Monday, July 30, 2007
Sunday, July 29, 2007
When I was a young teen, I went into Denver's Wax Trax record shop (Owned by the same people who founded the Wax Trax label, I believe). They had started a new section simply called Electronic. I looked through this section and saw this very cool looking record cover (Done by Cal Shenkel), so I just had to get it for myself. I'm sure glad I did because this extreme rarity is a real gem. This quartet put out 4 live improvisations that resemble the 80's King Crimson, Frank Zappa and Robert Fripp's albums with Andy Summers.
The quartet consists of: Richard Isgrigg (Guitar, Guitar-Synthesizer & Rhodes Piano), Tom Cranor (Guitar & Guitar-Synthesizer), Mark Murrell (Bass) and Sam Simon (Drums). This was released by a small label called Nozzle Records in 1983 on Vinyl, Cassette and PCM Digital Cassette formats. I have not found out any information on this group except what is printed on the back sleeve. The artwork was exceptional both front and back, and the art was available for a limited time as a poster from Cal Shenkel. The sound quality is less than perfect as the vinyl album has been played frequently over the last 24 years. It was transferred to a Sony pro CD recorder, then encoded to VBR LAME mp3s.
1. Out Of The Box
2. Fog Bank
3. Space Mambo
4. The Bending World
UPDATE-I was recently contacted by Richard Isgrigg, lead guitarist of Inserts, and they are still a functioning band, and this album will be made available again in the near future. In the meantime, I highly recommend checking out their web pages at bandmix.com and MySpace. I borrowed a copy of the album art from their bandmix page.
Link to Inserts-Out Of The Box
This is my first release for the Swiss net label 20kbps rec. It is an attempt to fuse electronica and psychedelic music. The label is one of the most famous lo-bit labels in the world, meaning that the music is encoded at 8-40 kbps. I decided to treat lo-bit almost as an effects pedal, utilizing the low fidelity to my advantage. Songs 1, 3 & 5 are dance numbers that admittedly would probably sound better at higher bit-rates, but songs 2 & 4 are actually better at the low bit-rate of 20kbps. The song titles were somewhat influenced by Davis Redford Triad's Blue Cloud, as well as Miles Davis's Aura album. Purple Smoke is influenced by Neu and Weasels era Zappa, Yellow and Brown Smoke are inspired by Eraserhead, Psychedelic music and Skinny Puppy. Red and Green Smoke features an old Casio VL-1 synth/calculator playing a random melody in the background. To give listeners a choice, I gave 2 versions of Song 5 to choose from, one is in stereo, the other is made to simulate being played on an old suitcase style turntable. I also gave a choice of 3 different CD covers to choose from, one of which was designed by Dutch graphic artist Norbert Croonenberg (lower picture shown).
The album is available free at 20 kbps rec. and I highly recommend some of my labelmate's albums like: Old Oldman's The Tender Ass and Deemage's Nothing Happens Everything Changes.
Link to 20kbps rec.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
This LP came out at the end of the 60's, and was rare enough that many record collectors used to tell me it didn't exist, I suspect it went out of print very early on. Crazy Elephant had one big hit called "Gimme Gimme Good Lovin", and a very minor hit called, "Sunshine, Red Wine" they released some more singles that didn't do very well. The band is almost always unfairly compared to the Bubblegum music that their producers Kasenetz-Katz were widely known for. Unfair because to this day I still haven't heard a pure Bubblegum style song out of this diverse and talented group. They sounded similar to Vanilla Fudge and The Rascals but to the best of my knowledge they didn't sound Bubblegum. The LP is sometimes referred to as a collection of singles, but it stands up nicely as an album in it's own right. The strongest element running throughout the album is strong keyboard work. Much of this album was put together by Ritchie Cordell, who worked on many Super K projects. Three performers of note on this album are Robert Spencer (vocals) who had previously performed with The Cadillacs (post "Speedo"), Kenny Cohen (Flute, Sax, Vocals) who went on to perform with The Eagles, Santana, Rod Stewart and BB King, and Bob Avery (Drums) who also played with The Music Explosion ("A Little Bit Of Soul"). Larry Laufer (Keyboards, Vocals) is designated as the leader of the group on this LP. Hal King (vocals) and Ronnie Bretone (Bass) are the other performers credited on this LP. Larry Laufer was asked to put together a touring version of the group, The Music Explosion and eventually that group evolved into the Crazy Elephant band credited on this LP. Production is by Jeff Katz and Jerry Kasenetz which apparently is the main reason this group is considered by many to be Bubblegum. Very ironic considering that at least one song would sound totally in place on the original "Nuggets" box set. For some reason Buddha records declined to represent Crazy Elephant, and they instead ended up on Bell Records. Crazy Elephant was once cited as an influence on Talking Heads, I'm assuming because of the jangly rhythm guitar work and youthful lyrics. There are also a few singles here which I believe were released around the same time as the LP. The single, "There Ain't No Umbopo" was written, performed and produced by the guys who would eventually become Hotlegs and then 10cc, the song reminds me of Side 2 of Small Faces "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake" album. During this era they put out several singles for Kasenetz-Katz as well as some British bubblegum producers. I believe that Laufer, King and Bretone went on to perform on more of Kasenetz-Katz bubblegum classics. I would bet that at least one of them ended up on Captain Groovy & His Bubblegum Army, since they also issued a single called "Dark Part Of My Mind".
3. Come To The Farm
5. My Baby (Honey Pie)
6. Sunshine, Red Wine
7. Heartless (Hertie Gertie)
8. Love Strike
9. Try This When You're Ready
10. Higher & Higher
11. Gimme Gimme Good Lovin' (Stereo LP Version)
12. Gimme Gimme Good Lovin' (Mono Single Version)
13. Dark Part Of My Mind (B-Side)
14. Gimme Some More (A-Side)
15. There's A better Day A Comin' (A-Side)
16. Space Buggy (B-Side)
17. There Ain't No Umbopo (A-Side)
18. Landrover (B-Side)
19. Splif Dna Spih (B-Side)
Download Link for CRAZY ELEPHANT LP