Wire’s 100 Records that set the world on fire while no one was listening. 31 – 35

This post is part of a series.  You can see the previous post here.

We’re moving into the 1970’s now with this wonderful list. We’re bleeding into the very tip of the 70’s and stretching ourselves to some far out places. If the 1960’s were groovy, then the 1970’s were highly experimental. I didn’t really know this before. But Prog rock brought a lot to bare on the music scene and in the 1970’s diversification was starting to take hold. All those differeing genres we take for granted today were peeling off in the 70’s. It’s all very excting!

Cluster

Cluster

I’m a big fan of Conrad Schnitzler, but looks what happens when he leabves Kluster.  Remaining members Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius grabbed whatever electronic gear (keine synthis) they could get their hands on and went to town for this one. This album has limitless caverns of echo qwith  industrial vortices of various height, width, length and time… electrical buzzing, prickling, clicking, and shimmering. With all of this, we have the added comfort of kissing an electric saw.  here’s what the Wire had to say:

Cluster 77, the album Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius recorded in 1971 for Philips before moving to the Brain label, has been unduly neglected. Even the recent Krautrock revival overlooked it. Dismissed as too heavy and Teutonic, it prefigures Illbient by about 20 years, parts of it sounding uncannily like DJ Spooky. Engineered by Conny Plank, the three untitled tracks form dark tunneling echoes around icy repeated synth bleats, soaring electronic drones in winding and diving pitches, and sporadic alert signals fusing the new possibilities for electronic noise production with the repetitions and resonances of dub. Space music with a severe hangover, its blaring synth sounds coil and flange into the depths through a blurry rotary motion of sound, while patches of regular thudding pulse conjure up a malformed Techno.

The Last Poets

The Last Poets

The Last Poets is a group of poets and musicians who arose from the late 1960s African American civil rights movement’s black nationalistthread. Their name is taken from a poem by the South African revolutionary poet Keorapetse Kgositsile, who believed he was in the last era of poetry before guns would take over. “We were rappin’ when they were nappin’,” Jalaluddin Mansur Nuriddin told an interviewer in 1984, calling attention to his group’s unacknowledged role as the progenitors of rap. That same year, with HipHop fully established, producer Bill Laswell revitalized the group’s career with a new Last Poets record and a reissue of their self-titled debut from 1970. I love this album. Filled with wit and an intelligence missing from many of the bands that followed in their wake like Public Enemy.  This is the first of their many albums and I confess its the only one I’ve listened to. It’s really amazing stuff though.

Master Musicians of Jajouka

Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka

Simply recording the Pipes of Pan wasn’t enough in 1969. In an effort to communicate his own kif-enhanced experience, The Rolling Stones guitarist took his four-track tapes home to England, where he deployed the full arsenal of psychedelic signal processing. The resulting album documents a millennia-old music, the sound of panic itself, as well as the fragmented mind of Jones in the months before his death. Drums throb in the foreground as the pipers are sucked figuratively into the slipstream of a jet engine via extreme phase shifting. A women’s chorus, shrieking like seagulls, loops in the distance. Jones’s apology for a muffled female solo is sufficient to raise gooseflesh: “It was not for our ears”. Well before dub reggae and its spawn – the cult of remixing – Jajouka showcased techno-primitive terror, up where the air was very thin.”

The album was a recording of the Moroccan group the Master Musicians of Joujouka, in performance on 29 July 1968 in the village of Jajouka in Moroccoand released on Rolling Stones Records, and distributed by Atco Records in 1971. Jones called the tracks “a specially chosen representation” of music played in the village during the annual week-long Rites of Pan Festival. It was significant for presenting the Moroccan group to a global audience, drawing other musicians to Jajouka, including Ornette Coleman. Amazing, amazing stuff!

John Cale

Paris 1919

I LOVE this album. I saw John Cale with my brother a few years back in a weird concert at the classic (and now famous) Enmore theater in Sydney (down the road from my house) in a solo concert that was abrupt, dismissive of its audience and blatantly weird. But I adored every second of it. I saw Lou Reed there a couple of years earlier and loved that as well. Suffice to say, then, this is one of the few albums on this list with which I was familiar prior to this list. There’s plenty of post-Velvet fun here… especially in the track I chose above. John Cale finds his feet here and really gets into his own thing.  A remastered and expanded edition was released in 2006. It features alternate versions of each song on the album, as well as the previously unreleased session outtake “Burned Out Affair”. T3eh album is important for its avant rock statement contribution.

Alice Coltrane

Universal Consciousness

Alice Coltrane, née McLeod was an American jazz pianist, organist, harpist, and composer. Universal Consciousness was the fifth solo album released by Alice Coltrane in 1972 on Impulse! Records. It was re-released on CD in2002.The Allmusic review by Thom Jurek awarded the album 4½ stars stating “This is art of the highest order, conceived by a brilliant mind, poetically presented in exquisite collaboration by divinely inspired musicians and humbly offered as a gift to listeners. It is a true masterpiece”.  This is a sumptuous album and the kind of thing I wouldn’t have known to listen to properly before. It falls into the category of Jazz mysticism, and almost began proper with this amazing album. She leans heavily on other jazz traditions, but is not grounded in any of the history, leaning out into Egypt, the Ganges and further, even than that, than we can reach. The wire says:

 The production is astounding, the quality of improvisation is riveting, the string arrangements are apocalyptic rather than saccharine, the balance of turbulence and calm a genuine dialectic that later mystic/exotic post-jazz copped out of pursuing. Her lack of constraint was dimly regarded by adherents of 70s jazz and its masculine orthodoxies, yet Alice deserved better credit for virtuosity, originality, and the sheer will power needed to realized her vision.

This is a must for any person wanting to expand their appreciation of what music can do. This album is so well made it is hugely accessible.

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