Aug 30, 2008

EPIC SOUNDTRACKS "Rise Above" (UK,1992)

Epic Soundtracks (birthname Kevin Paul Godfrey),brother of Nikki Sudden (1956 - 2006) was the drummer of Sudden`s band SWELL MAPS. During the 80`s he played on JACOBITES works. At that time he joined CRIME & THE CITY SOLUTION and later he formed (along with Rowland Howard) THESE IMMORTAL SOULS. Two albums released under that moniker... and early nineties, Epic, who has already been one of the most well respected session musicians of indie circuit, started working on the idea of a first solo work. Finally "RISE ABOVE" came to reality before the end of 1992, featuring contributions of J Macsis(Dinosaur Jr), Martyn Casey(Bad Seeds), Anthony Thistlethwaite(Waterboys), Will Pepper(Thee Hypnotics), Lee Ranaldo(Sonic Youth) and Rowland Howard. Songs, built mostly on piano-voice with addition of horns and strings, have a classic pop art ballad character, and certainly are quite influenced by BEATLES.
RISE ABOVE followed by two more albums: "SLEEPING STAR" & "CHANGE MY LIFE" and a collection of out-takes called "DEBRIS". A fourth, unreleased, album "GOOD THINGS" saw publicity only in 2005... nearly eight years after Epic had passed away, suddenly, in his sleep.

Aug 29, 2008

CREEDLE "When The Wind Blows" (US, 1996)

San Diego`s hardcore chaotic extremists adopted, on their third album, an incredible gamut of styles & references (jazz-latin-klezmer-acoustic-alternative rock) sounding actually matured, more focused and yet crazier(!) than before. John Zorn is a major influence, but even Barrett-like fragile ballads ("Wisdom tooth", "Golden gate") have a position in their weird puzzle. Tracks last from few seconds up to ten minutes. An excessive, unrespectful and totally convincing band in a work of unconventional, provocative eclectisism.

CREEDLE: Devon Goldberg (guitar/voc), Tim Blankenship(bass/voc), Dion Thurman(drums), Cochemea Gastelum (sax), Robert Walter (keyboards)

BENJAMIN LEW "Nebka" (BEL, 1988)

Benjamin Lew, Belgian electronic-ambient, new age composer, known for collaborations with Tuxedomoon`s Steven Brown, released this gem in 1988 with Marc Hollander on percussion / clarinette, Blaine Reininger on violin, Claudine Steenackers on cello, (Steven Brown on clarinette in starting track) and Gilles Martin engineer & co producer. Nebka, is a work of high clarity, that marks the boundaries deletion among genres, ... and one of the best and most characteristic releases of Made to Measure series. Third world rhythms, exotic colours, jazz phrases, minimalism... invade playfully the romantic moods of european heart. An avant soundtrack for shores beyond vision & artlands... that any dreamy listener would gracefully depart to.
NEBKA (55mb)

Aug 27, 2008

PETER JEFFERIES "The Last Great Challenge in a Dull World" (NZ,xpressway,1990)

THIS KIND OF PUNISHMENT paused activities in late 80`s... but Jefferies brothers didn`t stop heading avant garde/alternative/exp-lofi world releasing other new amazing works. THE LAST GREAT CHALLENGE IN A DULL WORLD (following the collaboration with Jono Lonie: "At Swim Two Birds", 1987) is the first of Peter`s highly challenging solo LPs. And rather the best, ...considered that this man`s artistic power is more influential when focused on piano-voice songform core.
The "last great challenge..." posted here after a request.

Aug 26, 2008

FOYER DES ARTS ...An introduction (GER, 80`s)

von bullerbu nach Babylon , 1982

Die unfaehigkeit zu fruehstuecken , 1986

Ein kuss in der irrtumstaverne , 1988

Avant pop, experimental, NDW, genre expanding, Berlin duo (Max Goldt, Gerd Pasemann), activated at several times in 80`s, introduced here through a selection of tracks compiled from their 3 first studio LPs.
1982: Von Bullerbu nach Babylon, LP ( From Bullerby to Babylon)
1986: Die Unfaehigkeit zu fruehstuecken, LP (The inability to eat breakfast) 
1988: Ein kuss in der irrtumstaverne, LP ( A kiss in the illusion tavern)

Για τους εμβαθύνοντες στην πέρα απο τα προφανή, ιδιαίτερη γερμανική new wave-pop-electro-experimental κουλτούρα των 80`s, μια γνωριμία με τους Foyer Des Arts (ντουέτο εκ Βερολίνου) φαντάζει κίνηση σχεδόν υποχρεωτική. Aν και τα αλμπουμ τους είναι μερικές φορές άνισα, οι Foyer Des Artes ξεχωρίζουν από το Νeue Deutsche Welle σωρό, χάρη στις διευρυντικές, πειραματικές, και έντεχνες διαθέσεις τους, την ειρωνική, χιουμοριστική τους προσέγγιση, την τάση να μένουν ενήμεροι των εξελίξεων χωρίς αναγκαστικά και να τις υιοθετούν. Συνδυάζουν ποικίλα στοιχεία με θεατρικότητα και φαντασία, ενώ ο εκλεκτισμός και η ευρύτητα κλοπών & επιρροών εξισορροπoύν κάποιες πιο αδύναμες στιγμές. Η σχετικά ρηξικέλευθη άποψη τους καταγράφεται κυρίως στα 3 πρώτα LPs (και διάφορα singles), την συνανθολόγηση των οποίων σε μια πλήρους audio cd διάρκειας συλλογή θεωρήσαμε ως την ιδανικότερη λύση για μια πρώτη επαφή. Οι λάτρεις της γερμανικής art minimal synth ιδιοσυγκρασίας, θα βρουν εδώ μια απο τις ευρηματικέs εκδοχές της να αποδίδει τον ποπ χαρακτήρα της εποχής... πολυπρισματικά.

FOYER DES ARTS ...a LFDJ compilation

1.steps into the ministry
2.komm in der garten
3.toulouse lautrec
4.eine konigin mit radern untendran
7.familie und beatmusik
9.ein elvis imitator auf dem wege zu sich selbst
10.schimmliges brot
11.familie und gewaltanwendung
12.unter meinen fingernageln
13.die toten augen von deutschland
14.wir verstaatlichen simone
15.ein haus aus den knochen von cary grant
16.konnten bienen fliegen
17.eingecremter arbeiter
18.das leben ist uninteressant
19.dans la ville blanche
20.senf drauf
21.frauen in frieden und freiheit

Aug 25, 2008

ARTURO STALTERI " Flowers" (ITA, Materiali Sonori, 1995/1998)

"L`interminabile tempo mi adopera come un fruscio" -G.UNGARETTI

ARTURO STALTERI, a classical educated musician, was the man behind keyboards, percussions and vocals of italian prog legends PIERROT LUNAIRE. After two albums, the band paused activities and Arturo followed a solo way, released "Andre sulla luna" (1979), and "E il pavone parlo alla luna"(1987), both highly recommended electronic-prog-minimal-art-ambient LPs. "Flowers" originated from 1995; MATERIALI SONORI though, replaced first edition with a 1998, one-track-richer (sheltering sky theme) re-issue. A solo piano album where Arturo defines, in a way, the personal, favourite music universe that lies behind, around and inside his art. Names of Debussy, Glass, Sakamoto and also Chic Corea, Darryl Way gives an idea for the wide range of this impressionistic, minimal, modern, cinematic, endoscopic trip. Arturo adds to them compositions some fine pieces of his own, unifying a more complicated concept which suggests a multileveled,delightful and critical "reading" of the album.
Alone, facing piano`s black & white monochrome, as a witness of night & skylights ("un tasto bianco, un tasto nero..."), Arturo grows into his (and ours) nocturnal imagination, flowers with petals made of a moonlit touch.
FLOWERS. (80mb)

 "The interminable time treats me like a rustle"

Aug 24, 2008

THE CHARMS "Stabbing in the dark" (US,1988)

Δεν σηματοδότησαν καποιο "ζόρικο" τριπ στην αλλη πλευρά,... ούτε προσέθεσαν ή μετέβαλλαν κάτι ιδιαίτερο στην ψυχεδελική μυθολογία. Όντας μέρος της αμερικάνικης νεανικής, ευαίσθητης, κιθαριστικής ιντι-φολκ-ποπ της εποχής (με δόσεις αναβιωτικής γκαραζοψυχεδελειας),.... έγιναν, οταν αυτή παρήλθε και μερος της λήθης της, μένοντας στην σκιά της σκιάς της (μικρής ή μεγάλης) υστεροφημίας άλλων συγκροτημάτων με ηχο παρεμφερή. Κρίμα όμως ... γιατί διέθεταν ικανοποιητική άποψη, τιμιότητα αισθήματος, δουλεμένους στίχους, φρεσκάδα και μια σχετική ποικιλια αργών-γρήγορων, ηλεκτροσκληρούτσικων-ακουστικών κομματιών που αν και αντλούσαν απο το δοκιμασμένο παρελθόν ισως και να `βλεπαν αμυδρά προς το εγγύς μέλλον που επρόκειτο να συντήξει περισσότερο τα διάφορα λεγόμενα ρεύματα & είδη της λεγόμενης ιντι-εναλλακτικής ροκ μουσικής.
Είναι συνεπώς στους κυνηγούς των σπάνιων, επισκιασμένων, χαμένων στο χρόνο psych-pop δίσκων που απευθύνεται κυρίως η ανάρτηση του "Stabbing in the dark". Απαλλάσει δε τον υποφαινόμενο απο τη σκέψη, οτι τόσα χρόνια,παρόλο τον ωραίο της τίτλο,"η μαχαιριά στο σκοτάδι" βρισκόταν άδικα στο δικό του ράφι, ενω αφορούσε άλλους - απευθυνόταν αλλού.

Searching a path between psych-garage revival and a indie-guitar-pop, THE CHARMS from San Diego, CA released debut "Stabbing in the dark" in 1988. Interesting lyrics.Pop ballads alternating with electric, power tracks. Obscure and perhaps underatted.Posted here mostly for its rarity. For the hunters of that stuff...
THE CHARMS were: SAUL KOLL - guitar/voc , BILL JENNINGS - bass/voc , JIM BENHAM - drums/voc.

Vinyl rip of "Stabbing in the dark" (63mb)

Aug 23, 2008

DAVID GARLAND "Control Songs" (US, 1986)

Few albums only have explored so widely the full spectre of pop-folk-traditional-retro-impro-experimental music, by being both eccentric and loyal to an accessible songform. Unusual lyrics, baritone vocals, innovative orchestrations, an incredible gamut of instruments (accordion, piano, synth, bass, guitar, flute, organ, sax, trumpet, turntables, ancient electronics, noises) ...and top avant musicians (John Zorn, Guy Klucevsek, Meredith Monk, a.o.) guarantee for a totally singular art result. An uncompromised vision of knowledge & imagination that puts aside genres and builds straight  simple, pure pop songs.

CONTROL SONGS (+ reissue`s extras) (107mb)

Aug 21, 2008

PLAN 9 "Keep your cool and read the rules" (US, 1985)

Expanding PLAN 9`s ecstatic activities beyond psych-garage land, third album spreads its hallucinatory plantation all over the rock place.
Myths & truths, beasts, old tales, deserts & swamplands, strange hours, hypnotic voices, illusions, ... souvenirs from life`s failed voodoo ceremonies.

SHOCK HEADED PETERS "Life Extinguisher" EP (UK, 1986)

It`s not a secret that Karl Blake & SHP are among the most LFDJ favourites. After posts of SEVERAL HEADED ENEMY (1992) & TENDERCIDE (1996), here it is LIFE EXTINGUISHER, EP. It released 1986, between first and second LPs. Musically closer to NOT BORN BEAUTIFUL (1985), it has though, its own autonomous style and, in a way, concentrates (and completes) in 4 more rock orientated songs the enigmatic avant-art-post punk character of SHP`s music, ...before band move with FEAR ENGINE(1987) to (less interesting), electric-hard-metal 70`s influences.

Aug 20, 2008

MOMUS "Timelord" (UK, 1993)

Sheltered and wandering into the empty isolated rooms of open space, the MOMUS persona of this album extends his life bitter account to a sad, skeptical view over the passage of time, the modern human condition & civilization. It `s not the first (nor last) time, Nicholas develops his provocative mixture of irony & lyricism based on negative feelings and a sharp, inauspicious logic fed by despair. It is though, one of the occasions that the difference between the odd roles he plays... and his very own personal "soul & mind striptease" looks very small. And most of those who love him, they would have felt, i guess, that somewhere into the ambiguity of this difference,... it lies the key for such an extremely seductive, influential art.
Listen to TIMELORD vinyl rip (60mb)

Aug 17, 2008

THE HAPPY FAMILY "The man on your street" (UK, 4AD, 1982)

Here it is the early days material of NICHOLAS CURRIE, recorded in 1982 for 4AD, (rereleased with the addition of 3-songs EP "Puritans" in 1992) and provided here by good friend, Iraklis. Although Nicholas first steps take him not far from Postcard`s sound (Orange Juice), oddity appears from the first moments, especially on lyrics & the strange story in Nicholas mind which give the album a conceptual character and, in a way, explain the peculiar second title: "songs from the career of dictator hall" . Briefly, an interesting work, and a valuable addition to the study of MOMUS phenomenon.Thanks Iraklis for this gem.

Man on your street + Puritans (113mb) at 320kbps
momolyrics at :

Aug 15, 2008

SHOCKABILLY "Heaven" (US, 1985)

Haven`t really much to do with the 60`s revival stream, EUGENE CHADBOURNE & KRAMER tried simply, back in 80`s, to resume (if not to rewrite) the psych-folk-country history with their own funny, messy, noisy, melodic, free-form and rather lunatic way. Fragments from any corner of electric or acoustic, rock or roots american ground clashed with crazy production & surrealism... turning finally into extraordinary psych songs. "HEAVEN" was their last (and for many the best) LP. Full of paranoia and damaged normality, humouristic and yet chimeric, - a dive into the risky side of things.

The Shimmy Disc version of the album you get here, misses the untitled track of the original release.

HEAVEN (40mb)

PETER JEFFERIES "Closed Circuit" (NZ, 2001)

Compared with its predecessors (SUBSTATIC,1998 & ELEVATOR MADNESS,1996) "CLOSED CIRCUIT" is a more song orientated work. Peter concetrates his acoustic-electric, art-minimal-noise aeshtetics in shorter compositions and the album, generally, sounds dense, more lofi, less experimental than past. Critical, yet poetic lyrics place him next to artists like Peter Hammill. He remains one of the last great romantics in a dull world...
Check also our previous post about Peter Jefferies "ELEVATOR MADNESS"
Closed Circuit (34 mb)

Aug 12, 2008

DAVID THOMAS "More Places Forever" (US,1985)

This album (along with "A MONSTER WALKS THE WINTER LAKE" [1986] ) is perhaps the peak of a series of albums David Thomas released from 1981 to 1987, a period when he tried to develope an even weirder than before musical vision, based on whimsical vocals (his trademark) & a songform experimentation related to jazz, avant-art-prog, improvisation and theatrical act. This period collaboration with Chris Cutler (the emblematic man of R.I.O.) proved to be very influential and brought David closer to english avant garde. Apart David (vocals) & Chris (drums), Tony Maimone played bass and Lindsay Cooper (News from Babel) played bassoon.

Aug 8, 2008

V.A. " Dark Paths" (UK, 4AD / WEA Greece, 1982)

This greek-inspired compilation (released from WEA Greece in 1982) catches 4AD, the legendary UK indie-underground label at a time when this label was independant and underground indeed. Promotioned by the music cosmogony of that period (can you count how many genres/subgenres raised or enjoyed their blooming peak circa 1979-83?), 4AD was back then home for top influential alternative bands (BAUHAUS, COCTEAU TWINS, BIRTHDAY PARTY), art-industrial experimentalists (COLIN NEWMAN, GILBERT-LEWIS), avant funk, dark/noise post punkers (MEDIUM MEDIUM, REMA-REMA, MASS ) and several other cult heros, some of which have been remaining still obscured (DANCE CHAPTER). Despite of quite long for vinyl standards duration, one hour music (7 bands - 13 tracks) proves to be too little to demonstrate the wide range of 4AD`s eclectism. Nevertheless the compiling is quite successfull. It reveals, without sacrificing diversity, relations & similarities among several music ideas, capturing something like "a common spirit circulation" from band to band. As a result we have a tight compact manifest of some of the most innovative electric-art inclinations of the era.
DARK PATHS end by crossing with the original bauhaus artist RENE HALKETT, who recites monumentaly his poetry, at the age of 82,... a while before passing away.

"...unseen my weightless hand restlessly laid on nothing ..." Rene Halkett ("Nothing")

DARK PATHS (75mb - vinyl rip)

MARTYN BATES "Mystery Seas (letters written #2) " (UK, 1995)

MARTYN BATES started sending his LETTERS WRITTEN in 1982, when he released his first solo work - the highly personal character of which demanded a songform made of the most basics ( keyboards + voice). And while this work went obscured by the magnificence EYELESS IN GAZA radiated constantly, (disbanded 1986 - reformed 1993)..., a second batch of LETTERS WRITTEN, appeared after reunion. Slowly evolved themes, haunted droning keyboards, autumn/winter romantic atmospheres and Martyn`s dominating vocals (in great shape) rule again, but this time sound is a bit less monotonous, the folk scent is stronger, arrangement includes some percussion, winds and.... it is the discreet (nearly illusional) presence of PETER BECKER (co-production, percussion, vocal harmonies) that makes, behind shadows, these seas nearly as mysterious and seductive as some of the best EYELESS IN GAZA works.

"...imagination feels like poison..."

Letters Written #1, 1982

Dance of Hours (Letters Written #3), 2001

Mystery Seas (78 mb )

Aug 6, 2008

TORU TAKEMITSU "Garden Rain" (JAP, 1973/1977)

a balance between sound absense and silence...

1.GARDEN RAIN(1974) - rec 1974 - Phillip Jones brass ensemble

2.-4.LE SON CALLIGRAPHIE I-III(1958/60) - rec 1974 - (violins, violas, cellos) japanese musicians conducted by Hiroshi Wakasugi

5.HIKA/ELEGY(1966) - rec 1975 - Ida Kavafian, violin & Peter Serkin, piano

6.-8.FOLIOS I-III(1974) - rec 1974 - Kiyoshi Shomura, guitar

9.DISTANCE(1972) -rec 1974 Heinz Hollinger,oboe & Tadamaro Ono,sho

10.VOICE(1971) -rec 1973 - Aurele Nicolet, flute

11.STANZA II(1971) -rec 1973 - Ursula Holliger, harp/tape

12.-13.EUCALYPTS I&II(1970) - rec 1973 - (Heinz Holliger, oboe, Aurele Nicolet,flute, Ursula Holliger,harp/tape, conductor Jurg Wittenbacher)

TORU TAKEMITSU (1930-1996), perhaps the greatest modern classical composer of 20th century in Japan, started writing music strongly influenced by western composers. After 1960 Takemitsu, in a way, rediscovered the music of his country, developed new performing technics and tried unusual combinations of eastern & western instruments."GARDEN RAIN" consists of compositions recorded in studio the period 1973-75. With exception of LE SON CALLIGRAPHIE which is here the earliest and the most "western" piece, & HIKA/ELEGY, the rest material composed near recording time and was designed specifically for these players. "GARDEN RAIN" unfolds the composer`s increasing interest for water, wind, trees, gardens as parts and symbols of natural. Its diverse palette reveals the individual road TAKEMITSU took between tradition & innovation, giving life, according to his aesthetic philosophy, to "sounds as intense as the silence".

Aug 5, 2008

DAZIBAO "Sahd" , 12`` EP (FRA, 1986)

Related with the previous post about C CAT TRANCE, here it is another post punk band with references to the arabic world. DAZIBAO are french & "SAHD" is their 12`` EP from 1986. Sound is heavier than C CAT TRANCE. Massive rhythm section, noise, suspence and cold, threatening, delirium vocals. The Arab singer, (sometimes like a passionate muezzin or a mad prophet) leads DAZIBAO beyond a simple encounter of cold wave & muslim exotism. Quite interesting. Search also for their 1987 LP "Les Musiques de la Honte".

SAHD (27mb)

Aug 4, 2008

C CAT TRANCE "Zouave" (UK, 1986)

C the sickle moon

C CAT TRANCE formed in 1983 when John Rees Lewis (vox, sax) & drummer Nigel Stone left MEDIUM MEDIUM, one of the respectful and forward looking, post punk -funk band of the era. C CAT TRANCE extended the avant dance forms of MEDIUM MEDIUM in a more art-pop-world direction, diminishing guitar noise, using anxious synth layers, dark pop atmospheres, traditional instruments, middle eastern influences. They were ahead of their time & albums like KHAMU(1985) & ZOUAVE(1986) presage the ethno/dance/electronic styles that was to dominate the music planet late 80`s & beyond. C CAT TRANCE songs though, have no ephemeral glance, they express a nocturnal evocation, an anxiety proceeding from the different, the unexplored. The saxophone in the front cover is laying down the desert like a snake, and with snakelike ways this post punk exotism is seeking for trance.
ZOUAVE (52mb )

SAPPHO: A poem (c. 580 b.c.)

The sinking moon has left the sky,
The Pleiades have also gone.
Midnight comes—and goes, the hours fly
And solitary still, I lie.

The Moon has left the sky;
Lost is the Pleiads’ light;
It is midnight
And time slips by;
But on my couch alone I lie.
Translated by J. A. Symonds, 1883.

There is no download in this post, here you can only find a dive; a dive into an ancient poet’s marvellous world. Listen carefully to this exceptionally beautiful poem, delivered to us through a distance of 2600 years, yet still surprisingly modern. Sappho in a few verses is talking about light and shadows, desire and loneliness, youth and spring’s beauty, love and (temporary or permanent) death. As a small help here is Kastoriadis short notes about the poem:

« Certain translational difficulties lead us to the ascertainment that the ancient Greek poets did often rely on a characteristic trait of Greek language, probably common with other primary languages, trait that we can call indivisible polysemy of words and grammatical cases. The newer European languages do not anymore have this characteristic trait, and the poets have resorted in other roads in order to create a comparable expressive intensity.

These ascertainments lead us to an examination of roads of poetic expressiveness and particularly her semantic musicality.

Let us begin with Sappho’s eminent verses (ed. Bergk 52):

Δέδυκε μὲν ἀ σελάννα
καὶ πληΐαδες: μέσαι δε
νÚκτες, παρ¦ δ' œρχετ' êρα,
œγω δὲ μόνα κατεύδω.

A word by word translation could be the following:

 The moon has set, and the Pleiades; it is midnight,
the time is going by, and I sleep alone. [H. T. Wharton]

Δέδυκε, the verb δύω, it means it dove, it foundered. In Greece of two hundred inhibited islands and roughly ten thousands kilometres of coasts the sun, the moon and the stars do not lie down, they dive in the sea, they sunk. Σελάννα is the moon, and we cannot attribute the word differently. For one ancient Greek however, the word Σελάννα refers immediately in σέλας, the light· Σελάννα is the luminous, the φωστήρ. Πληιάδες is Pleiades, the constellation; [the word can literally be translated as Many]. …[For contemporary people Pleiades may mean something else or nothing]….But for the Greek farmer, craftsman, or mariner of Antiquity (and still until recently), it is about a stellar cloud –at least seven stars would be distinguished via naked eye - that a current astronomer would call a star cluster of some millions of stars, a splendid constellation in the most beautiful shaping of nightly sky, into an enormous arc of circle which covers more from the half of sky dome, beginning from Pleiades, passing from Orion and terminating in Sirius. When by the end of summertime Sirius is appearing, just before the sunrise, the pale henceforth Pleiades have already cross the zenith, going west. The moment that Sappfo is speaking, the Pleiades have already set, a clue precise and precious, in which I will come back.

Sappho, by Charles Mengin (1877)

Μέσαι δε νύκτες, by word: the nights are into their middle, it is midnight. In the middle of that night, in the midnight of that day, the Moon and the Pleiades have already set. Let us suppose provisionally that the end of poem could be attributed somehow in this way:

… time is going by, and I sleep alone.

Here, Sappfo herself is speaking, Sappfo who was born around 612 in Lesvos. We can suppose that the poem was written round 580, perhaps maybe earlier. A lyric poem, as we were saying, that expresses the sentiments, the mental situation of poet, and however, the myth - the narration, the history - is present, nostalgic and splendid. Without particular effort, we see the nightly sky be described, the Moon and the Pleiades already set, and this woman, maybe in love with somebody who is not there, maybe not, however full of desires, which, in the middle of the night cannot sleep and says her sadness; that in her bed she is alone.

Reading an ancient poem means that we recover a lost world, a world now covered from the indifference of “civilization” towards the elementary and fundamental. It is already the middle of the night and the Moon has set. Contemporary people do not see what this means. We do not imagine that, because the Moon has set before the midnight, we are between the new Moon and the first fourth, in the beginning hence of a lunar month (a means of time measurement for all ancient people). But the Pleiades have set. This precision of ancient poets we only seldom find in the newest, taking as fact that having as starting line this clue we could almost define the season of the poem’s composition.

We are in spring, because in spring - and in particular in its beginning - the Pleiades set before midnight· as more the year advances, so much they set later. Sappfo is laid down, and time passes by.

What is ώρα? The translator will attribute the word “effortlessly” as [hour in English and] heure in French (via the Latin loan hora). Hour however in ancient Greek means also the season, already in Homer, and this significance lasts until today via the Alexandrian and Byzantine years· αι ώραι (hours) of the year are the seasons. It is of course also the hour, with the usual significance of term, not the hour of clocks, but the hour as subdivision of day’s duration. One of the eminent poems that the later Antiquity attributed in the lyric poet Anakreonta begins as follows: μεσονύκτιος ποτ' ώραις”; in the hours of midnight. Hour however is also the moment at which a thing “it’s on time”, when it is really good and “ωραίο” [nice], it is therefore for humans the flower of youth. In the Symposium when Alcibiades recounts that he tried to sleep with Socrates, but was raised the morning without having suffered nothing (καταδε-δαρθηκώς...) as if he had slept with his father or his brother, he concludes: Socrates is an abuser, so much he despised my “hour”, my youth, my beauty, the fact that I was mature to collect me as a beautiful erotic fruit.

I should also make mention of conjunction “δε”, that it means equally “and” but also “but”. Here the choice is inevitable and I will translate simply “and”. What does therefore Sappfo says?

The moon and the Pleiades have set

It is midnight· season, hour, youth

Are going by and I sleep alone.

No newer translator, as long as I know, has dared to translate the unique word hour with three words. However the climaxing of intensity of the poem is precisely this word that combines more of one importance, without wanting or having to select one between them: the season of the year, the spring - the new beginning of time afterwards the winter, the season of loves - the time that goes by and the youth of Sapfo that is spent uselessly, since there is no one in her bed. Sappfo’s genius lies also in the choice of precisely this word, the spectrum of importance of which is enlightened and enriched by the rest of the poem (without the indication of the set of Pleiades, the significance season/spring of the word hour would be much less imperative).»

K. Kastoriadis, Expressive means of poetry. Some notes.
Translated by begemot

Sappho in Wikipedia

See also an excellent page about Sappho: The Divine Sappho

Aug 2, 2008

DAVID THOMAS & THE WOODEN BIRDS " Blame the Messenger " ( US, 1986)

on the thresold of a tenement year

After "SOUND OF SAND"(1981), "VARIATION ON A THEME"(1983), "MORE PLACES FOREVER" (1985), DAVID THOMAS brought his (seperated from PERE UBU) whimsical avant vocalism & art philosophy to extreme with "MONSTER WALKS THE WINTER LAKE"(1986), a seductive, imaginative acoustic, theatrical, concept album.

For the next step, he changes direction.... WOODEN BIRDS this time is CHRIS CUTLER, JIM JONES, ALLEN RAVENSTINE, TONY MAIMONE, so "BLAME THE MESSENGER"(1987), built on amazing CUTLER`s drumming, is a return to avant rock lands. The jazz-rock (RIO) rhythm section keeps the compositions form open, while the rest musicians wake up eclectic memories from an art-post-punk past. If the previous solo works of DAVID dealt with winter atmospheres, this one presages the end of hybernation of avant-garage. The following year was a "tenement year", indeed.

Aug 1, 2008

CHARLES HAYWARD "Survive the Gesture" (UK,Ink,1987)

Not much need to be said about Charles Hayward (THIS HEAT, CAMBERWELL NOW) one of the greatest experimentalists, a restless explorer of new ways of communication. His music is a sound document about life under urban/industrial rules, yet a meeting point of traditions coming from several directions in order to create free feeling & thinking liberating forms.This first solo LP (released just when Camberwell Now disbanded) blends post industrial, ambient, world, electronic, jazz, prog, noise elements, it is though a song orientated album,(bringing in mind Brian Eno, Peter Hammill, Robert Wyatt), quite melodic, with Charles lyrics & vocals on central position. RIO extensions, global thinking & ecological cares are present in many compositions. A folk sense echoes a cosmic melancholy, but this art is bathing in light, especially as Charles vision connects the dream for a modern collective soul with the continuity of a globeold earthy optimism.

 GET IT HERE (80mb)