Monday, October 31, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
The Free Design - Heaven / Earth
1969's Heaven/Earth is the Free Design's third album. It carries on the tradition of excellence the group's first two albums had firmly established. It was also very much of a piece with the rest of their output -- no big changes. The record is overflowing with beauty and weirdness and lush arrangements with plenty of groovy touches that instantly date the record but also give it a hipness that is lacking in other MOR vocal group records.
However, the true genius of the band is the fresh clear voices of the Dedrick siblings and the way Chris Dedrick arranged them. Tunes like the swinging "Now Is the Time," the witty and alarmingly cynical "2002 - A Hit Song," and the quietly inventive version of "If I Was a Carpenter" have sublime and unusual vocal harmonies that soar and swoop like psychedelic eagles, always surprising and often breathtaking.
Some of the other tracks here worth mention are the sweet samba of "My Very Own Angel, Girls Alone," which features Sandy and Ellen harmonizing over a full big-band arrangement, and the moody and quite amazing "Dorian Benediction," which manages to sound like the Electric Prunes with Miles Davis sitting in and the hippest monks on earth chanting along. Heaven/Earth is worth a listen by anyone who likes vocal harmony and the sweet, innocent sounds of sunshine pop.
ALL PSYCH RECORDS ARE 20% OFF THIS WEEK!
Monday, October 24, 2011
Vangelis - Blade Runner Soundtrack
The Blade Runner soundtrack was composed by Vangelis for Ridley Scott's 1982 film Blade Runner. It is mostly a dark, melodic combination of classical composition and synthesizers which mirrors the futuristic film noir envisioned by Scott. Several different albums have been made, some including tracks omitted from the final cut, or new tracks in the same style.
An orchestral rendition of part of the soundtrack was released in 1982 by the New American Orchestra. However, the original soundtrack album (1994) features vocal contributions from Demis Roussos and the sax solo by Dick Morrissey on "Love Theme". The track "Memories of Green" from Vangelis' 1980 album See You Later was also included. A new release made in 2007 includes a disc of new music inspired by the film.
The film also features "Ogi No Mato" ("The Folding Fan as a Target" on Traditional Vocal and Instrumental Music from Nonesuch Records) by the Japanese group Ensemble Nipponia, and harpist Gail Laughton's "Pompeii 76 A.D." (from Harps of the Ancient Temples).
The original soundtrack release was delayed for over a decade, until 1994, despite the music being well-received by fans and critically acclaimed—nominated in 1983 for a BAFTA and Golden Globe as best original score. Also, there was the promise of a soundtrack album from Polydor Records in the film's end titles. The 1989 compilation Themes included some tracks from the film, but it was not until two years after the 1992 Director's Cut of the film that the score saw an official release.
ALL SOUNDTRACKS AT BACKSPIN ARE 20% OFF THIS WEEK!
We'd just like to thank all the people from across the globe who came to check out Friends of Sound and BackSpin during the Austin Record Convention this past weekend! We hope you found some gems. It was a blast for us and we look forward to the next one in April 2012.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Bennie Maupin - The Jewel In The Lotus
Recorded in March 1974, this album comes about six months after Priester's album, and in a few tracks resembles a minimalist version of some the textures explored there. Don't be looking out for the funk here - this is a more spiritual, atmospheric affair, with cascades of chord clusters from various instruments, and sparse percussion - "beds" of heavily structured sound over which the players minimally improvise. It's not "free jazz" - even on the raw soundscape of "Excursion", there's still an impeccable structure to control the dynamic flow. It's the perfect setting for Bennie Maupin to get into the subtle ranges of his high register reeds.
Whereas other "Bitches Brew" veterans tended to either emulate Miles Davis or run screaming into a more controlled jazz-funk, Maupin's lesson, compositionally, seems to have been to extract some order from the chaos, perhaps somewhat like Teo Macero ...
Maupin was the only player from Hancock's Mwandishi band to continue on to the Headhunters, and here he utilises players from both bands. A year after the phenomenally successful, electrified "Head Hunters" album, Herbie Hancock's tweaking the inbuilt delays on his fender rhodes to add to Maupin's soundscapes on the title track. Some of the textures in Maupin's songs are so subtle that the white machine noise coming out from the rhodes' phaser itself becomes a texture. Hancock also seems to be enjoying the opportunity to explore percussive dynamics once again on his acoustic piano - listen to his playing around Maupin's multitracked winds in "Past Is Past".
Bill Summers - the man who blew into beer bottles at the start of "Watermelon Man" on "Head Hunters" - is very at home as he mixes bells, cymbals and even garbage cans with Maupin's glockenspiel and Frederick Watts' marimba. Drummer Billy Hart and bassist Buster Williams return from the Mwandishi band, and guest Charles Sullivan supplies gentle muted trumpet to "Mappo" and some crazy squeals to the general chaos of "Excursion".
This is an album that gets better with repeated listens - I listened through a few times today when ripping and converting, not having heard it for several years, and once again I'm really taken with the colours that this group of people create together.
COME CHECK OUT ALL OUR NEW STOCK AND DEALS LEADING UP TO THIS WEEKEND'S RECORD SHOW!!!!!!
Monday, October 17, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
TONIGHT: Friends of Sound Records own BSears DJs alongside Joshua LaRue (Breakaway Records) at The Volstead (1500 E 6th St). 10PM-2AM. Good records, good people, and good vibes. Come out and dance.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Freddie Robinson - At The Drive In
Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Freddie Robinson was raised in Arkansas and moved to Chicago in 1956. Inspired as a guitarist by Joe Willie Wilkins, he first recorded that year. In 1958, he began touring with Little Walter, and after seeing a jazz band perform was inspired to learn music formally at the Chicago School of Music. He also began working with Howlin' Wolf, recording with him such notable blues classics as "Spoonful", "Back Door Man" and "Wang Dang Doodle".
In the mid-1960s, he played with R&B singers Jerry Butler and Syl Johnson, before joining Ray Charles' band in Los Angeles. In the early 1970s, he worked with English blues bandleader John Mayall, playing on the album Jazz Blues Fusion. He also recorded two albums in his own name - At The Drive In and Off The Cuff for Stax Records.
ALL BLUES RECORDS ARE 20% OFF THIS WEEK!
The Brian Jonestown Massacre - One EP
The Brian Jonestown Massacre is an American eclectic musical group led by Anton Newcombe, whose music spans multiple genres including psychedelia, electronica, folk music, blues and experimental music. The name "Brian Jonestown Massacre" is a portmanteau of The Rolling Stones' founder and guitarist Brian Jones and the infamous mass cult suicide in Jonestown, Guyana.
Newcombe defines the term 'psychedelic' as "mind-expanding," and BJM's output is generally referred to as such because of the revivalist nature of the music. Elements of Middle Eastern and Brazilian music are also apparent, along with influences by 1960s classic rock artists.
ALL INDIE RECORDS AT BACKSPIN ARE 20% OFF THIS WEEK!
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Great American hippie folk-rock with certain pop and psych inflections, released on Roulette label 1970; reminiscent of Pearls before Swine / Tom Rapp.
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Monday, October 3, 2011
Da Bush Babees - Gravity
Da Bush Babees is a group of underground hip-hop artists loosely affiliated with the Native Tongues. The three grew up in Jamaica and Trinidad, and hence reggae strongly influenced their style, but it was in 1992 in Brooklyn, NY that the group formed. After their early concert dates attracted major-label interest, the trio performed live office auditions and signed with Reprise three months after launching the group.
Their second album, Gravity (1996), was the group's first underground and commercial success. Its lead single, "The Love Song", was produced by Posdnous of De La Soul; that single also featured a then-unknown Mos Def singing the chorus.
ALL HIP-HOP RECORDS AT BACKSPIN ARE 20% OFF THIS WEEK!