Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Freakbeat-sploitation: The 4 Instants, "Discotheque"

[this has been re-issued on vinyl by Wah Wah; the DL is deleted, buy it instead from them.]

... at risk of this becoming a DL blog: here's one I uploaded for a pal in Austria. Crypto-garage/freakbeat styles from 1966, by a team of what are probably UK session players
. Somehow, it got licensed for Antipodean listening 3 years later by, unnh, Basic Books Australasia.

3 originals, credited to Cattini/Winters/O'Neal/Keen, including the second side's blazing hot opening track. In a fairly naked case of plagiarism, Barely Breaking Even once re-released Bogattini on a BigBeat 12, but without any mention of its title or the musicians who'd recorded it (BBE did, however, embellish it with some seal SFX & an Art Blakey drumbreak - tho' I personally doubt this gives them anykind of compelling authorial claims...). Among other choice tunes, the truly epic & thumping double-time cover of Tizol/Ellington's exotica regular, Caravan. That, the several other raucous rave-ups of "jazz standards", & the tremendous technical chops of the players - a 4tet of guitar, bass, organ & drums - might suggest this particular wrecking crew had a background in jazz?

I'm confounded that this one has been overlooked for so long in its native territories, while much lesser discs get their celebratory re-release. Angela Sawyer is dead-on when she remarks on the (B-music) "tendency to lean toward the UK end of collecting: lots of beats, slick brass, clean bass." Within its strictly metered discipline, there's a storm of scattered beats dropping all over the place - but the guitar is filthy with fuzz and in fierce competion for the lead with a rippling funk organ.

As recently as 2006, it was still possible to read in The Wire that the first White Noise LP was an artistic failure (wha?!?). And yet Delia Derbyshire's merely chromatic library tracks seemingly provoke an evangelical fervour (double-wha?!?). Perhaps this all speaks to some kind of structuralist distinction between "raw & cooked" obtaining in UK pop music - an avidity for precisely the kind of MOR over-production that punk stylings reacted against.

... A second "Discotheque" LP followed, 6 years later & produced by the same corporate pseudonym (Art & Sound, Ltd). Failing to capitalise on its predecessor, and somewhat optimistically, that record announced itself as "Discotheque Volume One". That one has a different crew of players and much reduced appeal, but there is one killer track in the rumbling funk of Car Wash (an original, predating the US film by 4 years). Apparently, there are more; Johnny Topper has told me that he's seen a Volume 3.

Anyways. Back to 1966:

A1. Discotheque
A2. Watermelon Man
A3. Mashed Potatoes
A4. Caravan
A5. Portobello Road
B1. Bogattini
B2. Outrage
B3. Monkey Time
B4. All about my girl
B5. Night Train

not any more

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