The Compostual Existentialist

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Music Project – Album #24 – A Broken Frame – Depeche Mode

A Broken Frame– Depeche Mode

I was surprised to find this album in my library; I’d never heard of it.

Turns out this is the second studio album by DM; the first following the departure of Vince Clarke. Seems like Martin Gore described it as “our worst album”. It shows.

I’m not familiar with any of the songs on here and if you’d said to me this was DM I’d have said “Is it?!”

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Music Project – Album #22 – 01011001–Ayreon

000-ayreon-01011001-(advance)-2cd-proof-2008

01011001 by Ayreon

I can’t remember how I first heard about Ayreon. It might be listening to a compilation or something but from the first song that I heard, I just knew that I would like his work.

So I managed to get his back catalogue with this fantastic double album being released at the moment that I began getting Ayreon’s work.

I think that Ayreon, or Arjen Anthony Lucassen, does a bloody good job of uniting various artists such as Floor Jansen, Anneke Van Giersbergen, Bruce Dickinson and Fish under a single project umbrella. Much in the same way as Ivo Russell-Watts did with 4AD and This Mortal Coil. The difference being that Lucassen creates a concept album as the central cusp of the union.

So let us see….changing artists – Check; Concept albums – Check; Bearded and hairy musicians – check; Rock music – Check….so does that make it prog? New prog? In my opinion, yes it does.

01011001 tells the tale of the descent of man into destruction despite alien entities, psychically beaming visions of our destruction into our little heads. It works. It tells a story. With music and catchy tunes.


Music Project – Albums #20 & 21 – 9012 Live: The Solos & 90125- Yes

9012 Live: The Solos – Yes

People that have known me for a while will no doubt agree when I say, as a youth, I was weird. When all my contemporaries were enjoying U2, Deacon Blue, Blur and Shakespear’s Sister; I was deeply entrenched in a puddle of prog. Most notably, Yes and Triumvirat.

As I reached my early teens my desire for music grew. HMV became the Minaret that called me through it’s doors to the music Mecca that was inside. Remember, this was many years before the Internetz and free musicz. You would have to go through the LPs and CDs alphabetically by artist and hope that there would be something new or exciting within your price range. If they didn’t have the album, you could ask them to order it, but they’d probably charge a fortune. Or you could just hope that on the off chance it would somehow miraculously appear in the racks.  

In the day, records were out of my price range and I would use Christmas and Birthdays to boost the contents of my music library by asking grandparents to buy me the albums or by using gift vouchers. One of the albums I got during this time was this. Unfortunately the vinyl got warped somewhere between the printing press and my record player. I didn’t have a receipt. I didn’t have the courage to ask for a refund. Instead I listened to the listenable bits and made do.

This album reminds me of so much about my childhood. Probably because this and the accompanying studio album and video were on repeat

90125 – Yes

I wrote to Jimmy Peado Saville and asked him to fix it for me to sing with Yes because of this album. He was obviously too busy fiddling to Fix anything for me.

90125 is a break from the twiddly weirdness of their earlier stuff. A complete style change from Tormato and Drama. Yet it works. It works well. They even had a new guitarist. Trevor Rabin (Steve Howe had gone to play with Asia). He looked so cool I wanted long hair like his. I wanted to be dark haired so I could have long hair like his. This was new stuff and a new style that would continue to evolve and grow like me. I must have listened to this album a million times as teen and as a twenteen. With the VHS live video to accompany it too. 

Incidentally, this is the album which contains Owner of a Lonely Heart; Yes’ most famous song.


Music Project – Album #19 – 2001: A Space Odyssey – Original Soundtrack

2001: A Space Odyssey – Various Artists (Original Soundtrack)

As a child I thought 2001 was boring. Too much talk. Not enough lasers or explosions. And what was that thing about the huge slabs of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk in space about? And why was Rigsby talking with a Russian accent? But hey! Look at all that cool stuff we’ll have in 2001! Holidays in space, floaty pens and Commodore 64s will have huge red lights and be able to kill you. Wow.

As a twenty something, 2001 became the wall paper for mind experiments. Mostly to do with the weird bits at the end. A chap I knew edited the weird trippy hyperspace sequence at the end into a 3 hour stoner flick complete with far out music. Suffice to say, his place was popular with hippies and tourists of the ether on a Friday night after the pubs had closed.

The soundtrack for 2001 is a mix of familiar classical Strauss waltzes interspersed with more unusual Modernist works by Gyorgy Ligeti. Ligeti, you might recall, is a progenitor of the atmospheric style of music. Eerie chanting choirs (they chant “Eeee” and nothing more) are part of the course with Ligeti and sections of his Requiem provide further feelings of unease and suspense. It’s amazing what music can do isn’t it? Some might think of six minutes of people going “eeeeee” discordantly would be torture, while others listen through the surface and deep below feeling the pulses and rhythms on an almost synesthesic level.

On reflection I seem to recall one of my brothers having the 2001 soundtrack when I was a child. I’m certain my mum insisted that he did not play the album when I was around as it might be too scary. It probably was, but I’m sure the continuous playing during my early years, altered my mind on some level, meaning I can appreciate atmospheric, true industrial, noise and rhythmic genres on a significantly different level.

Or perhaps has given me the ability to spout shite.


Music Project – Album #18 – 1984 – Rick Wakeman

1984 – Rick Wakeman

Take one Chaka “Chaka” Khan (out of deep storage), a dose of Kenny Lynch, a teaspoon of Jon Anderson, a pinch of cockney rebel Steve Harley and mix well with copious amounts of bearded prog rock keyboard player (remove beard). Garnish with sprinklings of Tim Rice Libretto which has been steeped overnight in a solution of George Orwell’s 1984. Leave to play for 46 minutes.

Serve with bemusment.

Rick the bearded grump mashes out another album of prolonged twiddling this time without the ice skating panto horses. Instead he collaborates with Tim “Jeeeesus Christ Superstar” Rice and tells the story of Orwell’s 1984.

If you can listen through Chaka “Chaka” Khan’s screeching you will hear something quite entertaining. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t “Lounging about on the sofa drinking coffee” music, nor is it “bring some girl home and romance her” music (unless you’ve found the mythical female prog fan). It isn’t even “Aren’t we refined” dinner party music. It’s “Let’s vacuum the house” or “Wash the dishes” music.

Admittedly I used to listen to it when I did my paper round so it isn’t all that bad really.

Except for the screeching.

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Music Project Album #16 – 666 – Aphrodite’s Child

666 – Aphrodite’s Child

Aphrodite’s Child is to Greece what the Beatles are to Liverpool and Abba to Sweden. If Greece had maintained such quality progrock output I suspect they wouldn’t be in financial difficulty now.

Though what do I know about economics? Stuff all.

I suspect most of you will not have heard of Aphrodite’s Child (AC) but I’m certain you may be aware of two of the lead members: Vangelis and Demis Roussos. The band was a product of a time when Prog was popular in the west – long before punk appeared. With a style similar to the Moody Blues, AC only managed to churn out 3 albums. 666 is the last AC album before they split to pursue solo projects and is a concept double album based on the bible’s Book of Revelation.

I’ve only ever attempted to listen to the album all the way through a couple of times. It’s quite hard going but there are a couple of sections that stir up desires and send prog infused shivers to your toes via your spine. These being most notably The Four Horsemen and Hic and Nunc If you know the works of Vangelis and Roussos you would probably listen to it blissfully unaware of who you are listening to, this album being so detached from their later styles.

But to truly experience the album in its fullness, you need to abide by the following recipe:-

You will need:
A room (plastered, painted white with lines of blue to resemble some form of Greek restuarant)
Some form of heating (can be natural)
A beard
3 chest wigs
A kaftan
Some drugs
Metaxa
Strong smelling aftershave from the 1970’s (Brut 33, Blue Stratos, Denim or HiKarate will do)
A record/tape/MP3/media player
A couple of friends with beards and kaftans
Numerous cushions (varying in size)
A mezze board of kebab meat

Method:

1. Take the room, heat to unbearable sweaty levels. Sit in the room. On a cushion. Wearing your kaftan with your beard and similarly attired friends. Stuff the largest cushions up your kaftan and encourage your friends to do the same. This is to increase your girth and make you at one with Roussos, Sideros and Vangelis.

2. Douse each participant in the strong aftershave and apply the chest wigs (if you are doing this on your own because you have no friends, use all three chestwigs for full appreciation). Repeat until fumes effect visibility or motor functions. Ensure all participants have worked up a really big sweat.

3. Partake in the drugs and metaxa. Cannabis is recommended here as you can usually get a good hit if you use a hooka pipe which will also add to the authenticity of the experience. Other drugs can be used but may effect the overall experience detrementally (especially crack or crystal meth).

4. Play the album and nibble on mezze board.

5. Chill

6. Halucinate and sway about.

7. ???

8. Profit.