Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 7. 19 April 1972
Farther Along —
Imagine (its easy if you try) the following conversation "Remember long hair? And John Lennon.....son of a gun, whatever happened to him.....and grass, man remember grass? How'd we used to say it, oh yeah, Fahhhh Out!" Instant nostalgia, yes, but did you realise that its already nearly Ten Years since the Beatles? Ten years since Lennon spoke in prophecy" whatever we'll be doing at 30 we won't be on a stage together 'Twist and Shout.'
At the end of these ten years its grown all over the Stones and Lennon has lost his way and the Airplane have degenerated into a platform for Kantner's dreams of the millenium and Dylan is living his private joys, too simple to be communicated and you begin to wonder whether there's a place for a thirty year old on a stage singing about anything. And now the Byrds, the beautiful Byrds, have crapped out, too. There's a time for every purpose and this was contract time for a new Byrds LP so they did it, but I can't think of any reason why you should want to own it. For the record there are two old fifties throwaways, two novelty numbers, and lots of glossy magazine songs about mountain streams and shady groves inhabited by those spaced out chicks beloved of hip male chauvinism, you know, the passive serene type who know too much to argue or to judge. Oh, and Alvin Lee plays supersonic banjo on the last track.
Of course the Byrds are really Roger McGuinn and its significant that his contribution is a bastardised melody ripped off from Chuck Berry's Nadine and Dylan's 115th Dream over the top of that elderly Satisfaction guitar riff. Even the name of the album Farther Along is depressing. Farther where? I dunno, just farther. Just older. Tireder.
Tupelo Honey —
And everything is so complete,
When you're walking down the street...
But it's Van Morrison's voice that unfortunately puts this disc into the group of non-essential records. Hell, the backing and technical work are so complete but but but.. Mark Jordon plays a damn fine piano especially on You're a Woman almost rolling and funky. Almost, because he doesn't seem to let go. The brass and flute are very tight, well controlled and fit beautifully. The tunes too are varied and fine but it's Van Morrison's voice — harsh and shouting— which doesn't seem to posses the magical quality that great singers have. The whole atmosphere of this record is the 'back down home on the farm' bit - startin a new life (Woodstock, Woodstock).
From the woodland/grassy/woman/man/horse cover right down to the last track Moonshine Whiskey, we see Van Morrison singing the dreams of many people. That, is an escape from city life with its crowding and pollution to his farm deep in the green countryside. A parallel with this escapism is the singers concentration on the deep personal song:- Starting a new Life. You're my Woman, and Tupelo Honey. The whole thing is just too too grassy.
In all fairness to Tupelo Honey it is a fine L.P with great production and backing But I certainly wouldn't get out of bed at 12 o'clock just for the pure pleasure of hearing a guy who ranges somewhere between Elton John and Cat Stevens - 'hitten the notes'.
P.S. Sorry Mr Van Morrison, I like everything about you but your voice.
Doc White, xxxxxxxx
Simon and Garfunkel are no more. After a collection of memorable albums together, (Wednesday Morning 3 A.M., 1964, Sounds of Silence, 1966, Parsley Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme, 1966, The Graduate, 1968, Bookends, 1968, Bridge Over Troubled Water, 1970.) Art Garfunkel has taken to movie acting and Paul Simon is once again alone.
While the Bridge album has been riding high (still among the ten top-selling albums) Simon has been listening to the blues and this has become the greatest single influence in his new solo album. The instances range from hard-driving bass figures characteristic of the country blues from the southwest states to more sophisticated and restrained urban types. All, characteristically, understated.
Also included is a song with Latin style flutes and percussion like that used in El Condor Pasa. And everywhere we find the suggestive narrative poetry of Paul Simon, backed up with his affinitive guitar.
The songs were recorded in various countries with various musicians. There are some unusually effective combinations, like harmonium with bass harmonica. The musicianship is excellent on all tracks, (you expect that with Paul Simon)— like Jerry Hahn's beautiful electric guitar break in Run That Body Down — controlled, and sensitive which gives the songs an immedicy that is breathtaking.
Garfunkel's absence is noticeable only when you compare this album with the others. By that I mean that the songs here are so good that one voice suffices. Regardless, the album is a tremendous success. I hope there are more to come.
Known to the masses for Lady Eleanor - released as a single off their first LP Nicely Out of Tune ( a relatively fresh and exciting opener), Lindisfarne have now presented their second sed - Fog on the Tyne. Recorded in summer '71 under the auspices of Bob Johnston, responsible for many of both Dylan's and Cohen's records Unfortunately it offers no surprises and shows very few signs of an expected progression. This folk-rock quintet, distinctiveness lies in the successful mandolin - acoustic combination which provides the foundation for their sound. I might add that Rod Stewart is also indebted to this particular sound format, as it features strongly on his successful LP Every Picture Tells a Story.
Distinctive as this sound may be, it cannot carry a whole LP on its own, and Lindisfarne have neither Stewart's vocal power nor the quality of his songs in order to lift their second release above the mediocre.
However, the worth of this group lies in their crisp, clear harmonies and their soft, mellow backing and both these qualities are the saving graces of the album. Side One opens with Meet Me on the Corner, a simple yet lively ditty, marred by an opening all too reminiscent of one and an interesting rock bracket, and a vaguely blues-based Train in G Major provides a welcome break from the well-worn strains of the mandolin, with some agreeable battle neck and piano breaks.
Overall, a pleasant and harmless LP with an over abundance of uninteresting melodies and an admirable collection of trite and banal lyrics. A verse from the title-track is enough to dampen any glimmer of enthusiasm.
We can swing together, we can have a wee-wee.
We can have a wet on the wall.
If someone slips a whisper that its simple sister
Slap her down and slap it on her smalls.
Les Percussions de Strasbourg
Les Percussions de Strasbourg gave a concert here in the Town Hall last year during their N.Z. tour. They were good, and they're better on this record. They've chosen a group of 'revolutionary' compositions all composed in America (thus the title), and they play them brilliantly.
Ionization is the most famous of Varese's compositions. Varese was radically anti-traditionalist, and his music was uncompromisingly revolutionary. (The main reason for Zappa's great admiration of him - along with Stockhausen, Varese is Zappa's favourite name-drop. Both good choices!) Varese's aesthetic comes from Futurism and Bruitism: a music of the urban related to the sounds of machinery and the whirling vortex of modern life. Like the Bruitists his musical emphasis was on sheer sonority drawn from a total sound spectrum. Varese recognised the need for new, electronic instruments to open up sound for a new world. His sonorities are placed in complex rhythmic constructions which we frequently base on strong and primitive patterns. The music of Ionization is tense with power, which is both primitive and sophisticated. He used basic physical energy principles as conceptional and contructional catalysts, and the music has an incredibly violent but controlled energy as great spatial planes and quanta of tensile rhythmic sonorities thrust at each other and seem to shatter, or interfuse with each other.
Listen to it at full volume - it's got guts.
Carlos Chare is the grand old man of Mexican music. His Toccato is good stuff. Like the sculpture of the Aztecs and Mayans its full of primitive power controlled by a piercing severity. It's a primitive ritual unleashing the powers of nature, and all contoured within an austerely controlled style.
Tambuco does not work as well. The rhythm construction of this work is both complex and subtle, showing complete mastery; but the construction is so cerebral and sophisticated that the relatively simple sonorities he is using create a juxtaposition making for the banal. It's a good groove if you want to listen to complex rhythm.
John Cage is the composer who made the large and final step from the literary mechanistic past to the total electronic present. He was the creator of the first Happening and the disseminator of chance as a compositional process. He was working in electronic multi-media environments when Warhol was still painting Coca-Cola bottles, (He is also an expert on the many and mysterious properties of mushrooms).
When Cage wrote First Construction (in Metal) he was working towards the idea that music is all sound (as well as sight, touch etc). In this construction he uses sound sources as varied as a tam-tam, thundersheets, and automobile brake - drums. From these and other percussion instruments Cage builds up an incredible landscape of sonorities which is unique in my listening experience. If you listen to music to learn new and fascinating experiences this piece alone makes the record worth buying It's really worth sitting down and concentrating on the sounds as they avoke strange images from your mind. Oriental influence (especially through Zen is apparent in this music both in its suspension of individual expression and in the eastern sound of the rhythms and sonorities.
The performances on this record are excellent, and the engineering is beautiful. Unfortunately, as is often the case, the record I got is poorly pressed and marred by a fair bit of background noise, which is a drag with a record that becomes better as more power is put through it. And you may be surprised at the sounds an all percussion group can make.