Category Archives: The Sound of Music

Tago Mago

February 2021 and it will be 50 years since the release of properly one of the greatest rock albums EVER. Tago Mago, by Can was recorded during November 1970, built around experimental sessions blending Jazz, Funk, tape editing and sampling, avant-grade. Released during February 1971 it was the band’s first album to feature Damo Suzuki after the 1970 departure of vocalist Malcolm Mooney. 

No.5: Bullitt

One of the cool things about being a year older than most of the kids on the street I was brought up in 1968, was the difference between wanting a replica Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or the iconic Mustang drove by Steve McQueen in Bullitt. Both films were released in 1968, I was 8, and very much appreciated that I got both. One for my birthday and one for Christmas, only the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang survives to this day in a well- battered form, but what of that Mustang!

By the 1970s a whole sway of films featured iconic cars. In 1972s blaxploitation film Super Fly we had the Cadillac Eldorado, grotesquely named ‘the pimp machine’. James Bond drove and spun over a river in his AMC Hornet, 1974’s The Man with the Golden Gun. in 1977 Burt Reynalds had kicked off his Smokey and the Bandit franchise, which often featured the Pontiac Trans Am. But nothing compared to McQueen’s Mustang, not even (sacrilege) James Bonds, Aston Martin DBS. which made an appearance in Sean Connery’s last great Bond film Diamonds are Forever.

McQueen always, to me, cut the cool maverick anti-hero in his Ford Mustang GT Fastback and before videos, DVD’s, satellite and cable this impatient youngster would endure the whole film just to watch the mesmerising car chase through San Francisco.

Plenty of people have lusted over that Highland Green Mustang, which has over-time achieved legendary status. Although it was not until much later that I fully appreciated Lao Schifrin’s original score that tracks the various moods and action of the film to perfection. It took until 2009 for the never-before-released original recording of the score, as heard on the movie, to be made available.

My tribute to McQueen’s Ford Mustang GT Fastback is the Shelby (Cobra) GT-350, built between 1965 and 1970 by the American the high-performance vehicle manufacturer founded by former racing driver Carroll Shelby. The most famed car in American cinema, sold for $3.4 million at auction in Florida during 2020.

 

 

The Sound of Japan

Pretending to feel the warmth of sun rays on my neck, I walked from the garden to the kitchen my thoughts were distracted by the telephone. Having lifted the receiver I immediately knew Mysterious Vee voice was awaiting my ears. Her journey this time was the eclectic rhythms of the Japanese soundscape.

Synthesiser for the Devil

Mysterious Vee calls from a telephone booth in rural Punjab, Indian, and brings another collection of artists and tracks, some well known and some not so. Her theme in this episode of Lost In a Wide Open Field is an exploration of artists, some known and some not so, who have utilised the honourable synth.

Krautrock 1968-1979

Mysterious Vee presents over one hour of classic Krautrock from a telephone booth located in the centre of a Wide Open Field. 10 tracks spanning the genre, some have long been deleted and are fearlessly sought after by obsessive collectors. Including in this bunch, you will find an improvised nugget from Can during their a John Peel session in the 70s.

Today I stumbled upon: Slumb Party

There is something quite refreshing about Slumb Party, although plenty of the old tricks can be found in their production. Influences from bands such as XTC and Gang of $ are plain to see in their DNA, but their own identity is not lost in the mix. This is a really, really good album and I feel we may hear more of Slumb Party once the 6 Music sent picks them up.

Today I stumbled upon: Kosmischer Läufer

Sometimes you’ve just got to acknowledge you are late getting to a party. The Secret Cosmic Music of the East German Olympic Program 1972 – 83 is just an excellent concept and most importantly backed up with some truly exhilarating music. The narrative goes, “for the first time since it was recorded in East Berlin over 30 years ago, the music of Martin Zeichnete can finally be heard. A disciple of the Kosmische Muzik of the likes of Kraftwerk, Can and Neu! that was drifting across the Wall from the West, Martin’s idea of using the motorik, hypnotic beat of krautrock in the training of athletes was taken and exploited by the DDR’s Olympic Committee.” 

My introduction, I have several memories that are managed over the years to blend together into a romantic melting pot of musical discovery. It is difficult to separate truth from fiction now, but the timing is pretty much self-evident. I know it was during a period of school exams, so I’m guessing it was around 1976 when my ears first discovered what I would get to know as Krautrock. That genre of experimental music, which had emerged in Germany in the late 1960s drawing influence from psychedelic rock, the avant-garde, electronic music, funk, minimalism, jazz improvisation, and world music styles.

I know some of the punk bands I was starting to listen too had referenced the likes of Kraftwerk, Neu and Can. My music teacher, Mr Bell had given me a copy of one of Kraftwerk’s early albums, which I still have to this day. Maybe, I’d subconsciously developed a liking for Krautrock as I listened to John Peel show on my radio while preparing for exams.

How my admiration for Krautrock developed I guess I will leave to my fond memories, no matter how clouded they increasingly become. Today, I’m happy to just stay behind the illusion of the Secret Cosmic Music of the East German Olympic Program 1972 – 83. I did start to do some research, but you know what? As we continue to consume ourselves a little piece of escapism, which transports us back in time to a period where things seemed a little bit simpler, black and white, may not be an altogether bad thing now and again.

Revolutions are Made at 78rpm

30 minutes mix of digitally transferred phonograph records from the age of 78rpm, which changed the face of music forever and ushered in the age of rock n roll. Things would never be the same again with the exception that as then and as today the musician gets ripped off. Expect the odd crackle, pop and the unexpected. For those who went before and to those who stand on their shoulders. I salute you.

Before the East Fell: Cassette Punks

I recently re-discovered a box of old cassette tapes, which I either made or exchanged between my friends when I was around 16/17 years old in 1977-1979ish. Now digitalised and uploaded here they provide an insight into the late 1970’s DIY punk scene. The tracks here, I’m guessing have not surfaced for a long time and include several bands from my native north-east — most, if not all I had seen live. Where a better-known group is featured, I have chosen to add a less-known track. As you will imagine sound quality is a little ropey at times, but please enjoy 45 minutes of noise recorded at a time when the internet was far from a concept.