Saturday, September 10, 2011
Halfway down a by-street of one of our New England towns stands a rusty wooden house, with seven acutely peaked gables, facing towards various points of the compass, and a huge, clustered chimney in the midst.
Friday, September 9, 2011
Who is there, over the wide world, who has not, at one period or another, in a more or less degree, felt the mysterious influences of love?
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Kraftwerk's 'Autobahn' was one of those many songs I loved to hate, only after a few decades am I able to respect their contribution to music a bit better. Although I had some friends in the 70s who were Kraftwerk fans, I always stayed clear of their music. Later in my industrial music years one of my band members supposed that we come from two different strands of pop reception, he was from the Kraftwerk side, and I came from the Frank Zappa side. I never really agreed. Kraftwerk was just too commercial to me.
It was very clear to recognize what Kraftwerk were doing musically, to me it wasn't new to use minmalism in pop/rock music, bands like The Velvet Underground, King Crimson, and others were already doing it, sometimes with more radical results. Minimalism was by then an almost old genre in classical music. I thought the idea was of preference: Frank Zappa would never have had a problem composing something similar, it was just not his kind of thing. Surprisingly, I can't recall that he ever bothered to parody the genre either.
I also understood Kraftwerk's attitude, a somewhat ironic take on a music of the future, presenting themselves as robot slaves to the music, simultaneously celebrating new technologies and warning us about them. 'Autobahn' was a particularly twisted anthem celebrating the modern highway. At the time you could come upon older Germans who'd regularly argue that Hitler was certainly bad because of the Holocaust, but he built the Autobahn! Besides being a hideous comparison that statement was also historically incorrect, since the building of highways was simply a continuation of policies established in the Weimar Republic before Hitler's regime. Any German would recogznize the reference, though.
By today you can't underestimate Kraftwerk's influence on modern pop music (nor Zappa's, for that matter). And I was also a bit wrong about 'Autobahn', since - at least in the long 22-minute version - there's a lot of interesting things going on in the song.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
One of my favourite rock journalists on the Club 16 radio show was Carl-Ludwig Reichert. His shows influenced my musical taste immensely. On one occasion he presented an hour of what you could call unusual blues songs, I guess that was the rough theme of the show. In that one single hour I heard for the first so much incredible music by rarely heard artists, almost every song could be listed among my alltime favourites, and I'll be introducing them all in the course of time. For the very first time I was able to hear a tune by Captain Beefheart, an artist I had read so much about, but so far had never heard on radio, and it was at the time unthinkable to find any of his records at our local record stores. 'The Spotlight Kid' really knocked me out, a blues song like nothing else I had heard before. It begins with Captain Beefheart a cappella in a broken sprechgesang voice: "Said the momma t’ the baby in the corn you are my first born you shall here on in be known as The Spotlight Kid"and then on goes a slowmo warped blues song with an electric guitar and a xylophone playing in unison (or maybe not really). The quality of the song was truly otherworldy , the lyrics just as surreal as the music. I've been a huge Captain Beefheart fan ever since, and I've got nearly all there is from him on record and in books. Sadly he died last year in December at the age of 69, 3 days after my birthday.
Vathek, ninth Caliph of the race of the Abassides, was the son of Motassem, and the grandson of Haroun Al Raschid.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Monday, September 5, 2011
Sometime in the mid or late 70s I finally discovered a radio program that actually did broadcast progressive innovative rock music. Bayern 2 had a youth section and its main program was weekdays at 4pm and was called Club 16 (for 16.00 o'clock). I rarely missed a show, always had a pen and a notebook with me, writing down the titles and giving the songs my own personal ratings. Over time the journalists became well-known figures to me, and I could recognize the tastes of Carl-Ludwig Reichert, Karl Bruckmaier, Inegborg Schober, to name just a few. Besides AFN this show was my main musical education, and a huge amount of this ongoing list will reflect a lot of songs from this specific program. Carl-Ludwig even managed to present an hour of music that has remained with me till this day, but I'll report on that in a later entry. However, what I want to mention here is the theme tune of the show which was The Allman Brothers Band's 'Jessica', a wonderful instrumental. As a theme song it was long time unknown to me who it was till one of the DJs decided it's about to time to play it in full length. I later became a huge fan of the band and I do cherish some of their songs even more than this one. But any time I hear just a few chords of 'Jessica' it'll activate fond memories of those days when I was discovering so much new music.
You must go back with me to the autumn of 1827.