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Monday, November 20, 2017

Shopping for Chopin...






Since their launch shortly after the outset of the new millennium, few labels working within the territories of the vinyl reissue and archival release, have reached the heights charted by Vinyl on Demand. Their catalog is among the most dazzling that can be called to mind. Sadly, the imprint has decided to go on hiatus, but before they do, they’re leaving us with this incredible collections by Henri Chopin’s Recordings 13 LPs and a 7" in two box sets, all issued in a very limited edition of 300 copies only.
To mark this Mind-crushing release, we're offering a special discount
on several VOD rare and out-of-print releases (second part to follow)


Henri Chopin

Recordings 1955-91 Vol. 1 (7Lp Box + 7" Ep)

Since their launch shortly after the outset of the new millennium, few labels working within the territories of the vinyl reissue and archival release, have reached the heights charted by Vinyl On Demand. Beyond the incredible quality and care embedded within their efforts - redefining the idea of deluxe, they have elevated countless remarkable and overlooked creative gestures from the shadows of history, entirely recalibrating the legacies of music which exists outside of mainstream interest, placing the diverse actions of the underground in conversation with each other. Their catalog is among the most dazzling that can be called to mind. Sadly, the imprint has decided to go on hiatus, but before they do, they’re leaving us with this incredible collections by Henri Chopin’s Recordings 1955-1991 Volume 1, a seven LP set with a bonus 7inch, Recordings 1955-1991 Volume 2, a six LP set, all issued in a very limited edition of 300 copies only
Henri Chopin needs little introduction. His name carves a path through 20th century avant-garde practice - one of the iconic and noted figures in sound and concrete poetry, sound-art, and experimental music, while also producing a remarkable body of effort as a poet, painter, graphic artist and designer, typographer, independent publisher, filmmaker, broadcaster and promoter. His life and work are a totem to the wonders of the post-war vanguard, offering an image of its diversity, intertwined discourses, optimism, and ambitions. Chopin, who passed away in 2008, spent more than a half a century pushing the potential of art - particularly within sound, and the very character of what it was understood to be. The body of work he left is dazzling and remarkably diverse, something which Vinyl on Demand’s two sets - speed across fourteen discs, with material spanning from 1955-1991, immediately lay bare.
 
 Recordings 1955-91 Vol. 2 (6Lp Box)

He was, said his friend William Burroughs, an "inner space explorer", but the Frenchman remained a solitary figure, outside any artistic grouping, almost the only exponent of his art, and almost certainly the only poet to record sounds and movements by swallowing a microphone. It is a career survey which he has always deserved, but, given how prolific he was, which few are ambitious enough to take on. VOD is among the few up to the task. These two sets are astounding, spanning four decades of remarkable effort and creation. Across their lengths, the wonders of 20th century creative practice - it’s towering challenges and incredible optimism, unfold. Volume 1 covers his entire catalog of official stand-alone releases, while Volume 2 covers all his other contributions to vinyl and tape productions as well as unreleased recordings. His emphasis on sound is a reminder that language stems as much from oral traditions as from classic literature, of the relationship of balance between order and chaos. As ambitious as anything could ever get, both boxes come with an illustrated 52-page booklet and texts in French and English by Vincent Barras, Marc Matter, Larry Wendt and Henri Chopin’s daughter, Brigitte Morton. For any fan of the 20th century avant-garde, particularly sound and concrete poetry, these are as essential as it get. Limited to 300 copies each, grab them before they are gone.




Sunday, November 19, 2017

Miles' 1959 by Enrico Merlin - a one of a kind book




Dear Miles Davis fans and music lovers, here is the long awaited  book:

MILES DAVIS 1959 • A DAY-BY-DAY CHRONOLOGY by Enrico Merlin

... yes, 1959, the very year when everything happened... Kind of Blue's year, what else!



We'll not tell you what the book is about, we just remark that this artifact is absolutely out of regular schemes. 

This very book marks an unprecedented approach in biography of any performing artist, being a true day-by-day chronology in a large format (12” x 12”), full color, c. 600 pages thick artefact.


Easy to appropriately store among Miles' vinyl-records!

A diary of Miles' life and music through an incredible research work on the international press, exhaustive discographies, biographical facts, interviews and musical analysis.

This will set a new standard reference for future research as it gives a full picture of what was happening in the music world in 1959.

You have the chance to become owner of a collector's item, a numbered copy, limited edition, at the price of €250 (+ S&H) for the first 200 subscribers. 

The price will be increased from copy #201 onward.

What are you waiting for? If you want, you can choose the number of your copy (if still available)!

For infos and/or to order your copy, please write to chronodavis@gmail.com


I wish Denise and Enrico the very best with this project... I'm well aware of the incredible research work behind this large format book.

A labour of love and a life-achievement for Enrico and his decades long Miles' scholarship. 

Miles Smiles, I'm pretty sure... 



Thursday, November 9, 2017

Vazz - Chronoillogical








Long live the CD, the Vazz CD! Click-free, surface-noise-free, warp-free, seamsplit-free, hype-free, fair price, excellent sound, housed in smart double digipak, WOW!
Paypal 17€ *worldwide postage included* to
plaguetower@gmail.com and get this in your mailbox within 2-4 weeks (depending on location)!  Yeah, you can combine with https://forcednostalgia.bandcamp.com/album/submerged-vessels-and-other-stories. In that case the price is 45€ *worldwide postage included*. Life is great!



  Vazz / Hugh Small ‎– Chronoillogical (Glasgow Recordings 1982 - 1987) / Piano Music (2014 - 2016)

CD 1: Chronoillogical (Glasgow Recordings 1982 - 1987)

1       Pearls (Vocal)
2       Bleached White Skin
3       Cast Reflections
4       Your Final Word
5       Lost Time
6       Feverpitch
7       Want Of Anger
8       Violent Silence
9       Flute Dance
10      Silver
11      For A Reason
12      Endless Road
13      Pearls (Dub)
14      Thirst For White
15      You Haunt Me
16      Breath

CD 2: Piano Music (2014 - 2016)

1       Isolated Incident
2       Days Without
3       Cascais
4       The White Cathedral
5       Ghostwritten
6       Myxomorphia
7       Decembers
8       Only Child
9       Substrata
10      All Saints Day
11      Cloudland
12      Rue St. Placide
13      Ulterior Motive
14      Cat & Mouse
15      Sputnik
16      Field
17      Mission Statement
18      Kazimierz
19      Girl With Kite
20      Wishlist

CD 1: Complete official VAZZ discography taken from Whisper Not / The Wrong Holiday (cassette/split-LP), Breath / Violent Silence, Feverpitch, Pearls (7" & 12" singles) and Your Lungs And Your Tongues (mini LP).  CD 2: Recorded at home. First edition limited to 123 numbered copies. Impress neighbours, pets and family members with this amazingly original artefact! Buy 3 and list 2 on discogs ("RARE SEALED LTD"). Everyone can be an entrepreneur. Yeah! Life is great!

Nice...


The Beatles' Sixhundredninetysixtythree shades of White







New York-based artist Rutherford Chang brings his unique We Buy White Albums collection to the home of the fab four this month.





Rutherford Chang has been collecting White Albums for eight years. In early 2013, with his collection of The Beatles’ self-titled 1968 LP – more commonly referred to as the White Album – totalling 693 first edition copies, Chang put his unique haul on display at New York’s Recess Gallery, documenting the ways in which the snow white sleeves had aged or become deformed over time.

Obesessions are salt-to-life.

Thanking Anton Spice of TheVinylFactory for his nice review...




Wednesday, November 8, 2017

R.I.P. for Paul Buckmaster



A genius, a master musician, arranger, composer who played and collaborated with Miles Davis, Third Ear Band, Carly Simon, Shawn Philips, Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Nucleus, Chitinous Ensemble, Angelo Branduardi and countless others...

He so sadly and suddenly passed away in Los Angeles yesterday, November 7th...




A gentleman and such a lover of life... I'm sincerely and deeply impressed by his passing away!

Everything he did was so beautiful... just look at his Pistachio pup watercolour!



R.I.P. Maestro... you gave so much to Music and to this so flawed world!

Thanks.





Music







Thanking Charlie Brown for reminding...



Gary Peacock in NYC (Nov. 2017)





Mr. Peacock is one of my most beloved musicians and such a poet on his double-bass.







Love this one... for shape & function, a Leonardo da Vinci-like music-machine.



Thanking Tyran Grillo for his great pixies... and for honouring yours truly with his friendship.







Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Gruppo di improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza - Azioni/Reazioni 1967/1969 (Deluxe Box Set)





The year 2007 saw one of the most remarkable findings in the long treasure-hunting history of Die Schachtel: the complete set of recordings of the early manifestation (1967-1969) of one of the most legendary improv group of all times, the Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza. Rescued by the private archives of Mr. Walter Branchi, one of the original founding members – alongside with Franco Evangelisti, Ennio Morricone, Ivan Vandor, Roland Kayn, Egisto Macchi, Mario Bertoncini and John Heineman – the tapes were then restored in their entirety, but only a part of them were published in an epic 500 copies -CD-only boxset titled "Azioni 1967-1969", which also featured a DVD with the original film "Nuova Consonanza" shot by Theo Gallher during the rehearsal and the concert that the group held on March 19th and 20th, 1967, at the Galleria d'arte Moderna in Rome. Spanning from free-jazz to total abstract noise to wild electronic sounds (thanks mainly to the wizardry of Roland Kayn and Walter Branchi), their music was – and remains – one of the most dynamic, original and uncompromising expression of a period defined by intense experimentation and musical bravery, that anticipated a lot of the experiments to come in later years. Or, to put it simple, "They were utterly unique", as per the words that John Zorn – a long time admirer of the Gruppo – expressely wrote for this edition.








To mark the 10-years anniversary of its original release, and to finally make it available for the vinyl aficionados throughout the world, Die Schachtel is proud to present AZIONI/REAZIONI 1967-1969, the complete cycle of improvisations (which in fact means thirteen additional inedit pieces, spanning over 2 and a half LPs and two CDs ), taken from the original tapes, lovingly remastered by Mr. Giuseppe Ielasi and masterly cut to five black vinyls, with a new design and an even more complete information apparatus, that includes a 64 page LP-size book in English and Italian, complete with essays, memories from the members of the Group, a new article by Valentina Bertolani exploring in detail the techniques of the group (based on the enclosed DVD), a chronology and a collection of original reviews by Maurizio Farina, and – to add an additional cherry on the almost rather juicy cake - a set of stunning (and inedit) black and white photos of the group playing in the glorious Venice "Teatro della Fenice" in 1968, taken from the archives of the Venice Biennale.


This is your unique opportunity to grab one of the 100 Limited Collector Edition, the only ones complete with both 5LPs, 4CDs and 1DVD, the coffee-table book, an exclusive large poster and – to add an even more appealing dimension to the whole thing – hosted in a hand made (in Italy) custom wooden boxset designed by Dinamomilano, whose stunning tactile, "arte-povera" inspired artwork (by Dinamomilano as well) is in fact made by two laser-cut pieces of black rubber and white felt, complete with a matt grey foil-stamped title on the side. You can almost feel the weight of the edition (in metaphorical terms too).


To sum it up, the monumental "AZIONI/REAZIONI" boxset includes:

- 5 vinyl LPs

- 4 CDs
- 1 DVD (with English and Italian subtitles)
- 1 large poster on high-quality paper
- a 64-page sewn-bound large book
- handmade wooden boxset with rubber and felt motif

Please consider that this Limited Edition will be followed by a "regular" one, comprised by 5 LPs+DVD+book (hence no CDs and poster), hosted in a standard cardboard boxset, and a 4CD+DVD+book (hence no vinyls) edition. Please also bear in mind that this is going to be a 1-timer pressing: no further pressing are foreseen for the years to come.



Got my copy... stunning recording quality, as italians do it better!



Friday, November 3, 2017

Pandit Pran Nath's Gramavision Ragas of Morning & Night (1968) reissued





Owned this very sought-after disc for decades, now... just wish to share its beauty and uniqueness with you out there...


At long last, La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela reissue this seminal, hugely influential album on their Just Dream imprint, the legendary recording from 1968 India of Pandit Pran Nath titled 'Ragas Of Morning & Night'.  The original studio session was produced in New Delhi, February 1968, by Jimi Hendrix associate Alan Douglas, it features recordings of "Raga Todi" and "Darbari", which showcase Pran Nath at his prime.

 Pran Nath's exquisite control between microscopically fine degrees of pitch can be easily heard in the former. The first two thirds of the piece is performed slowly and delicately, each sinuous line being given careful weight and consideration. When, in the final few minutes, the pace quickens there is a startling sense of unfolding possibilities, almost an embarrassment of riches after the earlier rigour. The second raga follows a similar structure but the tonal center is entirely different; instead of the plaintive almost keening quality of the morning raga, we hear a calmer, more accepting feeling, as though the singer has graciously acceded to what has occurred that day.


This time when the tempo picks up it's as if the singer has gotten a second wind late in the day and is suddenly full of joyous energy. The effect of Pran Nath's quivering lines and immensely complicated vocal arabesques is liberating enough. When he goes head to head with the tabla player for some intricate sparring, ones jaw tends to drop. Ragas of Morning and Night (originally released on the hugely influential, now-defunct, Gramavision label) is a wonderful recording and would serve as a fine introduction both to this musician and to this particular style of singing as well.

 Pandit Pran Nath was a master of the Kirana style, a 600-year-old school of Hindustani music that involves extraordinarily minute gradations of pitch. He sang with a grainy tone, virtually no vibrato and remarkable control and finesse, and his improvisations had a deeply contemplative aura. "The raga is created in between the tones," he often said. For the Hindustani musicians, the voice is the original instrument, possessing the flexibility and potential that other instruments should aspire. Pandit Pran Nath was a vocalist capable of piety and tenderness, yet during late night ragas he would unleash fiery recitals that left his audiences shellshocked.







 "He was a living encyclopedia of the ancient traditional compositions," La Monte  Young once said. "And he had an extraordinary knowledge of the proper delineation of each raga." Ragas are connected to certain times of day, seasons and other natural and personal associations, and Pandit Pran Nath insisted on performing them at the appropriate times.

 A living repository of thousands of obscure ragas, many of which have probably become extinct with his death in 1996, Pran Nath devoted much of his later years to teaching. He numbered La Monte Young, Terry Riley and Jon Hassell among his long time students, who were fascinated by pure intonation and microtones and who were pioneers of Minimalism, and through them his unique phrasing and melodic sensibility have filtered into contemporary composition. Additionally, excellent and detailed liners notes by La Monte Young are included.

To hear the music of Pandit Pran Nath is to enter an extraordinary domain, where the tones of his voice at once calms and centers the listener, speaking directly to the soul in a magical world of pure White




For a decade and a half, Pran Nath lived in Young and Zazeela's loft for a good part of each year, and the New York night owls were typically requ ired to rise at 3am each day to prepare tea for their teacher, who slept at the other end of the loft. He would then perform his riaz (practice) and give them a lesson - if he chose to.

"He was the head of the household'' recalls La Monte Young. "We were not allowed to have friends. We had to give up everything - rare ly did we even get to vis i t our parents. He was very protective of us and extremely possessive of us. But we got the reward. The reward is, if you make the guru happy, then you get the lessons."



Available at Soundohm...










Lino Capra Vaccina – Echi Armonici da Antico Adagio (2017)









For fans of the Italian avant-garde, few names inspire the loyalty and devotion offered to the percussionist and composer Lino Capra Vaccina – a perfect emblem of the country’s extraordinary movement of musical Minimalism.

He first gained note as a member of Aktuala, a project which laid the groundwork for a entire generation of practitioners following in their wake – creating a hybrid of rock, avant-garde, and ancient musics, while incorporating a diverse number of sonic traditions from across the globe – African, Middle Eastern, Indian, etc, before venturing out on his own.

Vaccina’s career as composer has been marked by two distinct features, an incredibly high bar of quality and ambition, and a tragically slim amount of recorded output. Following his departure from Aktuala, he worked extensively with others – Juri Camisasca, Franco Battiato, etc, and within the short lived super group Telaio Magnetico, but his astounding solo efforts have been slow to emerge. In 1978 he released the legendary LP Antico Adagio, and wouldn’t be heard from again until 1992’s equally extraordinary L’Attesa. Fortunately, over the last few years, Die Schachtel has embarked on a multifaceted project – reissuing Vaccina’s hard to find LPs for a new generation, as well as offering a range of stunning archival recording which had never before seen the light of day. Their latest release – Echi Armonici da Antico Adagio, falls into the later category. It’s nothing short of a momentous event.



Echi Armonici da Antico Adagio draws on the same body of recordings which gifted us Vaccina’s masterpiece Antico Adagio. Like their predecessors, these works rise as lost, towering artifacts of the Italian avant-garde. It’s confounding how they could have remained unheard for so long.

The LP features two sidelong works of pulsing, hypnotic, ritualistic drone – Vaccina’s percussion – gongs, bells, and cymbals, threaded by sustained tones, generated by the voices of Juri Camisasca and Dana Matus. Flirting with the outer-reaches charted by Buddhist and African music, it is a trance-inducing, meditative, cosmic world of sonic interplay – the world beyond, joined with that which lays within. At once Minimalism, and so much more – sheets of resonance, stunning harmonic interplay, and intricate rhythms, rising as one.

Effortless and challenging, Echi Armonici da Antico Adagio demarcates the territory where art meets a higher plane – the body and mind becoming one with sound. Both performances, deeply moving, rewarding, and intellectually rigorous, reveal themselves slowly at every return. Nearly forty years after its rhythms, tones, and ambiences imprinted themselves onto tape, we are encountering one great lost works of musical Minimalism, and unquestionably one of the most important albums to appear this year. Not to be missed on any count, these are the heights of the Italian avant-garde, at their very best. You can check it out below and pick it up via SoundOhm, or from a record shop near you.



Claudio Rocchi - Suoni di Frontiera (1976/2017)





Claudio Rocchi – Suoni Di Frontiera (1976 / 2017)


An unavoidable and formative element of Italy’s long history of avant-garde music, is its resistance to category and definition. Even in the face of this, Claudio Rocchi’s Suoni Di Frontiera, originally released in 1976, is an anomaly – a body of introspective synthesizer works, stretching out to the world beyond. Italian experimental and avant-garde music from this period is distinct, in part, unlike other contexts in Europe and America, because many artists begin within the realms of popular music, slowly pushing toward more ambitious creative territories as time wore on. Rocchi is no exception. He entered the public eye during the late 1960’s and early 70’s, working within the idioms of psychedelic rock, folk, and prog. While some of Suoni Di Frontiera’s elements are present in his earlier and later works, nothing reaches the crystalline totality of its being. It is the lone, explicitly avant-garde effort in Rocchi’s long and noted career.






The ambition and breadth of Suoni Di Frontiera is overwhelming. It achieves what few have – realizing the dream set forth by the pioneers of early electronic music, creating a new democratic architecture of sound, as creatively ambitious, as it is accessible. It is a realization of the avant-garde, which could have only emerged from the realms of pop – sixteen discrete works of acoustics instrumentation, electronics, processing, and synthesis – freestanding, while intertwined as a towering whole. An album which, despite the relentless pace of its challenges, is so seductive and inviting, that it offers an open door to an entire world beyond.


Like so much of the Italian avant-garde’s output, Suoni Di Frontiera is nearly impossible to locate – to constrain with simple definition. A restless constellation, delving from one possibly to the next – pulsing, rhythmic tones, sheets of pure abstraction, fragments of voice and environmental sound, each captured and spun wild by tape loops, beautiful ambiences and space age sounds. The scope of what it approaches is so great, attempts to describe can only fall short.


Before us is one of the great unsung works of 20th Century electronics. An album of astounding beauty and ambition – its reemergence holding the potential to reform the standing perception of electronic music as a whole. You can check it out below and pick it up via SoundOhm, or from a record shop near you.


A truly remarkable disc.







Spontaneous Music Ensemble - Karyōbin (1968)











Invaluable CD reissue for Spontaneous Music Ensemble’s groundbreaking and inspirational Karyōbin from 1968 - a pivotal moment in the history of freejazz/improvised music featuring the combined talents of Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Dave Holland, John Stevens and others, now presented by Martin Davidson’s lagendary Emanem label on its golden jubilee, remixed and remastered from the original tapes with new liner notes.
To mark this important release, we're offering a special 25% discount on all the previous Emanem and Psi releases. Only valid today and tomorrow!

Spontaneous Music
Ensamble
The histories of freejazz, with subsequent narratives of improvisation which grew from it, are difficult  to trace. What began as a distinctly African American art-form, rapidly became a rallying cry for freedom, adopted and reformed by countless artists, stretching out across the globe. Though not without its complications and missteps, this music is bound to the idea of communion - an open and deeper means through which to converse - something American culture has never fully embraced, particularly across racial and cultural lines. In the sixty or so years since it originally took form, it has consistently found a more welcoming home in Europe, be that for its originators, fans, or new subsequent, localised forms. Off all the remarkable gestures of freeimprovisation which sprang up in Europe from the 1960’s on, few have commanded the respect and renown of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, a project whose seminal second release Karyōbin, originally released on Island in 1968, we are thrilled to have before us now. Spontaneous Music
Ensamble
The Spontaneous Music Ensemble was founded in South London by John Stevens and Trevor Watts, during the mid 1960’s, following a set of perimeters set forth by Stevens - If you can't hear another musician, you're playing too loud, and if the music you're producing doesn't regularly relate to what you're hearing others create, why be in the group?. While these principles have been adopted so widely, that they have almost come to define the root principles of improvisation itself, at the time they were radical, giving way to a new philosophical movement in sound. Where most improvisation of the era drew on a furious, emotive fire, SME introduced a deeply introspective, often extremely quite, form. Scraping out jagged shards of jazz that felt truly freee - abandoning structure, melody, rhythm, and logic in favor of an ever-changing, whimsical, disorienting, wholly instinctual tumult of activity.

It isn’t hard to spot the politics at the heart of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble’s efforts. Through sound, it attempted to achieve democratic aims - to offer importance to every voice within the collective. This can be seen within its constantly evolving line-up, as much as the music it made. Over the course of its existence - until Stevens' untimely death in 1994, it folded an astounding group of improvisators into its ranks -  Barry Guy, Dave Holland, Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Ian Carr, Jeff Clyne, John Butcher, Kenny Wheeler, Kent Carter, and Paul Rutherford, among numerous others. Arguably more than any single project, it is the great emblem of British Jazz - its greatest voices, sculpting what have become many of its most important lasting legacies, in real time.  Karyōbin, which is the project’s seconded recorded release, features one of the more well represented line ups within the ensemble during this era, pulling Dave Holland, Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, and Kenny Wheeler into its standing ranks. The result is a soulful, considered conversation in sound - intricate and challenging, as it elemental. This is the distinctly British sound and approach to freeimprovisation at its very best.

One of the great artifacts of its era, as historical important as it is creatively and sonically engrossing, we are thrilled to see Karyōbin returned to our hands. Remastered from the original tapes. Absolutely essential for any fan of freeimprovisation and jazz. Grab it while it lasts.
Spontaneous Music
Ensamble


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Auriol arm-lifter...



... and a beautiful Verdier's turntable, with Shindo bronze arm mount and Meursault arm...




... same Auriol's I own and use since a long time.



... a nice French-made arm-lifter, indeed: very smooth.




Gary Peacock Trio - Now This (ECM)



Another gem from ECM... Gary Peacock played with virtually all the best musicians on the planet: Keith Jarrett and Ralph Towner to name the most famous who came to mind...



... but he's more than a stellar double-bass player: he's also a superb composer!




This disk is truly magical: I simply cannot stop listening to it in loop-mode.

Music is so relaxed and lyrical... the trio interactions is awesome and they don't play as soloists but as a perfect musical team.

Recording quality is of seldom heard quality, as well... truly remarkable balance and true to life sonics.


Buy it!






Monday, October 23, 2017

Rene and Georgette Magritte with their Dog after the War





Lothar Wolleh captured this portrait of 'René and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War' in 1967, and the image went on to inspire a much-loved folk song of the same name by Paul Simon.


Paul Simon's song was a pix in music... nice to see what inspired him.



Cool.







Friday, October 20, 2017

Ariel Kalma, French Archives 1977-80 (4-LP)










It’s an incredible moment in the history of recorded music. At SoundOhm we’re lucky enough to hear it all. Within such a stunning landscape, it’s impossible to pick favourites, but Milan based imprint Black Sweat always comes out at the top. And they return with what may be their most ambitious effort yet, a stunning four LP box set of previously unreleased archival recordings by Ariel Kalma.
Ariel Kalma
The life and work of Ariel Kalma is a remarkable journey in sound - an emblem of the singular thinking that makes great art. Kalma was born in Paris, beginning to play the saxophone during his early years. His musical career was kickstarted with tours and collaborations with Salvatore Adamo and Baden Powell, but before long he began to venture out on his own, creating experimental tape pieces, and instrumental works. During 1974 he traveled to India, studying the country’s classical traditions, a journey which equally served as the foundation for his developing interests in meditation, drone, and minimalist music.Ariel Kalma
In 1975, Kalma began recording and self-releasing his own albums, the beginnings of an incredible body of work which stretches through the 1980s, collectively becoming the stuff of legend on the collectors market over the ensuing years. Historically Kalma has been cast as a member of the New Age movement, which has foundations in truth - his attempts to offer listeners a “mind cleanse,” through his work, but understanding the nature and proximity of his efforts is far more complex. A search for music’s connection to, and effects on, the body, mind, and spirit, is nothing new, nor is it limited to New Age thinking. These ideas trace through the millennia and countless traditions from across the globe, lingering below many of the efforts of the 20th century avant-garde, particularly within those of Minimalists like La Monte Young and Terry Riley. Kalma is better understood from this point of view - an avant-gardist, who looks beyond intellectualism and ideas, for the deeper, more intimate possibilities in sound. Subtle hints at the true proximity of his work might be drawn from the fact that he worked extensively at Groupe de Recherches Musicales, one of the great centres of avant-garde electronic music, and collaborated with a number of its artists. Ariel Kalma
Until around five years ago, beyond a small handful of serious record collectors and fans, Ariel Kalma’s legacy and music had largely fallen from view. He hadn’t released an album since 1989, and nearly his entire catalog had fallen out of print. What began as a sputtering momentum in a few corners of globe, gathered incredible steam in 2013 with Black Sweat’s reissue of his 1978 collaboration with Richard Tinti, Osmose. Ever since, the imprint has shown a remarkable dedication to the artist’s work, following it with lovingly produced vinyl reissues of his seminal works for the early 80’s, Open Like A Flute, Musique Pour Le Reve Et L'Amour, and Interfrequence.

French Archives 1977 - 1980, the lavish four LP box set which now emerges in Black Sweats cradling embrace, draws from previously unreleased recordings from one of Ariel Kalma’s most creatively rich periods. Divided under four headings - Sarasvati Planet Ariel, Planet Air, Ascend Descend and Astral Cathedral, these works were conceived as both autonomous works, sculpting distinct sonic   environments, as well as for group therapy sessions for healing, trance and relaxation. In many ways, when viewed as a single body emerging from the shadows of time, these lost recordings offer a remarkable revelation into the diversity of Kalma’s practice. With their ambiences, extended tones, and repetitive rippling melodies, most of the composer’s previously know work has offered easy connections to the efforts of the New Age Movement and to Minimalists like Terry Riley, La Monte Young, and Jon Hassell. The works contained within French Archives 1977 - 1980, display an even more diverse range - all so engrossing and of such a remarkable quality, that it’s an unquestionable sin that they have remained unheard for so long. 

While the works contained within French Archives 1977 - 1980 rest comfortably within Kalma’s standing body of work, they do offer an interesting window into the rumblings working within the cultural consciousness of the time - a reconciliation of the fading optimists of the hippy dream. There is a subtle darkness in this box of works, not always explicit, but there, laying in wait - peaking through the ambiences with dystopian synth lines. The LPs Sarasvati Planet Ariel, Ascend Descend and Astral Cathedral all dance with, and push the territory for which Kalma is best know - works stretching from harsh abstract electronics, sublime done, and rippling melodic works for synthesizer, organ, and other acoustic instruments, but across these three LPs he strays considerably closer to the efforts of ambient Krautrock pioneers like Tangerine Dream and Popol Vuh - bridges between popular culture and the underground. Perhaps the most startling gesture within the set is Planet Air, opening a realm of Kalma’s explorations which has remained almost entirely unknown. Drenched in brittle electronic rhythms, images of dark and futuristic clouds gather over Paris, offering moments far closer to the Berlin School of electronic music, than anything you’ve heard from New Age or Minimalist music.

French Archives 1977 - 1980 is a crowning achievement on Black Sweats long and loving dedication to Ariel Kalma - lavishing, lovingly produced, while artisticallyicly engrossing and full of revelations which expand what we know of the composer and bring him into a new view. Absolutely stunning on every count. Unquestionably one of the most beautiful and important releases of the year.