Rock's Backpages Writers' Blogs » Archie Patterson http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com Rock reviews, rock articles & rock interviews from the Ultimate Rock'n'Roll Library Sun, 19 May 2013 03:11:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Interview With Spain’s Michel Huygen http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/2013/05/interview-with-spains-michel-huygen/ http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/2013/05/interview-with-spains-michel-huygen/#comments Wed, 15 May 2013 17:59:51 +0000 Archie Patterson http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/?p=52962  

The Psychotronic Music of Neuronium

 

Michel Huygen & I have been in contact for over 30 years. I’ve been reviewing and playing his music all along and the Eurock files are filled with information, photos and art work he has sent me. Just recently he and I crossed paths, literally and unexpectedly, in the same place at the same time. It was an incredible case of happenstance leading to serendipity. I had just gotten his new album, ExoSomnia, and prepared a new radio program featuring music from it, the incredible extended track entitled “And Man Created Gods”.  We had a great time hanging out at AMBIcon & recorded an interview filled with incredible stories about his history and long music career.

 

 

AMBIcon 2013 Interview with Michel Huygen

In 1977, Neuronium released their first album of Psychotronic Music entitled Quasar 2C361. That was followed in 1978 by their even more audacious second album Vuelo Quimico (Chemical Flight), featuring former lead singer of the Velvet Underground, Nico.

For its 40th Anniversary, Space Music commander Stephen Hill staged the most amazing electronic music convention ever conceived, AMBIcon 2013. It featured a stellar international cast of some of the finest electronic and sacred space musicians: Jeff Pearce, Robert Rich, Tim Story, Stephan Micus, Michael Stearns, Steve Roach, Hans Christian and Bay Area group Stellamara.

Also in attendance, flying under the radar was Spanish pioneer of Cosmic Electronic Music Michel Huygen, and me. Going on 35 years of contact and collaboration, we literally walked into each other’s life. This happenstance lead to 2 days of serendipity and perhaps a hundred separate life stories shared. We decided to have a sit down, and this Interview is the recorded result. I am thinking another may well follow it up as a future meeting may well be written in the stars as well. Stay tuned.

To add to the audio, I have gone into the Eurock Archives & scanned a goodly number of photos and Phantastic art by Michel’s long time friend & Neuronium collaborator, 83 year old Spanish surrealist artist extraordinaire Tomas Gilsanz.

 

Without further ado, Listen & Enjoy!
http://www.eurock.com/MHuygenAMBIcon2013.mp3

 

 

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Behind The Red Door: Kickstarter for Giorgio Gomelsky’s ZU House http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/2013/04/behind-the-red-door/ http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/2013/04/behind-the-red-door/#comments Sun, 21 Apr 2013 22:03:25 +0000 Archie Patterson http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/?p=52620 Continue reading ]]>

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giorgio Gomelsky’s Creative Space for Music, Art & Events

The Crawdaddy Club was one of the very first venues in the early 1960s where rock and roll bands could play. Founded by Giorgio Gomelsky, one of the very first bands he booked was the first incarnation of the Rolling Stones.

In the 1970’s Giorgio migrated to NYC and bought a 3-story building, he christened it the “ZU House”. There Bill Laswell and many New York artists came to practice. Laswell formed the “ZU Band”, later renamed Material, who put out one of the most powerful No Wave 12 Eps along with an album, before he went on to become a major force in the music industry.

In 1978, I visited NYC for Giorgio’s ZU Manifestival that was one of the first showcases of Indie and Alternative experimental rock in those days. I crashed on the second floor of Giorgio’s ZU House for 3 days, helping him when he brought his travelling alternative rock caravan across country for another Manifestival in Los Angeles.

Over the years, we have kept in sporadic contact and met up a couple other times at music festivals. By the end of the 1970s the ZU House had been rechristened “The Red Door” and became an intimate performance and rehearsal space, as well as crash pad for a host of luminaries, to mention a few – Nico post VU when she was broke and homeless, Bad Brains, Richard Hell, Richard Lloyd and countless others.

A couple years back I did an interview with Giorgio and blogged about it on RBP in April 2011. Since that time, I have gotten many inquiries from UK and European journalists wanting to contact Giorgio and he always politely deferred due to health issues he was undergoing.

Just yesterday, I got the latest news about Giorgio, along with an interview he did for a Blog in the New York Times on Friday April 19 and a current Kickstarter project undertaken for The Red Door. Below I share the news, listing various links you can use to read the latest. I would hope you contribute to the cause helping my old friend.

2013 Interview:

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/19/his-studio-is-in-disrepair-but-his-passion-for-music-is-intact/

The Kickstarter page:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/499513368/revive-legendary-nyc-rock-n-roll-establishment-red

My Eurock interview:

http://www.eurock.com/features/giorgio.aspx

 

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The All-American Underground Band ~ Larry Mondello Band http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/2012/12/the-all-american-underground-band-larry-mondello-band/ http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/2012/12/the-all-american-underground-band-larry-mondello-band/#comments Wed, 12 Dec 2012 19:26:26 +0000 Archie Patterson http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/?p=51402 Continue reading ]]>  

 

The Larry Mondello Band

IN THE BEGINNING, there was the Leave it to Beaver show, a television comedy of the late 1950s. Here the whole of society was distilled into a handful of characters for a half an hour each week to spin their family tales.

Beaver was the nickname of one Theodore Cleaver who represents the listener, the victim, the sucker. Wally, his older brother, represented the athletic and scholarly qualities that every boy is taught to achieve. Their parents, Ward and June, epitomized society and were responsibility personified. Ward works hard at the office, while June worries and cleans the kitchen. The boys proceed to go through the ups and downs of growing up.

The show takes us through the years of adolescence and we learn, along with the boys, about the problems of coping with society. While Beaver is in Miss Lander’s class, he meets his lifelong friend Larry Mondello, that chubby leader of lesser men, the kindhearted victimizer and troublesome innocent, Larry Mondello.

 

 

Little did their parents and friends know that for many years the two boys had a secret clubhouse where they toyed around with crude instruments trying to make music. After the show went off the air during in their post-adolescent years after rock music had been absorbed into mainstream culture, Larry continued his interest in music and at times involved Beaver in an ever stranger on and off musical collaboration that ran separate and parallel to their normal lives. Video evidence even exists that shows them at various times performing in public.

The music they made was not conventional, nor was it relaxing or melodic. While their influences perhaps lie in early primitive avant-garde rock and electronics, the music is not professional in any way. During the later years, Larry had lost touch with reality and his friend Beaver remained prone to getting involved in his flights of imagination. The sound they created truly escaped the boundaries of earthly music, resembling screaming hideously out into the universe. They seem at times as if they may be actual subconscious transmissions from the ID, with no human beings responsible for the contents. The sound is not hi-tech and the recording is very Lo-Fi.

Since the dawn of the internet and development of a voracious, fetishistic cult of music collectors, oddities have become an obsession. Various searches of thrift stores and garage sales around the country these past couple years have yielded a large amount of underground audio and video material by The Larry Mondello Band.

 

 

The actual music, if you can call it that, features a collection of primitive beats, noises, notes and strange sounds. Who can judge if it’s good, bad, or anything else, the two seem trying to bed trying to communicate something that is virtually incomprehensible. They do succeed however in creating a form of anti-music, which exists on a separate plane from any other music.

The music of The Larry Mondello Band is completely unique and can only be categorized as a product of Larry’s own personal state of mind. At the very least, they are an artifact of the time before the machines took over and downloading made music a phantom of the ether, a non-corporal substance. The music of LMB is the antithesis of all that…

 

LMB Select Discography

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Nico ~ Icon (DVD) http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/2012/12/nico-icon-dvd/ http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/2012/12/nico-icon-dvd/#comments Sat, 08 Dec 2012 23:37:03 +0000 Archie Patterson http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/?p=51410 Continue reading ]]>  

 

Nico (born Christa Päffgen; 16 October 1938 – 18 July 1988)

Nico died almost 25 years ago yet the impact of her music lives on. Her work has influenced countless other people’s music. The film Nico Icon (released in 1995 and now unavailable on any format) is an incredible documentary by German filmmaker Susanne Ofteringer. Originally released in 1995, the film tells a sad story about that era and her personally, offering great insight into why things have gone so wrong today.

Told in flashback style, the film begins with Nico’s manager Alan Wise during her time with the Faction in the UK led by keyboardist James Young. They toured in a van promoting the album Camera Obscura. Wise says Nico was “searching for extinction” and Young calls her a “middle aged junkie”, “queen on the bad girls”. The tour stories are horrifying as during that time she was an addict.

Christa Päffgen was born OCT 16, 1938 and moved from Berlin to Lübbenau to escape the bombing. Her father was killed by the Nazi’s when she was four. A strikingly beautiful girl, in her teenage years she was discovered by famous fashion photographer Tobias, featured on the cover of Vogue in Europe and moved to Paris. There she became famous and quit modeling (which she hated) and was in films by her boyfriend Philippe Garrel, in particular his film Inner Scar, which was about the electroshock treatments he had undergone. In 1965, she went to London and released a single on Stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham’s Immediate Records label before moving to NYC and becoming involved with Andy Warhol’s Factory and the Velvet Underground.

The film incredibly chronicles her life with many interviews featuring her lovers, caretakers and people she worked with musically. The story is told openly and brutally honestly. Throughout, Nico is pictured as a Goddess and femme fatal always dressed in only all black or all white, golden blond hair, beautiful, aloof and lonely, Danny Field’s tells how she hated the way she looked and describes the first meeting at The Castle in LA between her and her idol Jim Morrison. They both stripped naked and faked a fight rolling around the floor – her loaded on vodka and Jim’s dosed on acid and pills.  Jackson Browne talks of being involved with her at 16 years old romantically, and as guitarist on her 1966 solo album Chelsea Girls. Her many US lovers also included Iggy and Lou Reed.

 

 

After she left the Warhol orbit, she dyed her hair Henna and dressed totally in back so she would be ugly. She hated her beauty. John Cale who produced her Marble Index and Desertshore albums talked about her leading a solitary life filled with occasional friends she would soon abandon.

The final segment of the film deals with her son Ari. It details how his father, Alain Delon, abandoned her and him, then disowned his own parents who took Ari in at 2 1/2 years old when Nico was unable to care for him. How she became addicted to heroin and took others with her, including Ari and Lutz Ulbrich. The interview with Lutz is especially poignant. Overall, the film depicts the tragedy of children scarred by war, victimized by those times when everyone was doing their own thing with little or no regard to doing the right thing. It does not preach, but Nico’s story makes clear that the era’s sex, drugs and rock and roll lifestyle opened a Pandora’s Box that is wreaking havoc on a large scale socially and morally today.

Nico’s final monument is her music. Her songs were about her life, and how she felt about her place in it. She created a brand new form of beautiful, dramatic and tragic modern European classical music, rooted in the history of the great masters who preceded her. In 1986, she stopped Heroin and went on Methadone. Two years later, on July 18, 1988 she was riding a bicycle on the island of Ibiza when she had a brain aneurism and fell at the side of the road dead. Ari says near the end of the film: The sunshine killed her. Found by passersby, sometime later Lutz Ulbrich took her back to Germany and buried her where she now rests in peace.

 

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Reims 1974, Rock Goes to the Cathedral http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/2012/12/reims-1974-rock-goes-to-the-cathedral/ http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/2012/12/reims-1974-rock-goes-to-the-cathedral/#comments Sat, 08 Dec 2012 23:21:22 +0000 Archie Patterson http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/?p=51400  

 

In the annals of European music, one concert stands out as preeminent still today, ranking as legendary in terms of crystallizing a transcendent moment in time for an era and its music. The two performances held on Friday DEC 13, 1974 at the Cathedrale Notre-Dame in Reims, France featured Nico & Tangerine Dream.

It was both a glorious event, and as it turned out a watershed moment in time that served to foreshadow the end of the second culture and its music that has come to pass today. This film made by Benoit Garel is a chronicle of that time in France, featuring some of the people involved who offer a retrospective look back at the mode of the music and how it all came to happen back then. It was broadcast on TV by France 3 on DEC 15, 2012.

While filmed in French it nonetheless offers up a visual collage of photos, posters, magazines, interviews, mixed media materials & film clips featuring the movers and shakers who were exploring new ideas and music at that time, and working to make it happen. Featured are original music agitators like Marc Blanc (of Ame Son), Marc Zermati (of New Rose/Sky Dog Records), Assaad Debs, the concert producer and manager who brought all the Krautrock bands, Tangerine Dream, Can, Kraftwerk, Agitation Free, Ashra to France, Jérome Laperrousaz, who directed the film Continental Circus featuring music by Gong, Tim Blake (of Gong/ Hawkwind), Gilles Yéprémian (Manager of Urban Sax) and others. They all offer their perspectives on the development of this new scene, such as Music Action Reims collective, Actuel?! Magazine and the Open Market record store to mention but a few. Most striking perhaps is the viewpoint and impact of Virgin Records in France as told by the very young and hip Richard Branson.

The film also contains video footage of Gong, Agitation Free, Henry Cow and most importantly, Tangerine Dream has several live segments as well as finally Nico from the Reims concert. The end of the film is haunting and emotionally powerful as a screen is set up in the Cathedrale Notre-Dame in Reims and several of the films contributors watch a Nico performance projected and that screen. Having seen Nico perform live several times in the US in small venues myself, I can hardly imagine the experience of seeing her Live, or on film, in that amazingly beautiful sacred space.

The movie overall does a good job of offering viewers an insight into the magic and electric energy that was in the air back then. At the end, it also offers a glimpse of the reality of those dreams and how that reality set the stage for the world to become as it is today. Due to the audience at Reims engaging in acts of desecration, urinating on the columns, smoking pot and vandalism, future concerts and music there were banned. The ultimate irony perhaps is that today several of the people involved in the original filming of the concert are now hindering the release and presentation of this new film. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Nico tragically did not make it to the Millennium. Tangerine Dream (now only Edgar and hired guns) has turned into a mass merchandising company re-recording classic material , reissuing old recordings over and over again, as well recently recording a covers album featuring TD muzak-like versions of classic rock hits like Hotel California. The pioneering spirit of the past is now gone. The music is being cloned by 70 year olds and still consumed by their fans making it marginally marketable, but the cold hard reality is that this turn of events truly represents an abject sell-out of all they originally stood for and believed in creatively and philosophically. In the beginning, the experimental spirit and desire to go outside the box where no one had gone before were what made the music and the artists who created it then different. Dreams die hard, and Dreamer’s who have lost their way today may well bear a heavier cross than those in former days who never claimed to be anything more than what they were.

 

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Krautrock…Once Upon a Time in Germany… http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/2012/10/krautrock-once-upon-a-time-in-germany/ http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/2012/10/krautrock-once-upon-a-time-in-germany/#comments Mon, 08 Oct 2012 22:02:39 +0000 Archie Patterson http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/?p=50819 “In 1970, there were no German record companies interested in German music. We showed the German people that they could trust their own music.
Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser (MOJO magazine, April 2003)

The history and music of Germany’s Krautrock era has more books written about it and recordings endlessly reissued than existed during its original golden age. Some of the era’s artists still produce music today, only a few are still creative. Most repeat formulas, pale imitations of their former selves. Labels cash in, and nostalgia rules the day, while quantity overwhelms quality. When it comes to Krautrock, we are awash in musical detritus, including posthumous accounts of how the German scene began. There are copious print and online writings about this band or that record by neo-journalists, but precious little historical insight, analysis or information about the original pioneers who served as catalyst. Amongst the missing, are The Cosmic Couriers.

That raises the question of what happened to Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser & Gille Lettmann. Some say they went crazy due to an overdose of drugs and their own hubris. Others say they became beggars on the street and then died. There are those who think they fell victim to artists, who when they got offers of big money from major record companies, then used legal means to escape their contracts which ultimately destroyed the very people who helped them establish a career, released their music and promoted them, when no one else would even listen to the music they made.

Back in the heady days of yore, inspired by Ian MacDonald’s and Karl Dallas’ original Melody Maker & NME articles on Krautrock, Eurock was created in 1971 as a radio program, the original US conduit which hit the airwaves and played music from the then emerging German scene. A short time later, it branched out to become the first English language magazine writing about it. Shortly thereafter, the original concept expanded to cover the entirety of European music, then ultimately the global music scene and its cultural impact.

This article tells a very particular story, presenting the words of The Cosmic Couriers translated from various original documents given to a correspondent friend of Eurock who was studying at the Goethe Institute in the Summer of 1973 visited the couple at their home in Germany and brought back gifts and a wealth of information from Rolf & Gille. Following that, we kept in touch via written personal correspondence over a couple of years until they vanished.

While combing through the entire Eurock Archives the last couple years I’ve unearthed a treasure trove of original documents, photos and personal correspondences from not only Rolf & Gille, but also many other artists, labels and producers from around the globe. Much of this material was not included in the previous Eurock productions – The Golden Age (CD-ROM) and Eurock – European Rock & the Second Culture (Book + eBook) – that featured real-time, written while the scene unfolded over the years articles, interviews & reviews covering the original German, European and International scene.

The writings offered here (translated from the German language) offer a fascinating sociological story about the people, music and newly evolving culture of those times, not only in Germany, but also worldwide. In retrospect, I personally feel that it was the best of times, and the worst of times. Whatever the case, it is crystal-clear that all that transpired surely led us to the world we live in now. It has become what we made it. About that ultimate result, I will let you draw your own conclusions.

It is a fact that life was very different way back then. After WW 2, a new German generation crawled its way out of the rubble of the Third Reich to encounter an establishment re-created on the foundation of an old social order. Their government involved in the Vietnam War, allowed the presence of American bases on German soil. Young people grew up in a shell-shocked environment. Many reacted against that, the Red Army Fraction/ Baader-Meinhof were tearing the country apart. Musically, spoon-fed on rock ‘n’ roll and dosed with LSD they forsake Schlager to create a brand new sound. Krautrock without doubt in the beginning was a psychic reflection, channeled into a sound track of their youth, which emerged from Germany’s national DNA.

With all this in mind, read this once upon a time story about a part of that new generation, who after overcoming their initial shock came to see the world from a more wide-eyed, playful perspective, and believed it was important to live life with an open and adventurous creative spirit. In Germany, and around the world, a new international consciousness came into being during that era, the times they were a changing, and forever altered in more ways than anyone could have ever imagined. The story of The Cosmic Couriers, Rolf & Gille, was in many ways a paradigm example of that. Little known now and ultimately written out of the cultural lexicon, sometimes dreams die hard, old memories simply fade away. Rolf & Gille are still alive, now living out of touch with the world today by choice. Their dreams live on only as words in the ether.

AP

 A New Sound is Starting From Germany

Gille Lettmann and Rolf-Ulrich-Kaiser (The Producers of the Cosmic Couriers) begin their new label Kosmische Musik (distributed in Germany by Metronome records) with 10 Quadraphonic recordings and the game TAROT. The name of the label, which includes the internationally known Ohr label, is Cosmic Music, the Sound of the Cosmic Couriers.The Cosmic Musicians play all styles of folk, rock & synthesizer music. They use all kinds of machines. Sound effects whistle, synthesizers hum, strong rhythms pulsate and warm melodies float.

Wallenstein morphs into the Symphonic Rock Orchestra, combining classical with rock. Witthüser & Westrupp (the Magic Band) sing cosmic fairy tales. Ash Ra Tempel, Mythos, Klaus Schulze & Tangerine Dream produce electronic rock, Popol Vuh creates Sacred Music.

The Starry Eyed Girl & the Cosmic Courier have established two companies, the Berlin recording company Ohr Musik Produktion GmbH and the Berlin publishing company Cosmic News Musik Verlag GmbH. The heads of several music companies and journalists from all around the world came the last few months to the Quadro Studio of Dieter Dierks near Cologne. They listened to the new Quadro Sounds from Space, flying off into a new dimension of music, time and space. The US magazine Rolling Stone sent a special correspondent. He headlined his report – “Germany’s New Sound of Cosmic Music”.

 The World is Young

The Starry Eyed Girl produces a new style of music, “The Principal in Silk and Satin” (in Jasmin, a leading German woman’s magazine) for young people: 50% of the population in Western industrial society today is under 30 years old. For example, Federal Republic of Germany: 30 million people under 30. They are turned on by new ideas; melodies form their fantasies and communication.

The Producers of the Cosmic Couriers start their own: “Pop Music Combine in the Beatles Dimension” with music: “Through music your people can be reached directly, music is the most intuitive communication medium existing. Music forms our dreams. Every one of us has the possibility to develop our own creativity. Above all: Through Music, We expand, Into a more beautiful world.” (Jasmin)

 The Birth of Cosmic Music

In 1970, the record producer Peter Meisel and rock critic Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser (who has published 10 books) founded Ohr Music Produktion GmbH in Berlin. They selected the best and most adventurous new musicians on the scene and produced their albums.

By 1972, the record sales of German rock had increased dramatically. The whole industry changed, catching up with this new trend. Within three years, Ohr Musik Produktion had established three record labels – Ohr (Ear), Pilz (Mushroom) & Die Kosmischen Kuriere (The Cosmic Couriers) and released 60 albums.

May 18, 1973, The Starry Eyed Girl Gille and Cosmic Courier Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser bought the shares of Peter Meisel and prepared the start of a new sound. The magazine Jasmin estimated the price at over 500,000 DM.

Cosmic Music is the music of the Sci-Fi Dimension, produced in the most modern electro-acoustic medium – Quadraphonic. Behind closed doors in his studio Dieter Dirks mixed down 15 new Quadro albums in a new way, so that they have the ability to play in both Stereo and Monaural mediums, producing even better than normal quality.

“With Stereo, we listened, with Quadro we swim in the sounds. Our melodies soar through the spheres; our rhythms pulsate through the star spangled worlds of Sci-Fi. Our Quadro sound offers endless possibilities for new listening adventures in the future. Take up your Quadro Headphones & Fly!”

 Star Sounds ~ Discover the Galaxy of Cosmic Music

 Skylab calling Terra: We are living in the new age. TV Broadcasts from space Live. The Saturn rocket is on the way into space carrying supplies to create a laboratory in the heavens. Somewhere, far from our earth, the astronauts climb from their spaceship into the galaxy. Weightless they glide to Skylab. They go about their tasks, repairing in space. When Skylab’s TV camera pivots further outward, millions of stars sparkle before our eyes. In boundless fantasy, we imagine what goes on in distant galaxies.

 Astronauts

Do other beings live there? Do space vessels chase about at the speed of light? Have their pilots already visited Terra, our planet?

“We want you to prepare the Earth for our landing.” The American scientist Dr. Andrija Puharich claims to have received this message through electromagnetic waves from the envoys of planet Hoova, a planet 6000 times larger than our Earth, according to the description received. This is referenced in Puharich’s authorized biography of Uri Geller. They first landed on the Planet Earth 6000 years ago, during the time of Pharaoh Imhotep, in Egypt: “We can do nearly everything through you. We can be visible & invisible.”

 Space Ships

That is our world. We discover the sound of Solar System, the Milky Way, the Universe. We play music broadcasting our adventures out into the cosmos. We are Cosmic Couriers.

With the Cosmic Jokers, we travel into the fantasy worlds of Galactic Supermarket, to the Planeten Sit-In. Sternenmädchen Gille steers her space ship through the flashing worlds of Science Fiction, visiting the Magicians. She calls her spacecraft Zeitschiff.

 Zeitschiff

Starry Eyed Girl calling you: I am flying around in my Time Ship. This is my space ship Enterprise. Discover the new magicians with me. Fly in my ship to the time of Tutenkh-amen, the master of aesthetics, and Leonardo da Vinci, the discoverer of boundless fantasy. Let Cagliostro, the eternal charlatan, and Ludwig van Beethoven, the magician of tone color enchant you. Visit Werner van Braun, the architect of man’s first journeys into space.

Starry Eyed Girl calling you: Forget the common concept of the magician as a trick artist. My friends are the Couriers of unlimited possibilities, Geniuses of ideas and Cosmic envoys from another world. Like Albert Einstein, to whom formulas revealed themselves in a dream.

Bettina von Brentano, also a Starry Eyed Girl, wrote to the poet Goethe in 1810 about the composer Ludwig van Beethoven: “I can confirm to you that I believe in a divine magic, which is the element of intellectual nature; Beethoven practices this magic in his art; everything he can teach you is pure magic.”

Electrons

Our music is called Cosmic Music. It is played by Cosmic Composers. The Cosmic Jokers, Wallenstein, Ash Ra Tempel, Mythos, Klaus Schulze, Sternenmädchen, the Tarot Band, Jerry Rainbow, Popol Vuh, Rosi and many others. Their songs tell thrilling stories, contain stellar melodies and dip into the cosmic space of Science Fiction soundscapes. We say Sci-Fi. That is our abbreviation for Science Fiction without horror, which is instead full of adventure and joy.

Cosmic Music is the sound of the Starship-Enterprise-Generation and children of the most fantastic composer of all time, Ludwig van Beethoven. It contains sounds from unknown worlds, incomprehensible, fantastic and extraterrestrial, acoustic signals for flights into the galaxy. New telepathic codes of Cosmic Music are stored in newly discovered electronic frequencies, transmitted through flashing light, magic colors and the sound of electrons.

Galaxy Sounds (Course the Sun)

Sternenmädchen calling you: Close your eyes. Put on the Quadraphonic headphones, you can hear the telepathic signals of the new sound. You will see movies of the galaxy, hovering over the new sounds of beauty. The sun shines into your life. Fly along and experience a more beautiful world with us.

Quad Studio

Think of Skylab once again. In the original tone of the TV broadcast, celestial sounds are heard; the humming of the planets, the flashing of falling stars, whistling of solar winds. In the Quad studios near Cologne, we re-create those sounds.

There we record celestial sounds, with Dieter Dierks in the cockpit mixing 40 quadraphonic channels of music from space. It is here that the galaxy sound originates, which also offers multi-layers of stereo and monaural sound. The music offers a brand new listening experience created especially by us for you to enjoy.

The Cosmic Composers are in the studio, the headphones glowing. Today the Cosmic Jokers are playing – Harald & Jürgen of Wallenstein, Manuel & Rosi from Ash Ra Temple, Klaus Schulze, Dieter & the Starry Eyed Girl. All instruments are tuned in – organ, piano, synthesizer, guitars. Each musician is inspired, follows no rules, creating all styles- rock, folk, classic and electronic.

Sound Machines

Most of all they compose and play electronically. When we got our first synthesizer, we forgot the world around us for an entire day. At first, we were amazed that the sound machines, they played themselves. We turned on the oscillators, which produced continuous tonal pulsations, then the filters that changed the pulsations rhythmically or melodically.

Now the rockets take off, and airplanes land. No one needs lessons for electronics. Anyone could play the Sound machines. All that is needed is a curiosity about Fantasy.

Cosmic Couriers

Starry Eyed Girl calling you: My fashions are Cosmic Sternenmode. They display the colors of the cosmos filled with Stars, Suns, Comets & Galaxies that radiate joy like our music. Fashion and music belong together. They make the world more beautiful, inspire fantasy and joy in people.

We are Cosmic Couriers. We live in a new age. We create Cosmic Music. We created our own cosmic Tarot game and everyone can play. We live in the new age. Everyone has fantasies. Anyone can play along. We show everyone the beauty we have discovered ourselves. We are waiting for your discoveries.

Silver Channels (Course the Cosmos)

We recently had another visitor in the Quad Studio. Some days later Dieter Liffers writes in the publication Show:

“They work without considering it work, on an optimistic, quadraphonic sound, on colorful fashions, on fascinating toys for big and small, on a revolutionary, positive horoscope system, on peaceful comic strips with space appeal.

I personally cannot escape the strong attraction of their willful ideas. You should simply listen, see and be amazed, just like I did.”

Fly with Us, Climb into our Time Ship.

 

Read More @ The Mythos of Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser

Watch @ Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser on German TV 1971

[Translation: Kevin Wilson]

[Photos:  Marcel Fugere, Eurock Archives]

 

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euroRock In Opposition http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/2012/08/eurorock-in-opposition/ http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/2012/08/eurorock-in-opposition/#comments Sun, 12 Aug 2012 18:27:49 +0000 Archie Patterson http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/?p=50336 Continue reading ]]>  

 

Rock began In Opposition to mainstream culture…

The metamorphosis from (black) race music into white rock ‘n’ roll shook the very foundations of society. It was an ungodly amalgamation of the blues from the plantation fields, jazz and poetry in bohemian enclaves, injected with country folk. Ultimately, it was all bastardized by white boys in US garages making noise. Later it made its way across the ocean to be copied by musicians everywhere. The next step in the US during the late ‘50s, early ‘60s was a regionalized, independent scene consisting of indie labels and artists, followed by contract songwriters (the Brill Building bunch in NYC), musicians (the Wrecking Crew in LA) and promoters, aka, “hit men”, paying DJ’s to play the latest “Picks to Click” on AM radio and make them “Hits”.

It was not a corporate, commercial enterprise until the “do-your-own-thing, man” psychedelic 60’s, when in November 1965; Jefferson Airplane “sold out” and signed a recording contract with RCA Victor for a previously unheard-of advance of $25,000. That ushered in the era of sex, drugs and the rock for profit and big business. The mode of music became revolutionized, and ultimately co-opted as corporate record labels began signing anyone up who could play an instrument, or not, and hyping it to make millions. The commercial record business literally exploded and FM radio hit the airwaves.

“If it wasn’t for the music, I would have said goodbye a long, long time ago”
~P.F. Sloan

I began to immerse myself in “rock ‘n’ roll” at the age of 10 (too young to know it was a euphemism for having sex in the back seat of a car). I bought my first record (by Conway Twitty) in 1958. I watched American Bandstand religiously and spent many a summer’s night staying awake late listening to 50,000-watt KOMA, out of Oklahoma City, or Wolfman Jack broadcasting from 250,000-watt border blaster, XERF-AM just across the line in Mexico.

In a little more than a decade my cultural horizons made a quantum leap. My musical journey went from “It’s Only Make Believe” to “Freak Out” and “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”, followed by “Tanz Der Lemminge”, “Tago Mago”, Plastic People of the Universe and beyond. From playing my first rock record in my 5th grade music class, to programming a Eurock FM radio show in 1970, I travelled the cosmic airwaves for what in retrospect now seems like little more than a heartbeat.

At the outset of the 1970’s, I was encouraged by Greg Shaw, the Godfather of BOMP rock-zine fandom, to create Eurock Magazine and write about my passion, the newly emerging Euro scene of experimental and space rock bands. Within 5 years, I had also collaborated in the creation of two pioneering US Import Distributors – Intergalactic Trading Company & Greenworld Distribution/ Paradox Music Mailorder. Eurock – European Rock & the Second Culture is now available worldwide as a book or eBook from Amazon documenting that story. It reprints all the original magazine interviews and feature articles, along with more recent Eurock pieces chronicling my 40+ year musical journey.

The expansive contacts made through all my various endeavors enabled me to facilitate independently importing many new experimental bands from around the world on a large scale, via Eurock. I introduced countless International artists and labels into the US market, from Europe, South America, Mexico, Japan, and even became known behind the “Iron Curtain” as the man who broke the Soviet blockade. I also launched one of the first US indie labels focused on releasing material from the Euro scene, ultimately expanding to artists from Japan, Russia, and beyond. The Eurock label’s extensive discography today stands at 70+ productions.

“Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it”
~Bertolt Brecht

When the band Henry Cow left Virgin Records and began “Rock in Opposition” (RIO), I was in touch with Chris Cutler and helped distribute most all of the original founding bands in that collective. Eurock promoted and distributed all of their records, and the magazine printed the original RIO documents.

Rock In Opposition was not conceived to be a social or political organization, but more a musical collective that served as an intervention into “rock” culture encouraging free expression, experimentation and distribution. Chris Cutler and the band Henry Cow were the primary instigators of the original RIO collective. They had a political consciousness, sometimes present in their music. However, if RIO was political, it was only in the sense that it actively opposed the “business of music as usual”, which served primarily as a market mechanism to generate profit, producing and marketing music for mass consumption.

The original RIO collective staged their first concert on March 12, 1978 at the New London Theatre. It featured Henry Cow (England), Stormy Six (Italy), Samla Mammas Manna (Sweden), Univers Zero (Belgium) & Etron Fou Leloublan (France). The Concert was promoted as – “Five Rock Groups The Record Companies Don’t Want You To Hear”.

After that first concert, Henry Cow disbanded. The collective subtracted one, and added 3 new groups to their ranks – Art Zoyd (France), Art Bears (England, featuring former Henry Cow members) & Aksak Maboul (Belgium).

A second RIO festival, took place between April 26 & May 1, 1979, at al Teatro dell’Elfo in Milan, Italy where all seven groups performed. At that concert, discussions about philosophy and future activities led to the collective breaking up. Four further RIO festivals took place in the UK, France, Sweden and Belgium, but RIO as an organization ceased to exist around 1981.

“A single spark can start a prairie fire”
~Mao Tse-tung

The RIO collective was no more, but the world music scene was undergoing seismic changes all over and Eurock chronicled that process. In France, Giorgio Gomelsky, along with Magma, in the early 1970s had created an underground circuit for bands to play all around the country. Gerard Nguyen’s pioneering French Atem Magazine & Atem Records excelled in promoting the French scene. Gerard released the early albums of both Univers Zero & Art Zoyd. Eurock first promoted and distributed them in the USA.

In Czechoslovakia, members of the Plastic People of the Universe were arrested by the government and jailed. The tapes for their first album, “Egon Bondy’s Happy Hearts Club Banned”, were smuggled out of Czechoslovakia and released in France by Jacques Pasquier’s SCOPA Invisible label, distributed in the USA by Eurock. Subsequently, their musical social manifesto, “The Hundred Points”, was also smuggled out and released by Eurock in the USA. The PPU survived and ultimately toured the USA. The band themselves was not overtly political, but in fact did serve as catalyst for the Charter 77 Human Rights movement, which ultimately led the overthrow of the Czech communist government and creation of the new democratic Czech Republic, headed up by Vaclav Havel.

Later in the 70s, Giorgio relocated to NYC and staged the “ZU Manifestival” in 1978 featuring Fred Frith, Chris Cutler, Daevid Allen’s NY Gong, Yochk’o Seffer, Bill Laswell, Glenn Branca & many more. I flew to NYC for 3 days and stayed with him. The next year he took his rock caravan on the road and played a series of dates as he made his way out to LA where I was living at the time. In 1979, Giorgio landed in LA for the “LA Manifestival”, which featured some of the NYC cast, along with Japan’s Far East Family Band and various other LA experimental bands.

The seeds of opposition to the musical status quo were also germinating in other parts of the world. In Germany, Gerhard Augustin, co-host and co-founder of the German Rock TV program “The Beat Club”, staged a musical coup getting Amon Düül 2, Can & Popol Vuh signed to Liberty/ United Artists Records. Meanwhile journalist Rolf Ulrich-Kaiser gave birth to OHR Music releasing the first albums of Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Temple and Klaus Schulze. “Schlager” was overthrown; “Krautrock” became Germany’s rock of the future.

Down in Mexico the times were also a-changing. Carlos Alvarado’s Via Lactea, the band Decibel w/ Walter Schmidt, Voldarepet w/ Arturo Meza, Oxomaxoma w/ José Alvarez & Arturo Romo, along with Nazca were at the forefront of a new electronic, experimental rock scene that was a radical break from “mariachi”. In 1979, Mexico City staged its own Rock in Opposition Experimental Music Festival – “Una Alternativa Para Los Lunes”.

The legacy of RIO was kept alive in the UK as Chris Cutler founded Recommended Records in late 1978, which continues today as ReR Megacorp. RIO, the music, still exists in the form of occasional festivals. After a long hiatus, in April 2007, the first in a series of RIO Festivals took place at the Maison de la Musique de Cap Découverte in Carmaux, France. A second concert by RIO France took place in September 2009, and a third RIO reunion festival took place in September 2010. The latest RIO Fest 2012 is set for 3 days – Friday September 21, 2012 thru’ Sunday September 23, 2012 at Cap Découverte/ Maison de la Musique 81400 Blaye-les-Mines, France.

Today’s music scene is a different animal. There are still bands around the world making creative music without purely commercial intent. The internet both facilitates their existence, and to a great degree consigns them to needle-in-a-haystack oblivion. In the real world, indie labels, music stores, a viable distribution network and counter culture ethos are withering, even major label record companies are dying on the vine. Technology dominates. The brave new world centers around online content delivery systems – iTunes, Amazon and free downloading. Coming soon to a computer near you is content control by governments and ISP’s as well. Today’s entitled generation has little concern for, or interest in opposition. They dream of mass consumption, at will, for little or no charge. Multi-national corporate control of finance and entertainment, along with the new information technology has irreparably warped the cultural paradigm.

Marshall McLuhan predicted the creation of mass media in his 1964 book, “The Medium is the Message”, offering fair advanced warning. In 1966, he talked of the creation of the Internet and its lifestyle changes, the concept of a global village, later twitter & more, envisioning its substance and impact:

“All media work us over completely. They are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical, and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered. The Medium is the Massage. Any understanding of social and cultural change is impossible without a knowledge of the way media work as environments. All media are extensions of some human faculty–psychic or physical.”

The nine bands, which made up the original RIO collective, came from five different countries and were among some of the many great bands of that golden age. They were part of a time when music and culture literally expanded and exploded. As Plato had postulated, everything changed. Musical codes carried on the wind, spread to all corners of the world, creating an International language that inspired everyone.

My role was admittedly secondary to the music, serving as cultural historian & journalist documenting that alchemy of creation, which resulted in a “Second Culture”. I was a propagandist, and at times a catalyst. I was fortunate to be there in the beginning, and to have lasted… I truly got by “with a little help from my friends”, I still do. Eurock continues today as a Webzine, weekly radio program, reviewing, podcasting, interviewing and blogging about music old and new…

The Beat goes on…

 

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Bill Nelson LIVE @ Metropolis Studios, London (Dbl CD + DVD) http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/2012/08/bill-nelson-live-metropolis-studios-london-dbl-cd-dvd/ http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/2012/08/bill-nelson-live-metropolis-studios-london-dbl-cd-dvd/#comments Fri, 03 Aug 2012 23:13:29 +0000 Archie Patterson http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/?p=50151 Continue reading ]]>  

I mainly remember Bill Nelson from the Be-Bop Deluxe days of Axe Victim, Futurama & Sunburst Finish back in the mid 1970’s. During that period, I was working in the high profile import music business in LA. People in the company loved him; I thought he was quite good. Later in the mid 80’s I chanced upon one of his instrumental albums, the double disc Chance Encounters at the Garden of Lights. I was quite impressed, but was on to other things quickly…

Therefore, when I came to his brand new effort, LIVE @ Metropolis Studios, London, in fact I was a relative virgin to what he had been up to all these years. Up top, I must say after watching and listening to all 3 discs I was incredibly impressed. For the third release in the Canadian Company Convexe Entertainment’s Live in Metropolis Studios London CD/ DVD series, Nelson and his accompanying band, The Gentleman Rocketeers really put on a show.

The shindig begins with him performing a selection of 4 solo guitar tracks w/ only slight accompaniment. They displayed his diversity guitar mastery mixing nimble fingering, combined with mesmerizing melodies to achieve a beautiful effect. Based on this performance, I would rank his “Beyond These Clouds The Sweetest Dream” as one of the most mesmerizing, shimmering melodic guitar explorations I’ve ever heard. It was not just intellectual noodling and looping that some pass off as music, but liquid-like lead lines, stretched and bent over a dreaming (pre-recorded) synthetic backdrop and accompanied by subtle live ethereal flute and sax embellishment.

He followed that up with a truly stunning guitar display along with the band performing a goodly selection of career highlights that spanned the spectrum of instrumental guitar rock, as well as NOT highly overblown prog-rock. Throughout his playing was inspired and powerful, not simply redundant guitar hero clichés. He mixed heavy lead lines, with power chord melodies, throwing in some nice acoustic guitar at one point. Visually it was a treat as well for he played 14 different guitars, switching between them throughout.

In addition, like the other DVDs in the series, there is a bonus interview and it was here that the intelligence behind the guitar playing shined through. He talked warmly about his first album Northern Dream, recorded in a field during his hippie period, turning down his first record contract offer as he’d moved on and the label wanted to reissue that album, not sign the band. Also, of great interest was how John Peel had gotten a hold of both that first album, and his initial demo single with Be-Bop, playing them to death. The single got the record company knocking on his door a second time. Ultimately, signing him to a deal on his own terms. Topping it all off, he talks about how each year he personally puts on a special thank you festival, playing multiple concerts, giving away prizes and having a jolly good time – for himself and his long supporting fans.

This release as a whole, truly communicated just how music can indeed transcend age and time. In Bill Nelson’s case, I missed out the first time. Thankfully, I got a second chance…

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Post Symphonic Music from Mother Russia http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/2012/07/post-symphonic-music-from-mother-russia/ http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/2012/07/post-symphonic-music-from-mother-russia/#comments Sun, 29 Jul 2012 18:52:34 +0000 Archie Patterson http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/?p=50141 Continue reading ]]>  

Mikhail Chekalin Back to the Future ~ Post-Realism

In the late 1960′s and 70′s, postmodern art and music were a progressive step away from conformity. Later there was an attempt to merge those forms with a lifestyle more attuned to consumption and relaxation. Now a new norm has deflated the whole scene, protest centers around bringing back fundamental values. In fact, Post Realism centers ironically around the idea of getting back to the avant-garde culture and traditions of the XX century.

In today’s world, true Art does not occupy the place it did in the last century. At that time art was a form of religion, the role of the artist in society was equal to, and sometimes even surpassed the role of the writer, philosopher, and especially politician. Since then, Art has fallen from its pedestal. Post-modern art does not even attempt to work as cultural protest against the present order of things; now instead it serves as a utilitarian sonic background, striving instead to become a form of entertainment.

With the onset of the era of consumption and mass culture, artists must uphold the value and purpose of the Art like never before. An artist is someone who reflects reality. To paraphrase a key phrase of Stanislavski: “Artist – this is not a diagnosis; the artist is the one who sets the diagnosis for the society.”

The music of Mikhail Chekalin continues this tradition of 20th century Art. His music directly epitomizes this. It is not socialist realism, but a form of surrealism created in the context of modernity. It may seem strange, yet it is certainly true that Art of XX century was futuristic and has proven to be more modern than that of XXI. Digitization and advanced technology cannot replicate true human artistic creativity, which when manifested becomes revolutionary by its own nature. The idea of social revolution may be gone, but the inspiration that art (and first of all music) can provide are eternal.

Chekalin’s Music is like Shostakovich, for the Electronica Generation

Listen Post Symphonic Music by Mikhail Chekalin

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Vander Graf Generator LIVE @ Metropolis Studios, London (Dbl CD + DVD) http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/2012/07/vander-graf-generator-live-metropolis-studios-london-dbl-cd-dvd/ http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/2012/07/vander-graf-generator-live-metropolis-studios-london-dbl-cd-dvd/#comments Sun, 29 Jul 2012 00:15:29 +0000 Archie Patterson http://www.rocksbackpagesblogs.com/?p=50072  

Of all the original UK progressive bands, VDGG was perhaps the least pop conscious of the lot. No matter how out-there most prog bands got, they always made at least a symbolic nod to pop in a song or two. It was almost obligatory, after all the generic “File Under Pop” section was where most all albums in those days were filed in record stores.Van Der Graf consisted of a top rate vocalist who wrote complex tortured psychological lyrics, and musicians who played serious avant-jazz, with a hint of rock, chops. Their music at times had moments of calm and beauty, but I can’t easily remember a catchy pop hook or lyric filled with a whimsy or charm.

The pop-music pressure cooker took its toll and they called-it-a day in 1972, with vocalist Peter Hammill continuing on solo. Over the years, they occasionally reformed in various configurations, until 2005 when the full 4-piece band performed Live at Royal Festival Hall. Multi-instrumentalist David Jackson was there and it went down well. That generated the idea of continuing again, Jackson decided to defer, so the remaining trio brainstormed continuing on, ultimately deciding to give it a go.

In December 2010, the reconfigured Van Der Graf trio took the stage and did a show that initiated a new era, and somewhat different sound. Gone were Jackson’s otherworldly solos, replaced with dual keyboards consisting employing at times of synth, piano and simulated Hammond B3 w/ bass pedals playing against a backdrop of Guys Evans rock solid drumming. Hammill’s vocals were ever-present, still powerful, but age has mellowed him a bit. He sings now as if life lessons have given him knowledge of what he sings. There is less “strum und rang” in the music. The compositions are still free flowing and intense, but also more focused. The spaces between notes now add drama, not respite from the instrumental storm.

During the concert, they performed newer tracks from recent recordings, and older pieces re-arranged to suit the trio format. Highlights are – the song “Your Time Starts Now”, and classic, closer “Man-Erg”. Especially impressive are pieces where Hammill plays “interference guitar”. On “Lemmings” & “Lifetime”, he doesn’t so much solo, as inject melody, intense chords and scathing riffs into the sound to achieve effect, bringing the trademark Van Der Graf element of dissonance and chaos into the mix.

The trio started the show off a bit tentatively, but before long, the instrumental voltage surged, ending on a high note with “Man-Erg”. In the end the music of the trio reincarnation pays great homage to their past. The new arrangements and music in evidence here indicates the musicians and music they make has evolved, and today certainly has something to offer musically in the future.

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