Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

I Can See Your House From Here – Camel #601

I Can See Your House From Here – Camel

Obviously influenced by the successes of Supertramp, in this album prog-meisters Camel make a departure from their sound of Mirage and Snow Goose and head down a more poppy Collins era Genesis path effectively becoming a sound akin to some sort of Rush-Supertramp-Toto hybrid.

This is Camel’s seventh studio album following Breathless and, in typical prog fashion, features a lineup change with original keyboardist Pete Bardens and bassist Richard Sinclair both having left the band. Moreover, Genesis’ Phil Collins guest performs on the album as a percussionist, which is probably why it sounds a little Genesissy than previous releases.  Indeed, the keen ear can certainly pick out the foundations of Stationary Traveller era Camel when the band went full on pop.

Not a big listener to this album to be fair but even during the listen for writing this entry I’m sofa dancing like a fan.

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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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Earmeal – Janne Schaffer [#406]

UnknownIf you happen to be making a 1970s porn film complete with car chase, man with suggestively large moustache and outrageous orange and brown patterned clothing, you’ll probably need this album to be your sound track.

Schaffer was a Swedish session musician who worked with Abba and Toto and this album was probably released to show off what kind of style he was good at. It’s alright and I often get comments about how the album is quite funky and exciting but repeated plays often face the cold shoulder or pleas for mercy.

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Dynasty – Kiss [#404]

Dynasty_(album)_coverI’m still convinced that Kiss are the biggest and longest comedy act going.

Any day now Gene Simmons will announce that the whole band has been a highly orchestrated well scripted piss take that kind of got out of hand.

Dynasty is Kiss’ seventh studio and first break-up album in that the band started to flake apart like a giant comedy cream horn. Peter Criss had been in a car accident and replaced on tour with Eric Carr and eighteen months after the albums release, Frehley would leave the band.

The album also marks a significant stylistic change in the bands output as songs take a distinctive pop and disco flavour. However, even the stylistic change doesn’t rescue the Kiss flavour for me. There are a few songs I like and I’m fond of some of their cheesier lyrics but I don’t think I could listen to the whole album regularly.

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Discovery – ELO [#373]


Me again. Here I am with the second of my guest posts, in this seven day run.

ELO. I have an odd relationship with ELO. <Anecdote> In the early eighties, when I was on the cusp of being a teenager, my Mum was an Assistant Librarian. This meant I visited the library a lot, and along with reading a lot of books, it also meant I got to borrow cassettes (and later CDs) for free! In turn this meant I got the chance to experiment with a lot of music without paying a bean – if I liked the cover of an album I’d borrow it. I suppose it was a bit like the music subscription services of more recent times. Anyway, one of these experimental albums was by ELO. Not the titular album I’m afraid, another album called Secret Messages. I was smitten by it, with its weird blend of multitrack vocal, orchestra, and original sound. It’s one of those albums that will forever be burned in my memory. For good or for bad it’s also forever associated in my mind with the Moomin books, which I was reading a lot of at the time. Anyway, getting back to the odd relationship bit. You would have thought that my love of the album would have lead me to listen to more ELO, but oddly it didn’t. The exact reason why is lost in the mists of my faltering memory, perhaps there weren’t any more ELO albums at the library, I wasn’t open-minded enough, or just didn’t think of it. </Anecdote>

Anyway, to present day, and it’s quite an odd thing breaking my second-ELO-album virginity. Discovery goes through all the right motions. It sounds a lot like Secret Messages and does a good job of treading that fine line between not being a copy, yet not being too different to confuse the listener. Yet it does nothing for me. Perhaps it’s too similar. Or I need to listen to it again. Music is a fickle beast. *shrugs*

For fact fans, it transpires that Discovery actually pre-dates Secret Messages by 4 years, with the former released in 1979, and the latter in 1983. Discovery was ELO’s first number one album in the UK. Oddly Wikipedia doesn’t give much if any information about how the album came together.

Here’s the opening track. Make your own mind up, if you’ve not heard it before.

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Black Hole – Original Soundtrack (#194)

Black Hole - SoundtrackBlack Hole – Original Soundtrack

The soundtrack to my  favourite childhood film as composed and performed by John Barry.

This is a strange piece of work. It’s very militaristic in many respects. All trumpets and snare drums. But it works well alone or with the film in its original setting.

The first track, the overture, is a bit cringe making but once that’s out of the way you’ve got the music from the film in its orchestral splendour.

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