Monday, August 31, 2015

Léon Francioli - Nolilanga (Evasion Disques [Switzerland] 1970)

Léon Francioli is a Swiss bassist and cellist, b. 22 May 1946 Lausanne, Switzerland. Following his studies in piano and upright bass at the Lausanne Conservatory, Francioli worked in studios performing rock and classical. He was a founding member and guitarist of the instrumental rock group Les Aiglons. In 1970, he recorded his first solo album, Nolilanga, which is his foray into free jazz along with one of my favorite percussionists Pierre Favre. The ensemble also features English jazz saxophonist Alan Skidmore who is known for his solo work and participation in many UK jazz fusion/prog groups, i.e; Soft Machine, Keith Tippett's Centipede, The Nice, Elton Dean's Ninesense, etc.

Download here.

Jean- Claude Risset - Mutations (INA-GRM [France] 1979)

Jean-Claude Risset is a French composer and respected pioneer in the field of computer music. Beginning in the mid '60's, Risset worked alongside Max Matthews at Bell Labs. Using Matthews' MUSIC IV software, Risset digitally recreated sounds of brass instruments. He is also credited with undertaking the first experiments in FM synthesis (think Yamaha DX series synthesizers) and waveshaping. Risset is also widely acknowledged for his elaboration on the discreet Shepard scale, an auditory illusion of a tone continually ascending or descending but ultimately never getting higher or lower in pitch. Risset's development, referred to as a Shepard-Risset glissando, has a tone that seems to rise or descend continuously in pitch, yet always return to its starting note. Risset created a similar rhythmic effect using drum samples. Both of these effects can be heard here. A further interesting development occurred in 1986 when psychologist Diana Deutsch  reported that when a pair of Shepard tones are played in unison, seperated by an interval of a tritone, the pitch can be perceived as either ascending or descending. This is referred to as the tritone paradox.

Mutations features four compositions. The title track was commissioned in 1969 and composed for magnetic tape and synthesizer in 1970 at Bell Laboratories. "Dialogues" was composed in 1975 for a chamber ensemble of flute, clarinet, piano and percussion. The ensemble is processed on magnetic tape. "Inharmonique" (1977) is a collage for magnetic tape consisting of synthesized tones and sparse soprano singing. "Moments Newtoniens" was comissioned by Radio-France for the 50th anniversary of the death of Isaac Newton. Its written for a chamber ensemble featuring a string quartet, two trombones and one piano processed with magnetic tape.

Download it here.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Nic Jones - The Noah's Ark Trap / From The Devil To A Stranger (Shanchie [US] 1977; Highway [UK] 1978)

Here are two albums from one of my favorite guitarists Nic Jones. Jones is well known for his heavily percussive finger picking style and melodic, contemporary arrangements of traditional songs. This is not the version of The Noah's Ark Trap that I shared in the past, though it is a transfer from the same vinyl copy. I'm still desperately searching for a cleaner copy, however, I have done my best to clean up the audio on this transfer.

Both are here.

Gay & Terry Woods - Backwoods (Polydor [UK] 1975)

This is a good one to kick start some diversification here at The Magnetic Garden. Gay & Terry Woods were both members of seminal folk rock group Steeleye Span. In 1970, they departed the group, formed The Woods Band and released an eponymous album that is now highly desirable. Four years later, The Woods Band separated and the two formed a group under their own names. Backwoods was the first release by this incarnation and it began a more focused direction towards folk-influenced popular rock that would be explored further on the later albums Renowned and Tender Hooks.

Available here!

NOTE: I failed to mention in yesterday's post that I have updated my equipment and software!  I am now recording with a Technics SL1210 equipped with a Stanton 600EE cartridge running through a vintage Realistic solid state preamp, though I will be upgrading to a tube preamp shortly. In the meantime, the Realistic pre works surprisingly well. I've upgraded my software to AlpineSoft's VinylStudio, which I highly recommend.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Alvin Curran - Canti e Vedute del Giardino Magnetico (Ananda [Italy] 1975)


What better way to revive this blog than with its namesake! Not to mention this is a personal favorite of mine.

Alvin Curran, b. 1938 Providence, RI, studied composition at Brown University and then at Yale under Elliot Carter. In 1966, he relocated to Rome where he formed the acclaimed experimental ensemble Musica Elettronica Viva with Frederic Rzewski and Richard Teitelbaum.

Songs and Views from The Magnetic Garden was Curran's first solo release. He engineers and performs the entire recording, playing instruments including but not limited to synthesizer (Synthi A), amplified cymbal, nose harp, kalimba, plastic tubes. The engineering, as Curran admits in the liner notes, was often done while playing. This technique lends a very intimate and somewhat stream-of-consciousness character to the music. On side A, the structure is laid out in phrases that blend into one another. On Side B, a swirling synthesizer (highly reminiscent of Terry Riley) interacts with prerecorded sounds from nature to great effect, a technique that would be over stylized by many new age artists a decade or so later.
This is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Get it here.

Hello again.

I cannot believe I have neglected this blog for almost two years! A quick word of thanks is definitely in order for everyone who has continued to follow this blog and leave messages of gratitude for me. Well, I'm back now and with plenty of exciting albums to post. And I have decided to abandon my narrow focus for The Magnetic Garden. Henceforth, I will share records from all genres as I transfer them to digital. Stay tuned folks!