Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Doubling Riders

Doublings & Silences Vol. II 1988

This recording, released by Auf Dem Nil / Recommended Records Italia [dmm0006], is one of my all-time favourites. Inspired by the paintings of surrealist Gustavo Foppiani [1925—1986], it is presented as a series of tableaux. Beautifully structured using computers, samplers and woodwind instruments, it floats between electronic, medieval, industrial, ambient and gothic in a seamless and thoroughly cohesive progression. At times there is a foreboding darkness that is quite attractive, yet the music never degenerates too far into chaos. The bizarre vocals are sung in English with a thick and sometimes indecipherable Italian accent, which adds to the surreal mood. The double LP was presented as a boxed set complete with four page booklet including Italian translations of the English lyrics (!) and an art print of the front cover painting. I've included high resolution scans of all these because they compliment the music so well...

"minuets & music pearls of rare intensity,
decadent & beautiful, great Italian music"
— Old Europe Cafe

I wish I new more about these artists. I have never seen or heard Volume One. There are a few intriguing references to other Doubling Riders recordings on the net but I can find no real information, and nothing seems to be currently available. If anyone can provide more information please do!

01 Venice calles
02 Funeral jars
03 Little Penguins in Love
04 Hoping That You Are Somewhere
05 Industrial lullaby
06 Childhood fears (old version)
07 Wandering high
08 Artery of the sun
09 Lines on Spain
10 Chinese comedy
11 Childhood fears (young version)
12 Azur noise
13 La partienze
14 Confidential eggs
15 A poetry of broken hearts
16 Vox populi
17 The larceny of the harpstrings
18 The last picture
19 The danger of losing consistence
20 Nanenfest
21 Pyramid

PartA PartB [192kps]

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

So here's the Plan:

"One of the founders of synth pop, der Plan were mainstays of the music underground of Germany in the 1980s. They inspired a countless number of like-minded groups as part of the Neue Deutsche Welle (German New Wave) scene. Inspired by the synthetic beats of Kraftwerk and the quirky styles of the Residents, Der Plan created a unique blend of electronics, pop music, and surrealism".

The german music journalists voted for "Geri Reig" as one of the the most important 50 records of the last century. Indeed der Plan ranks still among the style-forming groups of the "true" new German wave and its handling of electronic music instruments inspired groups world-wide. —

German group Der Plan sticks out in the history of Neue Deutsche Welle. Pioneers of electro-pop and heir to the synthetic principles of post-Kraftwerk, they sing almost exclusively in German. Formed by Kurt “Pyrolator” Dahlke (ex-D.A.F.), Frank Fenstermacher, and Moritz “RRR” Reichelt, the trio released the mythical “Geri Reig”. With the success of a certain cult following, Der Plan put out “Normalette Surprise”. During their fifteen years in existence, they founded the Ata Tak label (D.A.F., Andreas Dorau, Holger Hiller, Oval, and Wirtschaftswunder). In 2004, after an eleven year absence, Der Plan V.4.0, including Moritz R., Künstler Treu (ex-Dauerfisch) and J.J. Jones returned to business with “Die Verschwörung”.

01. Adrenalin lässt das Blut kochen
02. Geri Reig
03. Persisches Cowboy Golf
04. Gefährliche Clowns
05. Kleine Grabesstille
06. Der Weltaufstandsplan
07. Hans und Gabi
08. Commerce exterieur mondial sentimental
09. Was ich von mir denke
10. San Jose Car Muzak
11. Erste Begegnung mit dem Tod
12. Ich bin schizophren
13. Nessie
14. Gefährlich Clowns (manisch depressiv)
15. Die Welt ist schlecht

This rip has been removed by request from their record company.
You can listen to samples & buy the CD here, containing this album and 1981's 'Normalette Surprise' plus 3 bonus tracks:
Rot Grun Tot (the B-side to the 'Ampel' single),
8 1/2 (the B-side of the 'Fix Planet' single),
and Wir Werden Immer Mehr (the A-side of 'Fix Planet').

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

phantomband: FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Here is the second of three albums from Phantomband, formed by Can drummer Jaki Liebezeit (who also worked with Jah Wobble amongst others).
Punchy electronic rhythms (sometimes minimal) with a tongue-in-cheek quality, I do find Sheldon Ancel's laconic spoken-word vocalizations amusing, especially "Relax" (a take on relaxation tapes/new age music) & "Dangerous Conversation". This stuff fits snuggly next to Moebius & Plank in my record collection.

an amazon reviewer (whom you may or may not agree with) wrote:
"...features Helmut Zerlett who in his time, has produced some great music on the german ambient label; Recycle Or Die!...projects such as; 9 dream and Baked Beans just to name a few...are undeniably brilliant...though this project, (phantom band) i feel is targeted at the wrong audience, as people who enjoy CAN probably aren't going to get this release at all [well I do!], however if you're from the other side of the genre fence, and have an appreciation for german avant/amb electronica, then the Phantom Band is well worth checking out!"

01 Freedom Of Speech 3:46
02 E.F. 1 4:15
03 Brain Police 4:08
04 No Questions 2:05
05 Relax 4:07
06 Gravity 5:28
07 Trapped Again 1:00
08 Experiments 3:40
09 Dream Machine 5:33
10 Dangerous Conversation 2:12
line-up: Jaki Liebezeit, Olek Gelba, Dominik von Senger, Helmut Zerlett, Sheldon Ancel
[192kbs] (hi-res cover art & label scans included as usual)

Phantomband Discography:
1980 Phantomband — LP Sky 048
1981 Phantomband - Freedom Of Speech — Sky 065
1984 Phantom Band - Nowhere — Spoon 17

I understand the first two were re-released together on one CD at some point (1994?) but only "Nowhere" appears to be currently available.
If anyone has the other two I would very much like to hear them...

Sunday, June 25, 2006


a sequence of fifty-one tiny masterpieces (1980)
edited by morgan fisher
"This recording walks the line between being a compilation and a concept album by one artist. The curator of the compilation is Morgan Fisher, ex-Morgan and Mott the Hoople keyboardist and all-around avant-pop genius of the '70s and '80s, who worked with everyone from Queen to Lol Coxhill to the Dead Kennedys. The concept for Miniatures involved getting artists from all across the board to contribute tiny vignettes saying as much as possible in the shortest space of time. Featuring contributions from the Residents, Andy Partridge, the Damned, Robert Wyatt, and Michael Nyman, among others, this may give an indication as to the diversity of this project. In many ways, Miniatures reflects the career of Fisher, who excelled in many genres. The original LP of Miniatures is a highly sought-after collector's item, as it was released to limited distribution on Fisher's Pipe label. With 51 one-minute stabs that summarize the diversity of a changing post-punk era, this collection is an excellent artifact of the early-'80s independent scene." - ALL MUSIC GUIDE

In 1980 the owner of his own label and studio, Morgan was overwhelmed by the number of ideas he thought up for albums that he could now record and release. Realising that it was impossible to do everything he conceived, he decided to see how many of these ideas could be included on one album. Rather than recording the music himself, he invited 50 musicians who he admired to send in tracks of up to one minute in length. They responded with unanimous enthusiasm, and as well as receiving tapes through the mail from all over the world, Morgan also packed up his Revox tape recorder and went to several musicians homes to record them there. Original artwork for the album was contributed by the notorious Ralph Steadman. The album is an astonishing survey of the cutting-edge music of the period, and includes such gems as:

THE RESIDENTS singing a song from "South Pacific"
ROBERT WYATT singing a Frank Sinatra song
DAVID BEDFORD compressing Wagner’s "Ring Cycle"
FRED FRITH shrinking the entire works of Henry Cow
ROBERT FRIPP playing a keyboard
ANDY PARTRIDGE (XTC) offering the history of rock'n'roll in 20 seconds
RALPH STEADMAN singing a John Donne poem
R.D.LAING playing the piano
MARTIN CHAMBERS (THE PRETENDERS) lecturing on ornithology while drumming
PETE SEEGER playing Beethoven on the banjo

The reviews of the Miniatures re-issue on CD included:
"Re-issue of the year... monumentally deranged... essential listening..." - THE WIRE
"...This excellent re-release - great fun" - ROCK’N’REEL
"One of the most unusual albums I have ever heard" - MOJO
"Irreverent and charming, this unique collection of 51 one-minute-or-less pieces (almost all exclusive) was concocted by Mott the Hoople keysman Morgan Fisher in 1980. Miniatures works surprising well considering all of the jarring juxtapositions and actually helps to make the set exhilarating many times. Fascinating covers come from Pete Seeger (whistling Beethoven), Half Japanese (demolishing the Rolling Stones), the Residents (squeaking the Ramones), Neil Innes (Bonzo Dog Band) having his son shouting Slade, and Robert Wyatt (looping Frank Sinatra).

Also featured are an inspired cast of English loonies like John Otway, Kevin Coyne and Ivor Cutler as well as 'non-musicians' such as psychologist R.D. Laing, writer/actor Quentin Crisp, and artist Ralph Steadman. Most impressive are the artists who do poignant encapsulations in their time limit: Fred Frith's Entire History of Henry Cow, and Andy Partridge (XTC) lecturing on the history of rock and roll.

track listing
Band 1. (5:00)
1) Bum Love : Ollie Halsall and John Halsey
2) We're a Happy Family / Bali Ha'l : The Residents
3) The Wreck of Hesperus : Roger McGough
4) Green and Pleasant : Morgan Fisher
5) Mine Tonight : John Otway
Band 2. (6:00)
1) My Way : Pete Challis and Phil Diplock
2) Rangers in the Nightst : Robert Wyatt
3) Opus 5 : Stinky Winkles
4) Body Language : Mary Longford
5) Andy the Dentist : Andy Thunderclap Newman
6) Wagner's Ring in One Minute : David Bedford
Band 3. (5:00)
1) The Entire Works of Henry Cow : Fred Frith
2) Look Beneath the Surface : Maggie Nicols
3) Week-End : Joseph Racaille
4) With Wings Pressed Back : The Work
5) Cum on Feel the Noize : Neil Innes and Son
Band 4. (5:00)
1) Toscany in Blue (Last Minute) : Herbert Distel
2) An End to the Matter : Lol Coxhill
3) One Minute in the Life of Ivan Denisovich : Ken Ellis
4) Alice : Steve Miller
Band 5. (6:00)
1) John Peel Sings the Blues Badly : Norman Lovett
2) Serrons Nous Les Coudes : Patrick Portella
3) Sounds that Saved My Life (Homage to K.S.) : George Melly
4) Miniature : Robert Fripp
5) The History of Rock 'n' Roll : Andy Partridge (XTC)
6) Breather : Phantom Captain
Band 6. (6:00)
1) Enterbrain Exit : Ron Geesin
2) An Imaginary Orchestra : Alejandro Viñao
3) Stop the Music for a Minute : Quentin Crisp
4) Tetrad : Simon Desorgher
5) Sweetest Love (Lament After a Broken Sashcord on a Theme of John Donne) : Ralph Steadman
6) Tipperary : R.D. Laing and Son
Band 7. (5:00)
1) Beach Double : Trevor Wishart
2) Scène De Ballet : John White
3) Brooch Boat : Ivor Cutler
4) Do Tell Us : Hector Zazou
5) A Miniaturisation of Bartok's Sonata for 2 Pianos & Percussion (3rd Movement) : Michael Bass and Ellen Tenenbaum
Band 8. (4:00)
1) A Swift One : Martin Chambers (The Pretenders)
2) Refreshment Break : Bob Cobbing and Henri Chopin
3) Night Torch : Dave Vanian (The Damned)
4) Racing Poodles : Metabolist
Band 9. (5:00)
1) After Mendelssohn : Gavin Bryars
2) Paint it Black : 1/2 Japanese
3) Arthurs Treat : Simon Jeffes (Penguin Cafe Orchestra)
4) Talking World War III Blues : Mark Perry
5) 89 - 90 - 91 - 92 : Michael Nyman
Band 10. (5:00)
1) Index of Ends : David Cunningham (Flying Lizards)
2) James, Mark and Me (In the Manner of Tom Waits) : Kevin Coyne
3) Hep! : Etron Fou Leloublan
4) The Minute Warp : Neil Oram and Ken Cambell and the Science Fiction Theatre of Liverpool
5) Chorale from Beethoven's 9th Symphony : Pete Seeger

I have left the tracks in the bands as they appear on the vinyl rather than separate each performance, to retain the record's original sense of urgency and juxtaposition.
High resolution cover scans (with detailed descriptions) included.

uk: pipe records / cherry red records pipe 2
get it here!
re-issued in 1981 (japan: japan records jal-2502)
re-issued on cd in 1994, uk: blueprint/voiceprint records bp159cd

bonus tracks on 1994 cd (NOT included in this Vinyl Rip):
52. no artists / one minutes silence
53. all artists / the miniatures miniature

Decoding the Lie

"information is like a bank
our job is to rob that bank"

—Genesis P-Orridge in Decoder

In 1983, Dave Ball (Soft Cell) & Genesis P-Orridge (Psychic TV), along with other artists such as FM Einheit (Einstürzende Neubaten) and Matt Johnson (The The) provided a soundtrack for a German film, 'Decoder', that starred William Borroughs, Christiane F, and a cameo from Genesis P-Orridge.

film synopsis from Amazon:
A thriller which expands on the phenomenon known as 'Musak' — an artificial product, created by scientists, musicians and marketing experts who construct a particular tonal sequence designed to increase productivity in a factory and enhance wellbeing. This film is a blend of reality and fiction: surreal, metaphorical imagery interwoven with heavy music words and special effects. German soundtrack.

This rip is from the vinyl edition of the soundtrack
note: Some of the tracks on the LP run together:
To maintain continuity I haven’t split these into sepperate files.

welcome to decoder...

...where I plan to post some interesting music from the avant-derriere end of town.
I have separated it from my other full album blog realm of |X| to avoid the disquiet that this music seems to generate amongst lovers of more relaxing genres...