Geordie – “Electric Lady” (1973)

October 31, 2008 at 9:55 pm (Music)

More from Brian Johnson’s pre-AC/DC band Geordie. They had a few glam rock hits in England during the years 1972-74, sounding quite a bit like Slade. Then they disappeared, as did Johnson for a few years before the untimely, unfortunate death of Bon Scott, gave Johnson his big chance at stardom.  

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Geordie – “Can You Do It” (1973)

October 31, 2008 at 9:38 pm (Music)

Brian Johnson, pre-AC/DC – from 1973. This song was a #13 hit in England. Geordie had a big Slade, hard rock/glam feel. They broke up in 1976 and Johnson later replaced Bon Scott in AC/DC. The rest, as they say…. 

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Tangerine Dream – “Phaedra” (1974)

October 31, 2008 at 11:27 am (Krautrock, Reviews & Articles, Tangerine Dream)

Written by The Seth Man for the Head Heritage / Unsung website – from June 21, 2000. I hope he doesn’t mind me printing this here… 

 

In 1981, I believed this to be the trippiest album I had heard in my life. I came to this conclusion after I traded in a pile of second rate space rock like Oxygene, Video Magic and all the solo Vangelis I owned, plumping the proceeds towards the then-recently released T-Dream 70-80 box set. It included nothing off Electronic Meditation, and side one was a quick sampler of Alpha Centauri, Zeit and Atem too brief to give me any real impressions of their formidable qualities at the time, unfortunately. But side two included the first and last tracks off Phaedra, and they were so out there, I immediately scored the entire album soon afterwards. This was Tangerine Dream’s first release on Virgin, and it heralded the beginning of their shift in musical direction, a scenario played out over and over again by almost all progressive bands of the seventies. As time began to slip closer and closer to the eighties, newer keyboard and recording technologies would see these same bands (all of whom had previously lumbered through earlier LPs with freakstorms of mellotron, organ and early VCS3 synthesizers) tone down entirely, change to overt pop or zip through the stratosphere on their battery of “improved” equipment that altogether changed the sound and feeling of their keyboard-based into wimped-out luxury Yamaha, Roland or birotron hurdy-gurdy doldrums. But Phaedra was the only place where the presence of sequencing synthesizers were used in harmony with the mellotrons and previous keyboards that created space-outs as lush and epic as some of their later Ohr pieces. It did begin a trend where T-Dream’s sequencer use would become so relied on that by the late-seventies, Trouser Press’ satirical “Believe It Or Don’t!” column featured a report of the world’s longest concert: the one where Tangerine Dream forgot to unplug their sequencer weeks after a concert!
Phaedra features an Edgar Froese blue and grey painting on the cover, and it captures the overall mood of this synthesizer and mellotron-dominated album: mysterious and diffusive. And the gatefold features ten further Froese psychedelic, light show blob paintings, one of them a disturbing photograph of his then young son, Jerome, drowning in a sea of maroon and blue ectoplasm. The title track is a group composition, taking up side one in its entirety as pulsating and diffusive synthesizers emerge. Then, their brand new sequencer starts up all rigid and echoed as crystal synthesizer patches pass by, twinkling like stars. Soon, only the sequencer remains and mutates into the dominating role as mellotrons waft in and out. Then a three-way mellotron/Moog/sequencer cross talk builds then falls away, leaving Froese playing a repeating surf guitar riff to nowhere as the sequencer returns, picking up speed and pinning you to an undetermined axis in space. Plenty of synthesizer tunnelvision ensues, all trancey and dominated by the unswerving sequencing. As it funnels into inner space, low, low moog chords rumble as lightly touched, reverberated synths dance with further electronics. VCS3 frills and modulated sizzle-Moog appear, and the sequencer labyrinth becomes higher pitched and slowly speeds up, followed by more knob-twiddling sizzling and it’s quickly becoming a dance on the edge of a precipice …on and on until it dissolves into a galaxy of atomic particles and all is “aaaaaaaaaaaahhhh.” All that is left is a desolate universe of unearthly caws in the echoed distance, looming closer and closer until the majesty and power of Froese’s mellotron creates a hymnal at the beginning of the universe, a wonderously huge choral that is accompanied by echoed, singly hit chords that operate more like marimbas. The ending sequence is a mellotron-dominated swell-out depicting a deserted beachscape of power, beauty and neglected hope. Then a final coda of mellotrons draw the curtain…until a delayed resurfacing where schoolchildren can be heard playing on a sunny day through the opposite side of a puddle. The classical Greek myth of Phaedra, daughter of Minos, dying by her own hand after her love was rejected by her stepson, Hippolytus, was one of pure tragedy. But leave it to T-Dream to wind up stressing a hopeful end, by the slight return of the schoolchildren voices, perhaps representing her two surviving sons. Side two is broken into three pieces: “Mysterious Semblance At the Strand of Nightmares”, “Movements of A Visionary” and “Sequent C’”. “Mysterious” is just that: all massed mellotron storm clouds with VCS3 knob-twiddling in a place where the only rhythms are amplified sequencers or carbonated synth-fizzing. The opening goes on until it even slips into a phrase from the opening track of “Clockwork Orange”, all swelling and phase-shifted beyond all reasonable-ness. Perfect. “Movements of A Visionary” is full of synthesizer exercises evocative of crabs scuttling across a huge ocean bed, whorls of sand and sea dust kicked up by the shuddering electro-vibe. “Sequent C’” is the finale, wistful but not entirely sad, and winds up diffusing itself into eternity in the fade. And yet, something even stranger underlies all of second side–it was accidentally mastered backwards.

 

The Seth Man

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