Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Heart Still Beating – Roxy Music [#574]

Roxy_Music-Heart_Still_BeatingBryan Ferry and chums sleaze their way through an hour and 8 minutes of live music recorded in Frejus, France, 1982.

This is Roxy Music’s third live album complete with saxophone fellatio from Andy Mackay and guitar wanking from Phil Manzanera though surprisingly it was not released until 1990.

I think by this time Ferry’s pals had had enough of the whole lounge lizard vibe and were starting to look at future career prospects. Indeed, the album Avalon, the promotional tour from which Heart Still Beating is a recording, was to be the band’s last. Although technically, they did what most successful bands do and they did release several live and best of compilations after. Indeed, Ferry had only just got started and he wanted to stay afloat and even at the grand old age of 71 (at time of press) Ferry still oozes across the stage with his performances like some leery lecherous old granddad who’s got his eye on your twenty-year-old daughter. And not just for the job as his secretary.

Heart Still Beating as an album covers a nice range of Roxy Music’s work while also focusing on their more relatively modern love songs compared to their saxophone riddled earlier works. A good start for those unaware of Roxy Music’s historical bag of tricks and those wanting to see what that old rascal Ferry has to offer.

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Gothic Spleens – Dead Can Dance [#544]

UnknownAs we finally come out of the (reduced) gothic compilation portion of the project, we see the peaks of “Greatest Hits” ahead of us but until then there are a few more albums we need to visit.

Gothic Spleens is another bootleg album for Neoclassical/Goth group Dead Can Dance. Recorded from a live radio broadcast from Hamburg’s  Musikhalle in 1990. It has a similar track listing to Golden Age but certainly doesn’t disappoint. Even if we’ve heard it all before.

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Goodbye Mr Pink Floyd – Roger Waters [#538]

goodbye-mr-pink-floydSeen by many as Water’s two fingered salute to the band that still to this day makes him a pretty packet of royalties, Goodbye Mr Pink Floyd is a live bootleg concert compilation album recorded in Canada in 1987.

The album features Waters performing Pink Floyd faves from Wish You Were Here, Dark Side of the Moon, Animals, Final Cut and The Wall with only Radio Waves and The Powers That Be from his solo album Radio K.A.O.S (which doesn’t feature on the music project).

Probably just to show Waters era Floyd was a golden age. Seeing as he wrote most of it.

 

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Gong Est Mort, Vive Gong – Gong [#537]

Gong_Gong_Est_MortWhile, Pierre Moerlen’s Gong were churning out jazzy numbers and being all “normal” and long after teapots were flown about by pixies and Zero the Hero’s head floated up the vagina of a witch, Daevid Allen and chums had a bit of a break and entered a period of releasing “best of” compilations, live gig recordings and other such lazy productions.

Gong Est Mort, Vive Gong is one such live compilation from Allen’s Gong. Included are tracks from Flying Teapot and Angels Egg as well as a few tracks from You from the Radio Gnome cycle and some from Camembert Electrique.

Unfortunately, there is a wife imposed jazz embargo at Gnomepant’s cottage at present, so I am unable to report on the more jazzy tracks, however I did manage a good listen of the less jazzy tracks, and, do you know? I wish I had gone to see the band back in 1992.

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Golden Age – Dead Can Dance [#536]

goldenagegifMore neoclassical caterwauling from Brendan Perry with added woeful wailing from Lisa Gerrard in this compilation of bootlegged performances from across Dead Can Dance’s “Golden Age”.

I think the compiler chose anything prior to the world music influenced Into the Labyrinth as the band’s “golden age” to select songs from. Of course, they may have compiled it before that album was released. Who knows?

Tracks listed include In Power We Entrust the Love Advocated, Oman, Toward the Within and my favourite, Rakim amongst others. All lovingly performed by the gang in Paris 1988 and Hamburg in 1990.

 

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Geek Freak Stadium – Ban Jyang [#513]

51bsuZeDOoLWay back in the early days of internet and Windows Millenium, I obtained a compilation CD from an innovative music website known as Peoplesound. The idea behind Peoplesound was years ahead of its time, crowd funded/supported bands could sell their EPs, demos and albums via the site and hipsters everywhere could potentially discover artists years before anyone else. I claim that privilege with Mull Historical Society and Sugarplum Fairies. Another band I had hoped would blossom into something else was Ban Jyang.

Loud, brash and similar sounding to Rage Against the Machine, Ban Jyang had three albums to buy. Of course £10 an album was a lot of money to fritter away on music, so I bided my time until I could afford to buy them.

Unfortunately during this time, the band imploded. Folding in on itself, they vanished from Peoplesound. Previous searches had revealed a website but this had been hacked and warning messages appeared whenever it was visited. Eventually that too disappeared and along with it the “free to download” back catalogue of the band.

So more than “they were an artist who sound like Rage Against the Machine”, I am unable to tell you but remnants of their work remain on the internet. For instance you can still buy this album via Amazon and their MySpace page is still live (https://myspace.com/banjyang/music/albums).

Geek Freak Stadium is a live compilation of “hits” from their other albums Weirdo Side Effects and Religious Love Hater, possibly recorded at a gig they probably did sometime somewhere. It sounds like it’s really popular but then I suspect they just added a cheering audience backing track in the studio.

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From Wishes to Eternity – Nightwish [#503]

Nightwish_from_wishes_to_eternity1Scandinavian rock valkyries again, this time with a live set featuring Nightwish’s pre-breakup line-up and Tarja Turunen.

The album is a live recording of a concert performed in Tempere in 2000 and was originally released as a limited CD run and released in DVD format with footage of the actual gig. It features a number of my favourite tracks from across the Nightwish catalogue.
I was never at the gig. Nor am I likely to want to go to a Nightwish gig these days. But, like with all live albums, I can play it really loud while standing in the garden in the dark and pretend I’m at the gig whenever I like.

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From Oblivion – Pink Floyd [#500]

Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 10.39.49Bootlegs bootlegs bootlegs. They killed live music you know.

From Oblivion is a compilation of bootleg recordings of gigs by Pink Floyd. Only this isn’t. The album in my collection is labeled From Oblivion but looking at track listings around the internet, we have the correct track listing for the first 4 tracks then completely gaga for the rest which appear to be bootlegs from the Dark Side of the Moon tour.

Still. Good music. And, whenever I feel like I want to go to a Pink Floyd concert, I can bob this on the stereo, go and stand in the far side of the room, turn the lights off and charge myself £80 for the privilege.

 

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Forever & Ever – Fields of the Nephilim [#487]

R-571075-1165231721.jpegMore brooding beats from the cadaverous cowboys that are Fields of the Nephilim taken from the soundtrack of their video release Forever Remain.

I suspect after Ginger Chris’ cassette finally drove the music industry into an irretrievable spiral of descent, my enthusiasm for music waned too. As I wandered around the global car boot sale that was the early internet of 2004-2010, I would pick up remnants of forgotten things called albums from the digital flotsam and jetsam and store them for humanity on my hard drive. If it wasn’t for my actions I’m fairly certain the music industry would have been completely destroyed by home taping.

Forever & Ever is a rip of a live video album and features many of FONs “greatest hits”, all favourites of mine. I could have quite happily left my appreciation of the band there but subsequent releases enticed me in with the promise of good music. I suppose by then, the zeitgeist had leaked from the loosely sealed bottle of life and I began to realise that the new rules and flavours brought about by the demise of the music industry were bitter and unpalatable.

 

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Exposed – Mike Oldfield [#443]

Exposed Mike OldfieldHi there! Steelrattus again, on day 5 of his 10 day guest stint on Stegzy’s Music Project.

Today’s album, Mike Oldfield’s Exposed (1979). This is the second of the two that I vaguely know in this 10 day stint. This one is a bit more vague that the previous, Trevor Jones’ Excalibur OST, as I don’t actually own Exposed. Coincidentally I have covered another Mike Oldfield album, Discovery, while guest posting on SMP, and double coincidentally I didn’t own that album either. Call yourself a Mike Oldfield fan?!

Whereas Discovery is a proper studio album, Exposed is one of only two live albums that Oldfield released, with the first being an orchestral version of Tubular Bells. This live album again features Tubular Bells, unsurprisingly with it being his most popular album, and also Incantations. Just to further highlight how much of a rubbish Mike Oldfield fan I am, I don’t seem to own nor do I remember listening to Incantations (1978), which is his fourth studio album. Having listened to the live version perhaps that’s understandable, as I didn’t find it very good. To round off the album there’s a short track called Guilty, which was just a single release, during Oldfield’s disco phase apparently (!). The album was recorded during a European tour in 1979, although apparently the musicians supporting Oldfield on the tour did not know they were being recorded. A DVD was released much later on, in 2005.

I’ve sort of already covered my view of the album. Tubular Bells is fab. I found Incantations rather weak and minimal. Guilty definitely has that Oldfield feel to it, and yes it is oddly disco. Generally speaking I don’t tend to enjoy live albums, as typically they’re somewhat worse versions of a mix of studio tracks. Exposed is pretty much this, but I would listen to it, if stuck on a desert island with nothing else. As always, YMMV.

Here’s Guilty, put on your disco pants!

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European Tour 2005 – Dead Can Dance [#435]

Screen Shot 2015-10-24 at 12.51.27In 2005 an announcement was made to the effect that Dead Can Dance would tour again after several years of hiatus. Tickets for the few gigs that were to be played in the UK sold out like hot cakes.

I was unable to go.

What followed was months of people I knew saying how they were looking forward to going to the gig, followed by years of the same people saying how mind blowing the gig was. Yet all I have to remember the experience I never had is this “bootleg” featuring highlights of Dead Can Dance’s European tour in 2005.

Occasionally I listen to it from afar while sitting in an uncomfortable seat for full effect.

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Dream Letter (Live in London) – Tim Buckley [#389]

A live recording of Tim Buckley in London in 1968220px-DreamLetterLive.

Having heard Buckley’s Dolphins and Happy Time at a time when my contemporaries were exploring the joys of Buckley’s contemporaries such as Creedence Clearwater and Airport, I was, of course, going to see what all the fuss was about Tim Buckley.

Drug adulation, tragedy and too much vibraphone, that’s what.

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Dogs and Sheeps – Pink Floyd [#381]

Dogs and Sheeps - Pink FloydMore bootleg nonsense from Pink Floyd. This time just before Animals was produced and just after Wish You Were Here was released.

Interesting if only for listening to the evolution of some of the familiar songs in Animals.

 

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Desert Light – Yes [#362]

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 19.46.27This is a bootleg from a concert in the series I saw Yes at in 2002. I then saw the band one last time a year later I think.

I grew up with Yes. They have a special place in my heart and mind as well as a place in my music collection. Sadly long time member and bassist, Chris Squire, passed away earlier this month so it is unlikely I will get to see the band again. I have read that Squire’s old pal Billy Sherwood of Squire/Sherwood collaboration The Unknown has stepped up to cover the massive Chris Squire hole in the band. Moreover, lead singer Jon Anderson is also no longer with the band, Rick Wakeman pops in and out, Steve Howe must be pushing 934 and Alan White is looking a bit tired these days too. It remains hard to imagine how long the band will continue without Chris in the engine room.

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Concerts in China – Jean Michel Jarre [#301]

The_Concerts_in_China_Jarre_AlbumJarre spreads European culture and music technology to the exotic Far East by playing gigs in Beijing and Shanghai then brings back a little bit of Chinese culture and musical influence to the West.

This album is a live, yes a live, compilation best of thing. Just like all the other live best of compilations in this project only this time, to make it different, you know it’s recorded in China. Wow! Actually in CHINA!

Sure there are a few “Concerts in China” specific tracks on the album but the bulk is just live versions of tracks from previous albums recorded in China. It also sees Jarre whip out his laser harp. I even remember my brother telling me to watch Jarre play the laser harp on TV because it was a groundbreaking, never to be seen again, instrument.  Earth shattering never happened, Jarre went on to do more albums and laser harps will never beat seeing the Gamelan play live in Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.

 

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Concerto – Roxy Music [#300]

Roxy_Music-ConcertoI had hoped that the three hundredth album in this project would have been a monumental one. Sadly it’s another best of/Live/compilation. It’s like all the albums this month have been compilations. I know they haven’t but it really seems like to be a successful musician you have to write about 20 songs on about 3 albums then release best ofs, lives and cover version albums for a few years then make a come back or reform.

Bryan Ferry is the master of come back. Concerto is the twenty somethingth release by Roxy Music and the sixth live album by the band. It is also noted for the fact that it was released in 2001 and is a recording of a concert in performed in Denver made in 1979.

Talk about milking your back catalogue and fans for everything they have!

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Coming of Age – Camel [#292]

Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 14.20.52 A live compilation of songs by prog maestros Camel showcasing work from Snowgoose, Moonmadness and later albums.

Sadly, during transfer from computer to computer over the years, my only copy of this album has now become corrupted; the majority of the songs now shortened by up to half of their original length.

Of course I’m too tight to buy it.

The tantalising audible glimpses of Camel’s genius make this album an excellent introduction to the band for those unfamiliar with their work but the lack of production, with it being a live album, doesn’t show the band in its best light.

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Coma Divine – Porcupine Tree [#290]

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 09.04.05A confession: middle age and life commitments give me little time to explore and enjoy new music these days. So in an effort to write this entry I actually had to listen to the album itself.

Back when I was a student for the second time, late noughties, my television production tutor Andy Fox, my audiences lecturer and I would frequently discuss the pros and cons of Prog. Foxy suggested that I try out Porcupine Tree, a neu-prog band that was rising in popularity through the advent of the intarwebz. So I did.

I did what I usually did in those situations, download as much as I could for later listening to. Of course, life then got in the way and aside from a number of songs from various albums, I never really spent much time with an entire album. Until this weekend.

The newer reader might be fooled into thinking that I write entries for the music project on a daily basis. I don’t. I try to get as many items written up over the weekend at a when most people are curled up on the couch with a bacon sandwich and a copy of the Guardian.

So on a cold, damp bacon smogged Saturday in March I sit in Gnomepants cottage listening to Coma Divine in its entirety for the first time ever. I even caught myself doing some air guitar and moshing. Coma Divine is a best of/live compilation recorded live in Rome in the late 1990s and, as if to prove a point, it showcases Porcupine Tree’s earlier music, a period often over looked by people coming new to a band. I found it highly enjoyable on a first listen. I haven’t found any songs I’ll add to my “Got to listen to this now” list but they are inoffensive and I’m sure over the next few months I’ll listen to them again.

 

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Ceromonies: Ad Mortem Ad Vitam – Fields of the Nephilim [#257]

Ceromonies: Ad Mortem Ad Vitam - Fields of the NephilimCeromonies: Ad Mortem Ad Vitam – Fields of the Nephilim

Live music from our gothic dust beaten hat wearing chaps from Stevenage.

Perhaps it’s age, but to me it’s hard to take this album seriously. The guy you can hear growling away, Carl McCoy, was in his mid forties  when this album was recorded. Which is cool. If that’s what you can pass off. But all I can think of is some “dad” like figure dressing up like some forsaken cowboy growling. Not singing. Growling.

That’s not to say I don’t like it. It’s a good album. Nice mix of songs old and new showing progression and a nice introduction to the band for young newbies. But remember kids, the lead singer is old enough to be your dad. Or, in some cases, your granddad.

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Cats and Mice – Kristin Hersh [#254]

Cats and MiceCats and Mice – Kristin Hersh

Kristin Hersh is another artist I would probably have never got into had it not been for the  Uncut: 4AD cover disk I got in the nineties.

Hersh, stepsister of  Tanya Donelly (4AD and This Mortal Coil) and former lead singer of Throwing Muses (also 4AD),  has a very unique sound. Her early stuff takes a bit of getting used to but this album, Learn to Sing Like a Star and Crooked show a much more mature and well developed Hersh than her earlier primary release groundbreaking Hips and Makers album.

This is a live album recorded sometime in 2010. As with most live albums, this is an excellent showcase of Hersh’s works spanning some years. I have tried to get to see her in the past, but she never seems to come to Daventry 😦

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Bursting Out – Jethro Tull (#235)

Bursting Out - Jethro Tull (#233)Bursting Out – Jethro Tull

My first and last time with you yeah? We had some fun. Went scrolling through the blogs yeah and they told you stuff. Oh I want to read some soon, but I wonder how, it was a new day yesterday, but it’s an old day now.

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