Rex and Regal Zonophone until moving to Decca in 1941. During this time, of course, she also appeared in several films, including “Sally in our alley” (1931), “Sing as we go!” (1934), “Look up and laugh” (1935), “Queen of hearts” (1936), and “Shipyard Sally” (1939). Gracie spent most of her later life living on the Isle of Capri where she died on 27th September 1979. La Vie en rose was written in 1945 and became one of Edith Piaf’s best known songs. Other cover versions of the song have been recorded by Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Donna Summer and Grace Jones.
- Ecris Moi by Tino Rossi (released by Columbia (DF 2377) in 1938). Tino Rossi was born in Corsica in 1907 and went on to become one of France’s biggest ever selling singers, as well as appearing in over 20 films. He died in 1983.
- Passe by Jean Sablon (released by Brunswick (03872) in 1946). Jean Sablon was born on March 25 1906 to a musical family-his father was a composer and his siblings were also musicians. He started as a pianist but switched to become a vocalist, making his debut aged 17 in cabaret in Paris. During the ’20s and ’30s he toured extensively, achieving fame in Brazil and the USA, where he later had his own radio show in 1946/7. He also appeared in several films including “The story of Vernon and Irene Castle” (1939), “Miranda” (1948), and “Je connais une blonde” (1963). His popularity in both the UK and USA meant he recorded in both French and English, some of his English recordings including “Can I forget you” (1937), “Two sleepy people” (1939) and “My foolish heart” (1950). He died on February 24 1994.
- The poor people of Paris by Winifred Atwell (released by Decca (F. 10681) in 1956). Winifred Atwell was born in Trinidad and Tobago in 1914. She studied pharmacy as her parents were pharmacists, but also played piano, gaining popularity locally. In 1946 she moved to London to study at the Royal Academy of Music. She soon started playing live dates, and made her first BBC Radio appearances in late 1946, although it wasn’t until 1951 that she was signed to Decca and started making records. Her first major hit came in late 1951 with her fourth release “The Black and White Rag”/”Cross hands boogie”, released before the UK singles chart started in 1952. During the rest of the ’50s she had 15 UK chart hits including two number ones-“Let’s have another party” (1954) and “The poor people of Paris” (1956). Other notable hits included “Britannia Rag”, “Flirtation Waltz” and “Port au Prince”. As well as her UK success, she was also hugely popular in Australia, and moved there in the 1970s, by which time her career in the UK had waned (although “The Black and White Rag” was heard regularly as the theme to TV show “Pot black”.) She also had a property in Trinidad where she often stayed . She died in 1983.
- Nuits de Paris by Georges Ulmer (released by Columbia (DF 3182) in 1947). Georges Ulmer was born in Denmark in 1919, but grew up in Spain before finding fame in France as a singer and song writer. His most famous song, Pigalle, has been covered by Bing Crosby, Petula Clark, Paul Anka and Jean Sablon, among others. He also appeared in around a dozen films during the ’50s and early ’60s. He died in 1989.
- Le barbier de Palermo by Jaques Helian et son Orchestre (released by Pathe (PG 359) in 1950.) Jacques Helian was born in 1912 in Paris. He began his musical career in the early ’30s as a saxophonist for Roland Dorsay’s Orchestra, but after being made a prisoner of war from 1940-1943, he formed his own orchestra. He initially recorded for Columbia, releasing dozens of records for them between 1945 and 1949, before moving to the Pathe label. His Orchestra disbanded in 1957, although Helian performed until the early ’80s. He died in 1986.
- The Sunshine of Marseilles by Cavan O’Connor (released by Regal (MR 44) in 1930). Cavan O’Connor was born (as Clarence O’Connor) in Ireland in 1899, but his family moved to England shortly after his birth. He served in the First World War but was injured and demobbed aged 16, and he began his singing career. By the mid ’20s he was appearing in minor roles on stage, in musical theatre and operas, and made his first radio appearance for the BBC in 1925. A couple of years later he began his recording career, first for the Broadcast label, then Regal, Regal Zonophone, Rex and Decca. His records include “Goodnight, Sweetheart” (1931), “My heart is always calling you” (1934), “Shannon River” (1940), and “Little town in the Ould County Down” (1948). He carried on performing until the ’80s, and died in 1997.
- Un Refraint Courait dans la rue by Edith Piaf (released by Columbia (4004 F) in 1950.) Edith Piaf was born on 19th December 1915 in Paris. Her father was a street performer of acrobatics, while her mother was a singer in cafes. She was abandoned by her mother soon after birth, and when her father enlisted in the army in 1916 he gave Edith to his mother, who ran a brothel in Normandy. In the late 1920s her father was again working as a street performer and she joined him, and began singing. In 1935 she started singing at Le Gerny’s club off the Champs- Elysees where she was given the nickname La Mome Piaf (The little sparrow). This led to her first recording contract. Over the next decade she became one of the biggest stars in France, and after the war ended in 1945 her fame spread internationally. Piaf had an eventful life, which has been dramatised in several films, most recently and successfully in 2007’s “La Vie en Rose”, named after one of her most famous songs. Piaf carried on working until her death in October 1963 and some of her most famous songs were from relatively late in her career-“Milord” in 1959, and “Non, Je ne regrette Rien” and “Exodus” in 1961.