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As can be gleaned from the cover of her one and only record, Linda Perhacs was a stunning, beautiful love child. Anyone who spent the $200-400 necessary to obtain copies of the original vinyl could attest that the music she made was comparably stunning and beautiful, infused with all the trappings of being a late-sixties love child (in the best possible way).

Ace of Discs reissued her album after unsuccessful attempts to track her down, mastering from a poorly pressed vinyl copy. For whatever reason, the first issue on CD was completely unlistenable on headphones, although delightful in the open air. Since that first go-round, Perhacs has come out of her obscure Pacific Northwest woods with quarter-inch reels of the sessions, and now that Ace of Discs comes round again with a vindicating, expanded reissue, the tray card photo reveals: she’s still a babe.

Anyway you eye it, this is a magical, sublimely singular piece of gentle folk-psych that belongs with those lone album classics by folks like Skip Spence or Vashti Bunyan (or the countless other souls that only released one record before disappearing into history’s communal farms or funny-farm madness, like Elyse). It is a sound so personal and intimate that I can only hear it in the privacy of my own room. Although it’s been near-impossible to gain biographical information about her, the experience of hearing her music reveals so much about her soul and mindset at the time that I really don’t think I could share it with anyone else.

As mentioned above, she’s a love child in every sense, a young woman blossoming into her sensual world. Of the elements, every song culls its images from her forest environment, permeating down into her own physical core. “Chimacum Rain” is not only the forest’s silence and that sound of rain washing over her, but the palpable sexual presence of her lover, too. In almost every evocation of a tactile natural image, there is a mysterious man who physically embodies these characteristics, a tension courses through her body as she sings about these near-deities. And as she reaches the bridge with lines such as “I’m spacing out/ I’m seeing silences between leaves…I’m seeing silences that are his,” her voice begins to echo within itself, and her sung notes assuage open the aural synesthesia of the words. The diaphanous taste of lysergic acid creeps to the fore, and what was once a moderately played acoustic song about the forest expands into a hallucinatory clearing as her multi-tracked held tones meld with the infinite. As her voice dilates, so does the background, now all electrically-processed source sounds like xylophones and wind chimes, and all is enveloped by a low, distorted drone that would one day sound like Phill Niblock, created by– as the liner notes so baldly state it– “amplified shower hose for horn effects.”

It’s nothing compared to the album’s peak, “Parallelograms”. Perhaps you fantasize that Joni Mitchell teaches painting and pottery at your high school, or that Chan Marshall mumbles about the Apocalypse poets during English class, but Perhacs teaching geometry is tantrically hot for teacher. To just read the lyrics of “Quadrehederal/ Tetrahedral/ mono-cyclo-cyber-cilia” is to miss how she and producer Leonard Rosenman assuredly layer her heavenly-sung rounds in concentric circles over a cycling guitar-picked figure, a cumulative effect that reveals a dimension scarcely achieved anywhere else in the world of music. Closer to the Mysterious Voices of Bulgaria or Tim Buckley’s cellular self-choir “Starsailor” than Melanie or Linda Ronstadt, Perhacs drops us into drifting clouds of reverberating bells, echoing flute, and ghostly effluence, her throat outside of time. That a dental assistant in Northern California could more effectively convey the psychedelic experience through the use of the technology of experimental effects, be it early Pink Floyd, Fifty-Foot Hose, or Buffy Saint-Marie’s electroacoustic Illuminations, is, in every clichéd use of the word, mind-blowing.

Other songs deal with girly things like brawny mountain men, dolphins, moonbeams and cattails, the pastel colors of dawn, and the recently-unearthed “If You Were My Man” reveals that she could’ve gone pop with a Karen Carpenter wispiness. Listening to her home demos and studio notes to Roseman though show that she was cognizant of the sound and vibration she wanted. The tape collage lobbed from “Hey Who Really Cares?” is competent– if in hindsight, passé– all disembodied, television voices and a telltale heart beat leading into its pastoral prettiness. Her most folky tunes stand up to the times too, but it’s the fact that Linda Perhacs’ entire cosmos (and whatever those times entailed) could inexplicably fit inside the confines of Parallelograms that remains the true testament to her beauty.

-Andy Beta, pitchfork.com

DOWNLOAD:
Linda Perhacs-PARALLELOGRAMS (1970)
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These are fucking astounding, this stuff was going on a couple years before kosmische was more than a twinkle in the krautrock scene’s eye. It predates Tangerine Dream’s and Manuel Gottsching’s amazing synth work, even! -Ian!

This reissue of the earliest work by Mother Mallard’s Portable Masterpiece Co. includes all of their first album, plus almost 20 minutes of previously unreleased material. The group wore their minimalist influences quite well, resulting in tracks which take the cycling repetitions of work by Steve Reich into new territory altogether, as on the 12-minute “Music.” Most of the music here is a bit beyond minimalism; in fact, it’s much closer to exploratory proto-space music or new age on the highlights “Ceres Motion” and “Cloudscape for Peggy,” the latter of which was composed around the time acts like Tangerine Dream and Cluster were just getting started.

A reissue of Mother Mallard’s second LP on their independent Earthquack Records, this CD presents music from the latter stages of their work as a group, after they had been playing and rehearsing together for five or six years and shortly before David Borden began devoting his full attention to his monumental 12-part Continuing Story of Counterpoint series. During these sessions, the group was a trio (as they generally had been from the beginning), with Borden and colleague Steve Drews as the constants and Judy Borsher replacing Linda Fisher, who had been the third member on earlier recordings. Instrumentation varied somewhat within the group, but since members were actively collaborating with inventor Robert Moog throughout most of the group’s life, various sizes and styles of Moog synthesizers were always the primary instruments, supplemented by an electric piano, which was usually played by Borsher (or Fisher before her). Borden had first envisioned Mother Mallard as a performance group who would disseminate and interpret the musical gospel of Glass, Reich, Riley, and other proponents of the new minimalism, and also feature original compositions by himself and his colleague, Steve Drews. Gradually, the original compositions took over, at least as indicated in the group’s recorded work. However, the influence of the big-name minimalists is relatively strong here, and the seven pieces on this CD all exhibit elements of the rhythmic-pattern minimalism of Glass and Reich, with touches, also, of Riley’s softer, drone-based mysticism. Consequently, although Mother Mallard is capable of the occasional funky ostinato riff, and notes are discreetly bent here and there, one will hear none of the variable pitch weirdness and timbral extremes which characterized prog rock’s early appropriation of Moogs, and which Borden and company dabbled with a bit themselves during the early ’70s. On this CD, Drews receives composer credits on five pieces to Borden’s two, although one of Borden’s two pieces is the lengthy and ambitious “C-A-G-E Part II,” which clocks in at over 20 minutes. Somewhat surprisingly, there’s really not much to chose between Drews and Borden as composers, and although Borden went on to achieve the greater reputation, a piece such as Drews’ “Oleo Strut” could be easily mistaken for one of Borden’s early “Counterpoint” pieces. Drews’ “Waterwheel” is also very appealing, with patterns of different lengths moving in and out of phase with each other, producing some interesting auditory disorientation. Borden’s feature piece is conceptually based, derived from the four musical notes which make up composer John Cage’s last name. The musicians play their parts for prearranged lengths of time, coming together only at the end of the piece. In spite of its logical premises, “C-A-G-E Part II” is a serene, meditative, and even hypnotic musical experience, at times suggesting both Riley’s “In C” and his “Rainbow in Curved Air.” Borden’s sophisticated knowledge of Baroque counterpoint is also evident in this piece, and he would use such elements to an even greater advantage a few years later in the Continuing Story of Counterpoint series.

-John Bush, Bill Tilland, allmusic.com

DOWNLOAD:
1970-1973 (1973)
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LIKE A DUCK TO WATER (1976)
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I think this shows that Hipinion probably has the greatest actual pool of talented and creative people out of any forum or message board on the internet. Here they are covering 25 of the best jams of the 1980s like “Would I Lie To You” by the Eurythmics, “Girls Just Wanna have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper, Prince’s “When 2 R In Love” and an admittedly out of place early GBV song. Styles range from minimalist glitchy house anthem to lo-fi four track with Radioshack condenser mic.

Actually maybe that GBV cover isn’t so out of place after all.

If you have to wonder if this even interests you, then it isn’t for you.

DOWNLOAD:
Various Artists-HIPINION PRESENTS TOTALLY OR TOTALLY NOT: 80s (2010)
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Can’t seem to avoid PBTHAL at this point. Every time I fall for a classic album, he’s got the prime cut lossless vinyl rip of the best pressing there ever was, crushing whatever CD junk remaster is commercially available. This is another case where there’s some junky special edition that sounds like digital fucking death, and a thirty year old vinyl that sounds like diamonds. In fact, you couldn’t even get the real, original mix of this album for over twenty years. Wikipedia sez:

During the height of ZZ Tops’ success in the early 1980s an inferior “digitally remixed” version of the recording replaced the original 1973 analog mix. The remix version was used on all early CD copies and was the only version available for over 20 years. A remastered and expanded edition of the album was released on February 28, 2006, which contains three bonus live tracks. The 2006 edition is the first CD version to use the original 1973 mix.

I understand that said comment will probably be stripped of its biased language, but its point stands!

For the FLAC version of this, and two other early ZZ Top jamz, check with the master.

DOWNLOAD:
ZZ Top-TRES HOMBRES (1973)
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Ripped from my CD, it’s an insanely quiet album so I added +13db via replaygain. Don’t worry, this does nothing to compress dynamic range or even distort. There was still 13db of headroom to spare. Yes, I know you film nerds will complain about the mashup below. Trust me, it was the least cheesy youtube I could find. -Ian!

“Fur Alina” (1976) was the first effort in tintinnabuli, a two-minute score launching an improvisation that could go on for hours, based on two voices related through triadic harmony and often compared to plainchant. Part selected two selections from it for this disc, and Alexander Malter performs here. There’s not much in the way of set rhythm here. Instead the notes of the piano similar come one after another, with the piano’s rich array of overtones exploited to the fullest. When the pianist stops, the reverberations of the strings continue to send forth such a strong sound, an effect Part was later to explore in his clever “Cantus” in memory of Benjamin Britten.

“Spiegel im Spiegel” (Mirror in Mirror, 1978) is present here in three different recordings. The first and third are of the arrangement for violin and piano, performed by the duo of Vladimir Spivakov and Sergei Bezrodny. The middle recording is for cello and piano with Dietmar Schwalke performing with Alexander Malter. In this extremely elegant piece, the piano keeps a constant cadence against which the string instrument sweeps. The result hints at something immensely spiritual, like seeing two lovers gaze into each other’s eyes. Part was later to shake up this joining of loving voices with the faster-moving “Fratres” piece, arranged for a number of different instruments over the years, but this contemplative early effort has a beautiful clarity.

-Christopher Culver, amazon.com

DOWNLOAD:
Arvo Pärt-ALINA (1995)
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This post is basically a complete props-giving to Flabbergasted Vibes. There’s like maybe ten music blogs I go out of my way to check frequently, and that’s one of them. Human, charming, and honest from a depth of knowledge that usually begets arrogance. -Ian!

A classic. An essential. A staple that your home should no more be without than rice, beans, or OxiClean products. And in fact in many Brazilian homes this album is just as common as arroz or feijão and is kept on the same shelf. (OxiClean, on the other hand, stays under the sink).

This album, the third long-player he recorded, was his first record for RCA, and features material ranging from 1958 up to its release in 77. The majority of tunes are written by him, some with cowriters like his old friend Carlos Cachaça. One exception to that is “Pranto de Poeta” written by Guilherme de Brito and Nelson Cavaquinho, with Nelson sitting in on the performance.

The record was produced by music writer Sergio Cabral. My first impression of this album, after hearing the first two released on Discos Marcus Pereira, was that it was too slick and overproduced. On subsequent listens I found it to be….. still too slick and overproduced. But I have to admit that it actually does not distract from the merits of the incredible songwriting and strong performances throughout. However, you can take a wonderful song like “Autonomia” and orchestrate it, open it with an intro on a (very well-recorded) grand piano, and it sounds beautiful. But you can also take it to its bare knuckles, like on the posthumous EP-length album “Documento Inédito.”

It’s up to the individual preference I suppose, but I prefer the latter. As much as the album might be over-produced, nothing is *ruined* here. There’s no synthesizers, or rocked-out drums, or any number of other things that could have been done to mangle it. Sergio Cabral’s intention, as insinuated in the liner notes, was to give Cartola the magisterial, kingly treatment and carinho that so many felt he deserved. And the record successfully does that. I hesitate to make such a broad generalization, especially as an ‘outsider’ to a culture, but if there was ever an artist and songwriter in Brazil who seems to have left virtually nobody untouched in a deeply meaningful, emotional way with his music, that would be Cartola.

Flabbergast

DOWNLOAD:
VERDE QUE TE QUERO ROSA (1977)
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DOCUMENTO INÉDITO (1982)
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I admit, I haven’t listened to this one. You tell me if it’s any good.

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SO36 Club, Berlin, Germany. 7th November 1980.
Stereo.

“Just before we went on, [Tutti] said, ‘Discipline’ and we did it. Just made it up. And I liked the fact that there are actually records of us inventing something; you are actually there when it was actually happening.” [Genesis P-Orridge, Re/Search no. 4/5, 1982]

“A short high frequency ‘buzz like’ sound can sometimes be heard during these performances. This sound is present on the original tapes and was most likely caused by [the] presence of a nearby digital PCM machine during the recordings.” [Chris Carter, TG+ notes, August 2003]

Track titles from Funeral in Berlin. Some instrumentals on IRCD36/37 may have one of the following titles: Stained by Dead Horses / Zero’s Death / Nomon / Raudive Bunker Experiment / Denial of Death / Funeral in Berlin / Trade Deficit. Any help on this appreciated.

Track One (30’37”)

00’00” Introduction
00’52” Instrumental
10’29” Instrumental
16’37” An Old Man Smiled
25’06” Trained Condition of Obedience

Track Two (44’24”)

00’00” Trained Condition of Obedience (cont.)
01’43” Instrumental
10’36” Something Came Over Me “A song for people who wank.”
21’04” ‘Church Music’
26’42” Instrumental
33’20” Discipline
42’15” Wall of Sound
44’04” (Performance ends)

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More info on TG Live:
http://nonplus.desensitised.net/tg24/tg24guide.html
Wikipedia: TG Live

DOWNLOAD:
Throbbing Gristle-TG+: IRCD36 SO36 CLUB, BERLIN (LIVE 7 NOVEMBER 1980)
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