Wednesday, September 27, 2006

top ten records that cost $1 – or less... (one man’s descent into vinyl perversion)

(thanks to quockenzocker for the jpeg: cheers, ears!)

Perrey-Kingsley “The In-Sound From Way Out” LP

Here’s where it all began. My girlfriend (!) at the time had a taste for antique furniture and she was alla time taking me to ill-lit second hand dealers in remote suburbs where she’d haggle endlessly over the price of some hideous wardrobe that looked like it had a half dozen resident poltergeists. Sheesh! Outcome was a houseful of priceless heritage artifacts that incontestably sucked and I was always hauling one end of the bargain up the front stairs.

The dust in these places played hell with my sinus so I usually made a stroll around the blighted neighbourhood to pass the time. THEN THIS ONE TIME we went to an antique dealer and there were hundreds of records stacked just outside the front door, directly underneath of a warm friendly sun. I absently flicked through the stacks, smirking at endless Kamahl & Liberace cast-offs, imagining the jerks that bought that shit in the first instance only to discover their misguided folly when they put a needle to the damned things... But I pulled up on this one.

Imagine, if you will, a time before the internet provided free exchange of information pertaining to marginal cultures. An object like this record embodied all the eldritch consequence of the pivotal plot-motivating item from a HP Lovecraft short story. It was, frankly, “unspeakably” weird (the attempt to recover this frisson might actually be a shorthand for my complete curatorial endeavour, but what the hey). Perrey-Kingsley are fully documented these days and all their major releases are back on vinyl but back then (not so long ago!) you nervously put it to one side and avidly trawled through the remaining records in hope of unearthing companion LPs that might begin to put the whole thing into some kind of unlikely perspective. No luck!

I was frankly underwhelmed on initial listen. It went someplace well to the back of my extensive collection of mid-‘80s US hardcore and assorted industrial racket. I forgot all about the damn thing until Eugene Carchesio came by and flipped through my records (the record collector’s equivalent to a canine sniff; sorry I know thats crass but its so lamentably true) and boggled over it: I dunno, just some junk I picked up in an op shop... And then we had the Machine For Making Sense staying with us, they carelessly passed over all the ridiculously obscure indie-noise I took such affectionate pride in but huddled in a breathless circle around Perrey-Kingsley. Maybe it was time to take another listen...

I was 19. I had a primary relationship (we lived together for 5 years, even). I had a good job (project officer for an artists’ advocacy organisation, with occasional sidelines programming film screenings, and writing for various art magazines). Lord help me, if only I knew then where record collecting would lead me...

The Four Instants “Discotheque” LP

I love my little Sister dearly – she makes all my tremendous shirts for me – but it takes hours to get to her place & when I apply all that effort I figure the least she can do is drive me someplace more accessible by public transport. But she doesn’t offer and I don’t ask and instead on the way out I make with the shoe leather express and hoof my way back to home.

And this one place she was living that turned out to be a fortuitous thing. I think I was nursing a hangover at the time, anyway I was struggling to make it back to the tramline so I figured to stop at this place in the hope they might have some old records. Bonanza, of sorts: boxes and boxes of vinyl gathering dust at ground level. And if you didn’t know better you might pass this one up – the cover is pure youthquake cash-in, poor-man’s psychsploitation - but its all killer and no filler and I had the smarts ‘cause Wendel clued me to its greatness when he DJed at that Smith St houseparty where we danced to Sabbath & christian moog (this later on the Word label, out of Waco Texas!) and skipped outside, centre road, with that huge monster rope. ANYWAYS... 60s session players doing compelling Euro freakbeat: say no more. Except for maybe, thanks Lucy! (Err, and to mention: this one is distinguished by some gratuitous duck-call)


Krzystof Penderecki “Utrenja” 2LP

Twice now I’ve had me the polish vinyl serendipity; walking into a 2nd hand store, spying those fresh crates back of counter and the salesperson puzzling what-in-the-hell-am-i-gonna-do-with-this-stuff? that they just picked up for nearly nothing from some aged polish jazz cat. My polish is lousy but the first time this happened to me I recognised the original title of Polanski’s Knife In The Water on a 7 and the yes it was the OST 45 by Kris Komeda hisself. Now surely I missed many fine sides of Gomulka thaw-era jazz but I’m given to a certain consumer discretion, you understand... 2nd time I found this one, a sublimely choice Penderecki (parts of which figure on The Shining soundtrack). It actually cost me $2, but its a double vinyl in gatefold sleeve with dual language libretto & Penderecki’s notes. Very precious: outside of Poland, only the first half has ever been released; a much inferior recording by a US orchestra (from memory it was Eugene Ormandy conducting a Philadelphia choir?) that I happily gifted to a Sri Lankan satanist acquaintance. Anyway... Maybe you’ve heard the story: its all about some guy gets his ass nailed to a tree, kicks off, then 3 days later he’s back on his feet and asking where the party’s at like nothing ever happened. THATS RIGHT: its a tale of the undead, and Penderecki invests it with the appropriate minatory creeps. And, sure it has the turbulent dissonance you expect of Mr P, but mostly its doom-struck choir crawling at a glacial torpor: a stone-cold chiller throughout.


Peter Thomas “Sound Music Album 5” LP

This is production library music, and ideally the composer should aspire to anonymity. But the tracks have little descriptions that suggest the possible scenes they might accompany: ‘Weird dreams, imaginations, drugs, effects’ and ‘Ultramodern art’ are two such on the back of this sleeve. One side is raucous psych rave-up, cut with brooding noodling more typical of your average mid ‘70s Kraut stoner. Flip is a bunch of squiggly synth improvs. It rocks. Prodigously.

Peter Thomas has enjoyed his revival as well but back then I only knew him from the confoundingly great Chariots Of The Gods OST. Thomas was never as prolific as some of his sountrack compeers but he assimilated German beat group styles with baroque strings, west coast crime jazz, free electronics, heaps more, and did all or at least most of it very well. But please be aware: some of Thomas’ sides for the Goldring library are unrelieved stinkers, and the rule of caveat emptor obtains always...


Adriano Celentano w Orkestar Ribelli “Stai Lontana Da Me” 45

My 45s fit into an old film projector case. Now, this one time I was broke but Curse Ov Dialect had put me on the door so I’m there at the gig irrespective my penury. It was a scorching night between 2 high-‘30s days. Adam says to me The DJ has quit so they’ll give you a hundred bucks if you play vinyls after the show. I rang my housemate, unhip but well-natured, err umm grab that little grey case of 45s, base of the bookshelf you see direct you open the door, and please to be here pronto! Alright. Now that case is very much of a mixed bag, but it turned out a real fun night and between ‘50s exotica and west coast crime-jazz I turned them on with punk & new wave rarities and even a handful of fondly-remembered actual hits. Plus some ahh kids records and novelty tunes. Well I scrambled like all get out flipping sides but folks dug it so all good and plus I made more than those records had ever cost in the first instance.

I’m typically wary of Balkan 45s, I’ve been burnt bad so many times imaging I’ve discovered some unheralded Peloponnesian psych collosus only to suffer yet another mewing ballad that I thankfully can’t understand in any case (now what was that I seem to recall saying about jerks and their misguided folly?). But the songwriting credits give a small clue so long as its in Roman script: I’m always on the looksee for Meek or Morricone and the like. This one, licensed from Italy, is straight outta Zagreb: a stomping cover of Bacharach’s ‘Tower Of Strength’. And plus of which Celentano is given to these wild vocal extemporisations which sound like nothing so much as Henri Chopin with a barely restrained attack of Tourettes. If you didn’t know it already, Orkestar Ribelli is actually the Croatian way of saying The Rebels. In short, Celentano was a beatific punk and I won’t hear different and if you care to dispute the fact I commend to you his ‘Chi Ce L’Ha Con Me’ 45.

Self-styled ‘serious’ collectors treat the diminutive cousin to the long playing 12 with sneering disdain and thats both a reflection of their age and a prevailing Joe Carducci/Rolling Stone aesthetic preference for rock over pop they’ve been hypnotised into. In actual fact dusted piles of 45s will be yielding treasures long after ubiquitous collector types have exhausted available resources of listenable 2nd hand LPs. The searching does require a considerable diligence, but.


Atlas Copco “Secret Sound Competition 1964” 45

This is probably the single most unlikely record that I own. It was a seasonal, err, ‘gift’ from the management of Atlas Copco’s Melbourne engineering plant to their employees. Side B is somnolent Mom & Pop dance orchestra in regrettable waltz time but the flip is the shocker that set mortified factotums jumping to shut down their turntables on xmas day. It has ten different ‘secret sounds’ – each by way of a recording of one of Atlas Copco’s many industrial grinding, abrading or drilling machines. Now maybe you can straighten me here but I personally can’t hardly figure how some assembly line labourer might possibly enjoy to be reminded of this work environment on their day off? Inside of the gatefold sleeve are pictures of the ten “secret sound” sources. Its like a game you understand: you sit around the hifi with your loved ones and match each blast of doom to the corresponding machine, Aw gee honey that sounds like the 50 inch vertical spindle lathe bearing right through my skull... In between of the “secret sounds” are some fairly snappy Latin/Go Go/Now Sound moments, to allow for momentary recovery. Ahh, the inscrutable logic of industrial management that has provided us this gem! If you yourself know of any recipient of this record back in 1964, or are aware of any equally or more-so unlikely vinyls, please be so kind as to post a comment...


Maurice Evans “Introduction To Shakespeare” LP

Now to be honest I almost didn’t buy this, figuring rather that I already had a shipload of those Shakespeare adaptation LPs with the Desmond Leslie musique concrete parts and nothing else could measure up. Wrong I was and very happy to discover my error. Between dramatic recitals of Big Bill’s finest are Mary Rodgers’ gorgeous arrangements of Shakespearean madrigals. Admittedly some of these tunes would be considered somewhat gay in certain quarters by reason of their sweetly sentimental lyrical content, but this Shakespeare character was on the evidence of this record a highly swinging -type guy. To my ears the whole thing enjoys an unmistakable beat (as in beatnik) inflection... Uhh, if UK group The Roundtable are familiar to you then you might have an idea what I’m talking about; its the place where cool school and the Elizabethan restoration converge. My favourite track is the Fairy Lullaby (yeah, go ahead and snigger) from MidSummer Night’s Dream, which has sleepytime femme vox with contra-alto theremin accompaniment. Damn its good, and the perfect wind-down from any long day.


Patty Pravo “Concerto Per Patty” LP

Enough with those grumblers bellyaching that op-shopping ain’t how it used for to be: last year I got this in a haul of half a dozen Italian LPs on various RCA imprints, all of them from 1969. One dollar each. This particular record has backings by Morricone regulars, i Cantori Moderni di Allesandroni, plus Italian psych groups like The Cyan Three and The Primitives. My favourite track is a cover of ‘The End Of The World’; a big hit for ‘60s Greek supergroup, Aphrodite’s Child (Vangelis & Demis Roussos, plus some other guy noone remembers too well), but Patty’s version is far in advance of the original. Italian pop arrangements from this era tend to rococo grandiloquence – an operatic high drama essayed by overwrought vocals and an expansive instrumental vocabulary. Patty is quite the uberminx in her Nefertiti eye make-up too, but, err, that’s not why I bought it, OK?


Lebanon: A Holiday Souvenir” LP

Music of the Middle East is one of my consumer obsessions but it doesn’t come around on vinyl so very often. I’m guessing this is a companion to the equally great “Egypt: A Holiday Souvenir”, but in a budget Australian pressing without the gatefold sleeve. Both of these records compile a dozen-or-so tracks of contemporaneous (early/mid-‘70s) tunes; some traditional, but also many fusions of indigenous music with western pop stylings. Thats right POLYGLOT OUTERNATIONAL HYBRIDS FROM A TIME OF HIGH FUNK! (Sorry, I can get a little carried away with this nonsense, ahem...) I’m not so clear that Lebanon back then was actually home to all the folks on this record; weren’t Sabah and Omar Khorshid native to Egypt? Irregardless, Sabah’s tracks are blessed by thrilling polyrhythms and heaps more uptempo than anything else I’ve heard of hers, plus with tasteful strings and we all know how difficult that is to achieve as a compositional device. And most everthing by Omar Khorshid is completely essential: dependant on which particular Egyptian you speak to, he was either the local equivalent to Jimmy Hendrix or else a composer ala Paganini in the service of demonic motive forces and the righteous muslim is well advised to stay clear of his unwholesome sound! Um, well actually he’s both and he mixes a potent stew of scrambled bongo beats, post-Duanne Eddy surf/desert guitar, and throbbing moog synthesiser. Sometimes he covers Western hits and believe me noone can make a petrified standard like ‘When The Saints Go Marching In’ more sinuously palatable than Omar can! Other tracks are by Farid El Atrache and the Rahbanis and I dig those cats special, also.

Lebanese popular music was peaking in 1974 but the civil war that started one year later laid it all to ruin. And by following the dates of these records you can chart the slow rise and rapid decline of a colourful dialogue between Western and Arabic cultures that came to an abrupt halt most everyplace in the Middle East by the end of the seventies. A genuinely sad thing, in all respects, and unresolved to this day.


Bappi Lahiri “Hits Of” LP

Melbourne’s master of interpretive dance, Paddy O’brien, had swung by one Sunday; there was a warm friendly sun overhead, and we were driving to his folk’s place, maybe an hour out of the city. We never made it... Damn, Pat: thats the place I picked up “Exotic Moog” about 5 years back, lets pull in & see whats going. So we’re trawling. Thousands of records. Nothing nothing nothing. And then this. It came from a shop in Suva (Fiji) originally, and my guess is that many of the Bollywood vinyls found in Australia came by this route (due to the expulsion of the one-time sizable Hindi minority there). Annette, Bappi & chorus do ‘Lets Dance For The Great Guy Bruce Lee’. Its got moog, trebly funk guitar riffing, and a solid four-on-the-floor disco beat. The chorus does a weird guttural chant that might be “Kung Fu!”.

I turned up 2 more Bollywood vinyls, an Italian ‘60s pop comp with Morricone arrangements, and a 45 of motorcycle engine sounds: Lord help me, I was in hog heaven! When I found a copy of “In Sound From Way Out”, I figured it was only fair to lay it on Pat. He stared at it in mute bewilderment, just like I did awaysback. Trust me feller, take it home & give it a listen...


(naturally this list precludes records that folks were kind enough to gift me for no money at all, but on which account I would like to register my indebted thanks to Mark, Irving, Neil, Tony, Rob, Aylsa, Kim & Paul: cheers, ears!)

couple tunes for yr delectation:
The Four Instants –
Bogattini
Krzystof Penderecki – Utrenja (side 3)
Peter Thomas –
Evarella 2073
Adriano Celentano –
Stai lontana da mei
Atlas Copco secret sound competition 1964
Mary Rodgers - Fairy Lullaby
Patty Prado -
Solo un capo al mondo
Sabah –
Dek al Kaff
Annette, Bappi Lahiri & chorus –
Let’s dance for the great guy Bruce Lee

(sorry! nothing by Perrey-Kingsley; that stuff is quite readily available elsewhere…)


1 dollar vinyls RAR
192Kb MP3s
68.2Mb in total

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5 Comments:

Blogger the sweet spot diviner said...

nice ... all those people who bitch about there being no bargains in op shops anymore just aren't looking in the right ones , either that or they just wouldn't know a real bargain if it jumped out & bit 'em on the arse ...
nice buy's , i'll give yer files a good listen & get back to you .
thanks for your comment
cheers

8:17 am  
Blogger the sweet spot diviner said...

oh ummm yr files aren't up anymore ... any chance of a re-up ? otherwise i'll just havta search em out elsewhere...

8:21 am  
Blogger jim knox said...

...no problem, will restore it for yr DLing delectations some time late tomorrow.

11:26 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

those are really nice tracks can you download link doesn't work anymore.. can you re-up them please? thnx

2:26 am  
Blogger øשlqæda said...

thanks fer stopping by, brother jim. i've enjoyed reading yer enthusiastic musings here & on several of me omni publications. would genuinely love to lay me ears pon the mysterious egyptian holiday slab you speak so highly of. allah know is it's rumoured to have a smokin version of salah ragab's 'egypt strut' hidden in the grooves. exciting schtuff. heart thanks fer the generous offer & don't hesitate to rip em high :) have a glorious weekend, mate!

5:03 pm  

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