Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Electric Shocks – Roger Ruskin Spear [#420]

R-2236186-1271590213.jpegFormer Bonzo Ruskin Spear, with his first solo LP.

Clearly audible are the influences of the Bonzos, Python, Milligan and the era’s dadaist comedy mixed with the familiar popular big band songs of a hauntalogical pre-war era such as All by Yourself in the Moonlight and Make Yourself a Happiness Pie.

This is another album that, had there been no music download free-for-all in the noughties, I would never have known existed. I was already a fan of Bonzo, but it would have been unlikely I’d have been standing in Church Street’s HMV  flicking through the R section looking for this gem.

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El Duende Flamenco – Paco de Lucia [#417]

Elduende“I feel like we should be eating tapas”, New-Mrs-Gnomepants said to me during the research part for today’s album.

Of all world music, I find Spanish, specifically Flamenco music, the most dynamic, passionate and hauntological. My first introduction to classical guitar music and flamenco came from the time in my early to mid-twenties when I used to go round to a friends house and chat shite.

I’d met Min, a keen guitarist, when I was doing A Level music at Liverpool Community College in the nineties. We had similar interests and would frequently hangout to listen to music together. Sometimes Min would practice or show off his guitar skills and frequently this would include renditions of Asturias (Albania) and  Recuerdos de la Alhambra (Tarrega) which would please me no end.

Further to this, I think Spanish food is possibly the best cuisine there is in the world, especially tapas. So when I began entertaining guests in my suburban hacienda I would endeavour to recreate Spanish food such as paella and gambas pil-pil while setting the scene by providing a Spanish theme musically, which certainly helped with the presentation and the taste.

El Duende Flamenco is an album of traditional flamenco music played by leading flamenco artist, Paco de Lucia who died last year. Four minutes into the album, if you’re not stood in the middle of the room clapping your hands rhythmically, or swirling an imaginary skirt like a flamenco dancer, then there’s something wrong with you. I love this stuff it’s sharp, neatly timed and perfect. Not like the sickly margarine of modern music, which is manufactured, well greased and bad for your health in large doses.

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Ege Bamyasi – Can [#416]

EgebamyasialbumcoverIf you like your music a bit weird or maybe if you’re looking for that ideal album to pop onto your gramophone before you start passing round the extra strong skunk you have which will no doubt result in a really bad trip, then look no further. This lovely album is a blend of krautrock and experimental oddness.

All Can albums are odd and Ege Bamyasi is no exception as I found out after my discovery of Can’s Tago Mago. Idly discussing the band with a work mate one day resulted in the same chap bringing a shed load of Can albums for me to listen to. Eye opening stuff if a lot weird ,it’s no surprise the band isn’t very main stream but like with all bands that appear on the music project, I’ve tried the best out and kept them.

So if you’re in a situation as described in the opening paragraph to this entry, or perhaps you just want to expand your mind with sound, I suggest you try Ege Bamyasi as a taster to lure you into the deep dark realms of Mr Suzuki’s mind.

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Continental Circus – Gong [#307]

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 14.59.40This album is the soundtrack to a film about a motorcycle racer. The greatest private rider in the world.

The film Continental Circus (1972) is a kind of documentary about motorcycle racing across Europe at a time before sponsorship money and safety took hold. It’s a bit like the motorcycling version of Rush with real life sports people rather than actors and motorbikes over F1 cars.  Jack Findlay talks about the sport, how it affects the mind and body.

The soundtrack is by French progsters and previous entrants in the music project, Gong, whose founder, Daevid Allen, died last month. This is possibly my most favourite of all Gong albums. It’s a proper driving album for driving long journey’s on wet late nights when there’s nothing good on Radio 4.

The film is difficult to get hold of though I have a copy if anyone wants one. Alternatively, there are versions on Youtube and via Amazon for those wanting a quicker access to it.

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Close to the Edge – Yes [#281]

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 13.35.18Close to the Edge – Yes

The first time I heard this album I was blown away. I had it on cassette so I was able to play it wherever I wanted on my Walkman or on my portable hi-fi. One place I played it was on top of a windy rainy mountain in Wales, miles from anywhere significant. It is there where I am transported when I hear this album.

Stuck up a mountain. In the wind and rain. Rain pattering onto my hood. Snug and warm in my coat. Listening to this album overlooking fields of sheep watching the rain clouds drift in from the Irish Sea. Getting back to nature.

Years later I discovered that the album was recorded in a studio where the band had requested a more “rural” feel. Cue plastic cows, sheep pens and straw being strewn across the floor; Steve Howe stood on his carpet, Rick Wakeman with his cup of tea and Jon Anderson with his tambourine. Prog madness. Prog. No music like it.

Close to the Edge comes in with 3 tracks. Not many to the uninitiated, but with track one coming in at just under 20 minutes long and tracks two and three together the same, it’s easy to see why prog is such a good showcase for talent. Think of recent popular music. The likes of Gaga and her ilk with wishy-washy 3 minute jobbies. Trash. It’s like Twitter versus the blogosphere.

Close to the Edge is Yes’ fifth studio album and last with Bill Bruford (until Union at least). A rich tapestry of musical talent surpassed only by their next  studio album, Tales from Topographic Oceans.

 

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Music Project Album #16 – 666 – Aphrodite’s Child

666 – Aphrodite’s Child

Aphrodite’s Child is to Greece what the Beatles are to Liverpool and Abba to Sweden. If Greece had maintained such quality progrock output I suspect they wouldn’t be in financial difficulty now.

Though what do I know about economics? Stuff all.

I suspect most of you will not have heard of Aphrodite’s Child (AC) but I’m certain you may be aware of two of the lead members: Vangelis and Demis Roussos. The band was a product of a time when Prog was popular in the west – long before punk appeared. With a style similar to the Moody Blues, AC only managed to churn out 3 albums. 666 is the last AC album before they split to pursue solo projects and is a concept double album based on the bible’s Book of Revelation.

I’ve only ever attempted to listen to the album all the way through a couple of times. It’s quite hard going but there are a couple of sections that stir up desires and send prog infused shivers to your toes via your spine. These being most notably The Four Horsemen and Hic and Nunc If you know the works of Vangelis and Roussos you would probably listen to it blissfully unaware of who you are listening to, this album being so detached from their later styles.

But to truly experience the album in its fullness, you need to abide by the following recipe:-

You will need:
A room (plastered, painted white with lines of blue to resemble some form of Greek restuarant)
Some form of heating (can be natural)
A beard
3 chest wigs
A kaftan
Some drugs
Metaxa
Strong smelling aftershave from the 1970’s (Brut 33, Blue Stratos, Denim or HiKarate will do)
A record/tape/MP3/media player
A couple of friends with beards and kaftans
Numerous cushions (varying in size)
A mezze board of kebab meat

Method:

1. Take the room, heat to unbearable sweaty levels. Sit in the room. On a cushion. Wearing your kaftan with your beard and similarly attired friends. Stuff the largest cushions up your kaftan and encourage your friends to do the same. This is to increase your girth and make you at one with Roussos, Sideros and Vangelis.

2. Douse each participant in the strong aftershave and apply the chest wigs (if you are doing this on your own because you have no friends, use all three chestwigs for full appreciation). Repeat until fumes effect visibility or motor functions. Ensure all participants have worked up a really big sweat.

3. Partake in the drugs and metaxa. Cannabis is recommended here as you can usually get a good hit if you use a hooka pipe which will also add to the authenticity of the experience. Other drugs can be used but may effect the overall experience detrementally (especially crack or crystal meth).

4. Play the album and nibble on mezze board.

5. Chill

6. Halucinate and sway about.

7. ???

8. Profit.

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