Sunday, June 25, 2006

miniatures



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

12 Comments:

Blogger all means necessary said...

perhaps my fave from 1980...

and that was a hell of a year...

glad to meet you, decoder.

Mon Jun 26, 11:56:00 AM GMT+10  
Blogger Chardman said...

Wow, is that ever cool!
Thanks so much Benito!
I was wondering where that XTC bit came from and now I know.
My local listener sponsered radio station played all sorts of bits of this album back then.
Thanks so much for sharing this!

Tue Jun 27, 03:24:00 AM GMT+10  
Blogger Drunk Santa said...

Hello Decoder,

Many thanks for Morgan Fisher's Minitures. A long lost gem and much appreciated.

You wouldn't have Pillows And Prayers (A Cherry Red Compilation) in your collection by any chance?

Tue Jun 27, 08:33:00 AM GMT+10  
Blogger benito x said...

drunk santa, I do have P&P!
I will get this up for you, but it may take a week or two... There is a queue of titles I have to prepare first. I put way too much time into cleaning this stuff up & presenting it. Glad you like it!

Tue Jun 27, 01:15:00 PM GMT+10  
Blogger Lucky said...

i love this one-minute-record - it's even better than the commercial album from the residents, which came around the same time and had 40 1-minute-songs on it (everybody knows, anway ...).
i have a morgan-fisher split lp with lol coxhill from the mid-70s, if you're interested...

happy summer greetings

Tue Aug 01, 04:51:00 AM GMT+10  
Anonymous treu said...

one of my ten most important records ever...

Sun Jan 06, 01:20:00 PM GMT+11  
Blogger Fon said...

Nice blog. I will keep reading. Please take the time to visit my blog about Guitar Lesson

Wed Jan 23, 12:21:00 PM GMT+11  
Anonymous miniatures said...

nice and very informative. i enjoy reading this. i have a site about figurines & miniatures collecting its also very interesting.

Mon Jul 14, 05:55:00 PM GMT+10  
Blogger Dunks said...

Fantastic!! Thanks for providing this. I bought this in 1980 on LP, after hearing it on a community radio show, and it remains one of my all-time favourite albums. Absolutely unique and still as great as I remember it.

"One day, the thoughtless lady will find sea-sick on her twinset"

Dunks

Mon Sep 29, 12:07:00 PM GMT+10  
Blogger künstler treu said...

so much goodnes on one record!

Sat Nov 29, 01:00:00 PM GMT+11  
Anonymous GeoArticleDude said...

Gee the spammers hit har here, didn't they?
Australian article directory

Sun Jul 26, 10:34:00 AM GMT+10  
Blogger Las ruquitas del CHuy said...

Gracias por este disco, una exelente recopilación bastante interesante; aquí pueden encontrar el poster que viene incluido en el LP:
http://www.morgan-fisher.com/mins1poster.html

Mon Aug 10, 08:37:00 AM GMT+10  

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