Friday, 19 June 2020

Walter Wegmüller - Tarot

Die Kosmischen Kuriere / Ohr 1973

01 Der Narr
02 Der Magier
03 Die Hohepriesterin
04 Die Herrscherin
05 Der Herrscher
06 Der Hohepriester
07 Die Entscheidung
08 Der Wagen
09 Die Gerechtigkeit
10 Der Weise
11 Das Glücksrad
12 Die Kraft
13 Die Prüfung
14 Der Tod
15 Die Mässigkeit
16 Der Teufel
17 Die Zerstörung
18 Die Sterne
19 Der Mond
20 Die Sonne
21 Das Gericht
22 Die Welt

I was sad to learn of the passing of painter and artist Walter Wegmüller this March. Released in 1973, 'Tarot' was a double concept album that came with it's own deck of Tarot cards.

Wegmüller essentially narrates this set, the music is provided by the Ash Ra Tempel / Cosmic Jokers crowd.

Full on kosmiche.

Spiritualized - Let It Flow

Dedicated 1995.

CD 1:

01 Let it Flow
02 Don't Go / Stay With Me
03 Don't Go / Stay With Me (The Individual)

CD 2:

01 Let it Flow
02 Take Good Care Of It (Live)
03 Things'll Never Be the Same (Live)
04 Clear Rush (Live)

CD 3:

01 Let it Flow
02 Medication (Live)
03 Take Your Time (Live)
04 Smile (Live)

The next Spiritualized single after the 'Electric Mainline' E.P. was 'Let it Flow'. It was released as three compact discs; the first came with a slip case to house the other two.

If I remember rightly, they were sold for £1.99 each, so for your £5.97 you got a live mini album plus a couple of new tracks.

All top notch stuff, the 90's were a bargain.

The Nightowl Sings - Slow Cancellation E.P.

TOR074. June 2020.

01 Summer's Yawn
02 Angry Bees
03 Municipal Dreams
04 Stieg & Eva
05 Future Shock

Marc Gillen - Guitars, Keyboards, Samples, Percussion and Vocals.


Stephen Benson - Additional Guitar and Bass on 'Municipal Dreams' and 'Stieg & Eva'.

Recorded at home by Marc Gillen, April 2020.

Mixed and produced by Stephen Benson, April 2020.

Cover art by Marc Gillen.

"Rain is nowhere
Cloudless drift
Grass is barren brown
Quiet screams are made
But neighbours don't hear
At least the kale is doing well

Photos arrive
From a seaside town
Desolate and clear
Switch on the battered synths
And try to reclaim
Yesterday's joy

Time circles
Like a drunk vulture
No merry-go-round
Just back to the start again
Roll the dice
But someone stole my dreams today"

These songs were written and recorded during the first two weeks of lockdown. I had been reading Eva Gabrielsson's 'Stieg and Eva' as the dark curtain of lockdown descended and this proved to be a good catalyst for the E.P. The books tales of isolation, political upheaval and cultural butchery seemed apt. The music and lyrics for the E.P. came quickly and I was trying to play with different sounds and trying not to get hung up on the perfect take, just going with what felt right. Ste helped do the mixing and added a few overdubs. Its funny how difficult times have you looking for home; for me that's songwriting and TOR, and I'm glad this loose creative family is always a home I can rely on. - Marc.

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Deuter - Soundtrack

Kuckuck 1973

01 Princess Of Dawn
02 Winter Sun
03 Triad
04 Tom Bombadills Dance
05 Pearls
06 Arabia
07 Cray-Fish
08 Deep Sea
09 Starlight
10 Phoenix
11 Hoodle-Doodle
12 Gotic Velvet
13 Green Cherub
14 Desert-Rock
15 Synthi-Effect
16 Flea-Dance
17 Flea-Dance II
18 Laser
19 Up And Down
20 Desert-Rock II
21 Kolibri
22 Elefantentempel
23 Reed
24 Singing Bell
25 Evening
26 Together

Deuter is a new age artist that has an extensive back catalogue. This record from 1973 is actually a library record, it's contents for use in film and television.

Krautrock flavoured new age ambient.

Note: the above cover is from the 2018 reissue on Black Sweat Records.

Robbie Basho - Omar Khayyam Country (Live)

Grass-Tops Recordings 2013 (Recorded live 1978)

01 Omar Khayyam Country (Live)

When Grass-Tops recordings were in the full swing of releasing and re-releasing Basho material, this wee gem came out via the Basho Soundcloud.

That page, along with Grass-Tops Recordings is now sadly defunct.

Eleanor Servanté - Distaff Lines

TOR073. Released May 2020.

01 Bonny George Campbell
02 Matty Groves
03 The Lyke Wake Dirge
04 The Twa Corbies
05 Flash Company
06 The Maid of Culmore
07 Island Spinning Song
08 Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye
09 The Snows they Melt the Soonest

I first met Eleanor Servanté when she performed at Cakes & Ale cafe in Carlisle in 2017. I was taken aback by the purity of her voice, her knowledge of folk tradition and the origin of the songs she was performing as well her ability to sing the majority of these songs from memory. She sang acapella.

After the performance I approached Eleanor with the idea of recording her for a release on Treehouse. We recorded three sessions between 2018 and 2020 at Warwick Bazaar. I recorded and discussed ideas with Eleanor and Al mixed and produced. 

The artwork was also by Eleanor; a spinning wheel from the title of one of the songs. The 'distaff' of the title is a part of a spinning wheel, while the distaff line is the female lineage of a family.

Here are Eleanor's notes on the songs presented:

"The final song on this EP was once sung by a street singer in Newcastle, almost two hundred years ago. I have been singing - and collecting songs - for as long as I can remember, and it's tiny, vivid details like this which really capture my imagination. Folk songs were (and are!) formally performed, of course… However, especially before widespread recorded music, folk songs were sung by, well, the folk. Especially before music could be recorded and played back, if you wanted music then you had to make your own. So almost everybody would sing them. At their spinning wheels, on sailing ships, over cooking pots or tin baths, pretty much anywhere you can think of. And it's this idea of folk music that appeals most to me, and to which I kept returning over the course of this project. I sing these songs over my spinning wheel, in local pubs, walking the dog, at my sewing machine, passing the time at cold and windy bus stops… and now here, for you. And if ever you should find yourself humming one of these tunes to yourself, then I shall consider my work here complete.

‘Bonny George Campbell’

This beautiful Scottish lament was collected - along with many others - by Francis James Child during the 19th century, although it’s likely older still.

‘Matty Groves’

This song started out as an early 17th century broadside ballad - the earliest known variant appears in 1613 - and also the first narrative folk ballad I ever learned. Traditionally set in the North of England, it’s a delightfully melodramatic tale of adultery, epic sword fights… and impaling and pinning people to walls. Because this is a murder ballad, and apparently just stabbing them wouldn’t be nearly exciting enough.

‘The Lyke Wake Dirge’

'Lyke' is a very old word for 'corpse'; this funeral chant has its origins in medieval Yorkshire, though the tune we know today is Victorian (written by Sir Harold Boulton, in 'Songs of the North'). It would have been sung at the 'wake' or vigil over the body, and vividly describes the judgement of the dead. The instrument you hear is a rebec, an early ancestor of the violin; this particular one was handmade by my father for my 21st birthday.

'The Twa Corbies'

There's a lovely old English song called 'The Three Ravens' in which a knight gets himself killed (an unfortunate occupational hazard) and his hawk and his hounds keep vigil and his wife drags him off for burial before obediently keeling over and dying herself because that's what women do in these things… This Scottish variant is rather more brutal!

'Flash Company'/ 'The Yellow Handkerchief'

I've known this Victorian song since I was a child, but little me had no idea what the pretty words actually referred to. The Victorians' preferred euphemism was 'the great social evil'... Put it this way: traditionally, a yellow flag flown from the mast of a ship signalled that it was riddled with disease, and thus under quarantine.

'The Maid of Culmore'

This lovely Irish song is another of the many attributed only to our dear friend, 'trad.' The visceral, elemental imagery rather speaks for itself.

'Island Spinning Song'

Collected in the 1950s, this gorgeous working song was translated from Scottish Gaelic, and the chorus maintains echoes of the Gaelic Mouth Music tradition. Love divination was a surprisingly common pastime back in the day, and here the spinning wheel is equated with the figurative wheel of fate. The rhythm you hear in the record is my own spinning wheel; she's a traditional wheel, fully functional… and although she's already had a long life before coming to me, I'm fairly sure that this is her musical debut!

'Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye'

Written by Joseph B. Geoghegan and published in London in 1867, this variant on the arguably more famous 'When Johnny Comes Marching Home' was popular on both sides of the Atlantic during the latter part of the 19th century and beyond.

'The Snows They Melt The Soonest'

This was first recorded in the written tradition after being heard from a Newcastle street singer in 1821." - Eleanor Servanté.

As ever, free download available from our Bandcamp.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Various Artists - Diana and Helen's Garden Chill Out

Mix 2020

01 Palace Video VHS Ident
02 Susan Christie - Rainy Day
03 The Missunderstood - My Mind
04 Mohave Triangles - Eternal Light (Edit)
05 Arbete & Fritid - Petrokemi, Det Kan Man Inte Bada I
06 Cat's Eyes - Black Madonna
07 Mirrorring - Mine
08 Brian Hodgson & Delia Derbyshire - The End
09 Extradition - A Moonsong
10 Frank Zappa - Willie the Pimp
11 Trees Speak - Soul Sequencer
12 Vinegar - Missi Solis (Edit)
13 Deuter - Evening
14 Constance Denby - Om Mani Padme Hum
15 John Coltrane - I Wish I Knew

A mixtape for your lockdown.