Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Desmond Leslie ‎– Music Of The Future (1960)

Style: Space-Age, Abstract, Experimental
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Trunk Records, Musique Concrete

Theme From The Film: The Day The Sky Fell In
01.   Play In
02.   Destruction Of The Flies
03.   Invention Of The Weapon
04.   The Stranger
05.   The Stranger's Quest
06.   Finale And Play-out
Music Of The Voids Of Outerspace
07.   Asteroid Belt
08.   Mercury, Fleet Messenger Of The Gods
09.   Comet In Aquarious
10.   The Warhorns Of Mars
11.   Saturn-Chronos
Sacrifice, B.C. 5,000
12.   Dawn, Invocation
13.   Gathering Of The Elders
14.   Coming Of The Elementals, The Victim
Death Of Satan
15.   Esoteric Tone Poem

Composed By, Recorded By – Desmond Leslie

Right you lot, this recording includes all the rare music from the following: MUSIC OF THE VOIDS OF OUTER SPACE, THE DAY THE SKY FELL IN, DEATH OF SATAN, SACRIFICE B.C. 5,000. And if those little titles don’t get your juices going, you’d better read on. This is amazing unreleased oddness from 1955ish. All music by the eccentric Des Les, who wrote about flying saucers and made all the music using spinning tops, his Morris Oxford and by using what he describes as music sacrifice - by throwing a large electric fan into a piano and recording the sound. Marvellous. Bits of it sound not too dissimilar to the Aphex Twin. Insane and brilliant, insanely brilliant. Buy it now. Limited to only 500 vinyl copies so do not be suprised when you are still thinking about it and the little type to tell you it's "out of stock" and then you go drat. And get really annoyed. Hang on, wait a minute, just found a small box of ten sealed ones.

**Remastered collection of wonderfully eccentric and cinematic home-brewed concrète** Jonny Trunk says: "This is the first time this recording has ever been released. We are all very lucky. The recordings date from 1955 - 1959, and were all made, we believe, at Castle Leslie. Some of the music was later issued by the Joseph Weinburger library for synchronisation - it's difficult to trace which cues may have been used over the years but talking to Weinburgers (or JW Media as they are now known), it seems that Des was on the nag all the time, trying to annoy, intimidate or just embarrass the company into getting his Musique Concrete used. Threats normally came in the form of World War Two style Spitfire pilot talk. Anyway, here are some original liner notes from Music Of The Future by Des Les, which will give you a fine flavour of the man we are dealing with here. What a guy. 

Perry Blake ‎– Still Life (1999)

Genre: Electronic, Pop
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Naïve

01.   Sandriam
02.   This Time It's Goodbye
03.   Leave It All Behind
04.   No Lullabies
05.   If I Let You In
06.   Bury Me With Her (Julia)
07.   Still Lives
08.   Friend (You've Been Whispering Again)
09.   War In France
10.   Stop Breathing
11.   Driftwood
12.   Give Me Back My Childhood
13.   Wise Man's Blues

Cello, String Quartet Arranged By– Rosie Wetters
Strings Arranged By, Programmed By, Keyboards – Graham Murphy
Backing Vocals – Fiona McGeown 
Bass, Double Bass, Acoustic Guitar – Glenn Garrett
Drums, Percussion, Timpani – Steve Jansen
Guitar – Alan MacFeely
Piano, Organ, Keyboards – Jamie Wright
Live Strings – The Wired Quartet
Viola – Bruce White
Violin – Everton Nelson, Lucy Wilkins
Vocals, Backing Vocals, Keyboards – Perry Blake
Producer – Perry Blake, Ross Cullum

Tom Waits ‎– Real Gone (2004)

Style: Blues Rock, Lo-Fi, Experimental
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Anti-, Epitaph

01.   Top Of The Hill
02.   Hoist That Rag
03.   Sins Of The Father 1
04.   Shake It
05.   Don't Go Into That Barn
06.   How's It Gonna End
07.   Metropolitan Glide
08.   Dead And Lovely
09.   Circus
10.   Trampled Rose
11.   Green Grass
12.   Baby Gonna Leave Me
13.   Clang Boom Steam
14.   Make It Rain
15.   Day After Tomorrow
16.   Clang Boom

Banjo – Marc Ribot
Bass – Larry Taylor, Les Claypool
Drums – Casey Waits 
Guitar – Harry Cody, Larry Taylor, Marc Ribot, Tom Waits
Percussion – Brain, Casey Waits 
Producer – Kathleen Brennan, Tom Waits
Recorded By, Mixed By – Mark Howard
Turntables – Casey Waits
Vocals – Tom Waits
Written-By – Kathleen Brennan, Tom Waits

Tom Waits has made a career out of doing precisely the wrong thing. While the Beatles invaded America, he attempted to get a job as a Sinatra-style crooner at a San Diego golf club. As San Francisco turned psychedelic, he travelled to Haight-Ashbury with the intention of becoming not a hippy, but a be-bop-fuelled beatnik. When the US became dominated by the 70s west coast sound - cocaine-numbed faux-country about takin' it easy - Waits was to be found growling mournful piano ballads in which drunken low-lifes without a dime in their pockets cursed their luck while staring at the hookers through the neon-lit diner window.

With stadium rock and synthesisers to the fore in the early 80s, Waits took it upon himself to meld the dadaist blues of Captain Beefheart with raddled oompah music that would have been considered the height of fashion in Weimar republic-era Germany. Ten years later, popular culture threatened to catch up with him - you could discern his influence everywhere from Quentin Tarantino's films to the music of PJ Harvey - but the prospect of being in step with the times appeared to send Waits completely crackers: cue 90s albums full of punishing industrial noise and visions of apocalypse.

Given his history, it is somehow unsurprising to discover that Waits considers 2004 an apposite moment to abandon his piano and begin human beatboxing. There was something distinctly underwhelming about imitating hip-hop rhythms with your voice when Doug E Fresh came up with idea in the early 80s. Twenty years on, it's the province of irredeemably naff boy band members and nutcases on The X Factor. Wilfully anachronistic as ever, Waits launches into it with gusto, huffing and puffing away amid the squawking blues guitar and the squeal of son Casey's turntables on Real Gone's opening track, Top of the Hill. The effect is merely cranky and impenetrable, but by the time we reach a song called Metropolitan Glide, he has refined his technique into something impressively horrifying. His impersonations of drums now come interpolated with tortured guttural hacking noises. He sounds like a man trying to regurgitate a particularly hairy pork scratching, an image somehow given greater plausibility when you learn that Waits recorded his vocal rhythms in his bathroom.

Musically, Real Gone is as eccentric and obtuse as ever: quite aside from Waits's human beatboxing, the album features 11 minutes of muffled dub reggae (Sins of My Father) and a sort of Afrobeat sea-shanty (Hoist That Rag). Lyrically, however, it seems curiously direct. In the past, Waits has described his albums as "movies for the ears" - works of invention in which he inhabits purely fictional personas. On Real Gone, Waits's language is as rich and strange as ever - he remains perhaps the only writer in rock who can send you scuttling for a dictionary without instilling in you a deep and profound desire to slap him - and there's plenty of yarn-spinning on offer: on Circus alone, we come across characters called one-eyed Myra, Yodelling Elaine, Funeral Wells, Poodle Murphy, Mighty Tiny and Horse-Face Ethel and Her Marvellous Pigs in Satin. Frequently, however, the lyrics take on oddly contemporary resonances. Voices protest that they are merely obeying orders, or that God alone will judge their actions. Weapons keep cropping up, wielded by people who are hopelessly out of control (in Don't Go Into That Barn, someone called Everett Lee goes on the rampage while sozzled "on potato and tulip wine", something only a character in a Tom Waits song would ever consider tasting, let alone getting drunk on). Sins of My Father is not the first Waits lyric to mention gambling, but there are enough pointers in the imagery to ensure that the listener realises the game is taking place in Florida and the cards are marked with hanging chads. "Smack dab in the middle of a dirty lie, the star-spangled glitter of his one good eye," growls Waits to one of several deceptively pretty melodies buried amid the chaos. "Everybody knows that the game was rigged, justice wears suspenders and a powdered wig".

There is plenty that is remarkable about Real Gone. There are dense concoctions of unlikely musical influences. There is line after line of hugely entertaining opulent imagery. But most remarkable of all, there is the closing Day After Tomorrow, an unadorned song about a soldier writing home: "I'm not fighting for justice, I am not fighting for freedom, I am fighting for my life and another day in the world". Its power comes not from sonic shock value nor pertinence to current events, but from its uncanny sense of timelessness: it sounds like it could have been written at any point in the past 50 years, without seeming in any way hackneyed, an incredible trick to pull off. As the song and the album ends, you are left more certain than ever that Tom Waits is entirely out on his own.
Alexis Petridis / The Guardian