Russ Garcia & His Orchestra – Fantastica (1958)

capa cópiaAs we previously approached on Yma Sumac’s first entry, on the very birth of the genre knows as Exotica, today we’ll recap that and add a new genre: space-age pop!

Space-age pop is a music genre associated with Mexican and American composers and songwriters in the Space Age of the ’50s and ’60s. It is also called bachelor pad music or lounge music. It was inspired by the spirit of those times, an optimism based on the strong post-war economy, technology boom, and excitement about humanity’s early forays into space. Although there is no specific album, date, or year when the genre was born, producer Irwin Chusid identifies its heyday as roughly 1954 to 1963, from the dawn of high-fidelity (hi-fi) to the arrival of the Beatles.

Space Escapade, 1958
Space Escapade, 1958

There are several styles that can be recognized as an influence: classical composers like Ravel, Debussy or Stravinsky; the big bands of the ’40s; and different exotic styles, such as Samba, Latin, and Calypso Jazz. It is also related to Exotica and lounge music and may be regarded as a precursor to space music. (!)

Populated with the outcasts from other well-established genres, Space Age Pop is full of brilliant, bizarre, and exciting sounds, which are particularly striking to ears accustomed to the stereotypes that populate the more familiar genres.

Juan García Esquivel
Juan García Esquivel

Let’s go back to Exotica:

The strictest definition limits exotica to the imitations of Polynesian, Afro-Caribbean, and Hawaiian music that were produced by Les Baxter and others from the mid-1950s to the very early ’60s. There were two primary strains of this kind of exotica: Jungle and Tiki. The jungle was definitely a Hollywood creation, with its roots in Tarzan movies or W.H. Hudson’s novel, Green Mansions. Les Baxter was the king of jungle exotica and spawned a host of imitators while opening the doors for a few more genuine articles such as Chaino, Thurston Knudson, and Guy Warren.

Ritual of the Savage, 1951
Ritual of the Savage, 1951

Tiki was introduced with Martin Denny’s Waikiki nightclub combo cum jungle noises cover of Baxter’s ‘Quiet Village’, although Denny’s vibe player, Arthur Lyman, soon became the style’s most representative artist. Tiki rode a wave of popularity in the late ’50s and early ’60s marked by the entrance of Hawaii as the 50th state in 1959 and the introduction of Tiki hut cocktail bars and restaurants around the United States!

Martin Denny's Group
Martin Denny’s Group

Let’s go to our artist:

Russel Garcia (12 April, 1916 – 19 November, 2011) attended at San Francisco State University and then studied composition (with Castelnuovo-Tedesco) before going to work as a professional arranger and composer. He worked with Horace Heidt and Al Donahue before settling in LA to work with a theatre orchestra. He then moved to studio work, first NBC radio and later with Warner Brothers, Disney, and others.

He freelanced around labels, working with singers such as Anita O’Day and Frances Faye as well as several mainstream jazz artists. He also wrote scores for films such as ‘The Time Machine’ and ‘Atlantis’ and contributed music to the television series ‘Rawhide’ and ‘The Virginian’. In the mid-’60s, he wrote several original works for Stan Kenton’s ‘Neophonic’ orchestra. He also published a book on arranging and orchestration that’s still considered a primary text. (!)

Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald & Russ Garcia
Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald & Russ Garcia (Porgy & Bess)

Let’s go to our album:

Fantastica remains the gold standard by which all outer space exotica records are judged, composed and conducted by Russ Garcia, the album is a marvel of sound and structure, brilliantly evoking the music of the cosmos via revolutionary studio techniques, cinematic arrangements, and innovative electronic elements!

Created in tandem with Liberty Records‘ chief engineer, Ted Keep, Fantastica bears little resemblance to conventional earthly music: alongside traditional instruments like woodwinds, harp, and percussion is a series of electronic devices and effects, including a sine wave generator that creates treble and bass tones of almost inhuman extremes. Conjuring horrific images of alien attack (The Monsters of Jupiter), natural disaster (Nova), and chilling isolation (The Lost Souls of Saturn) that articulate the collective unconsciousness of humankind, a true masterpiece!

The Maestro
The Maestro

The ‘IM’ Highlights are Venus and Frozen Neptune. (this is an exclusive rip)

Summing up, this is my Top 3 of the whole genre, an atemporal Lp, nothing appealing or stereotypical as some mentioned during our entry, startle yourself!

Приятно пътуване!

Tracks Include:

A1 Into Space

A2 Nova (Exploding Star)

A3 Lost Souls of Saturn

A4 Monsters of Jupiter

A5 Water Creatures of Astra

A6 Venus

B1 Red Sand of Mars

B2 Goofy People of Phobos

B3 Volcanoes of Mercury

B4 Birth of a Planet

B5 Frozen Neptune

B6 Moon Rise

Credits

  • Arranged, Composed: Russ Garcia
  • Artwork (Cover Design): Garrett-Howard
  • Effects, Electronics, Engineer: Ted Keep
  • Producer: Simon Jackson

Notes

Spectra-Sonic-Sound the ultimate in transistorized stereophonic hi-fidelity sound.

Liberty ‎– LST 7001

Jane Fonda’s Barbarella

Deuter – Aum (1972)

cover

It was English musician, sound designer, and conceptualist Brian Eno who first officially coined the phrase ambient, in the sleeve notes to his 1978 opus Ambient 1: Music For Airports he defines it as music designed to induce calm and space to think. One of ambient music’s prime sources is the classical avant-garde. Among the pioneers were two late-19th Century composers, Claude Debussy, and Erik Satie.

Satie’s concept of furniture music for solo piano or small ensembles now seems surprisingly congruous with Eno’s concept of ambiance: creating a sound environment that complimented the surrounds rather than intruded upon it. More musically direct but just as subtle and suggestive was the work of Debussy, who’s wandering, impressionistic tone poems like Prelude To The Afternoon of The Fawn heralded an openness in Western music, bursting the rules in structure/linear composition.

Debussy & Satie
Debussy & Satie

By the middle of the 20th Century, the American composer John Cage had blown stuffy notions of proper music right out of the water. He pre-empted world music with pieces that evoked the sounds of Africa, India, and Indonesia; he invented and composed for the prepared piano with objects stuck in piano wires to create Asian-like tones and percussive textures; and he perplexed his audiences with collisions of randomly created noise and, most infamously, his piece 4’33” which challenged listeners to consider silence as a perfect form of musical expression.

After Cage, the 60s saw the rise of a school of American composers with classical backgrounds who became known as minimalists (La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass). They took the idea of repetition and explored it over long distances, whether with orchestras, electric instruments or non-Western instrumental combinations. In turn, minimalism was to inform music as diverse as Krautrock, techno and new age music. German composer Karl Stockhausen further explored Cage’s tape experiments with odd collages, a precursor to modern digital sampling.

John Cage, Variations V
John Cage, Variations V

This was also a time of absorption of avant-garde ideas into rock music. In the late 60s rock was enriched enormously by a combination of electronic music technology, psychedelic drugs, and the innovations of jazzmen like Miles Davis. The classical music of India also made a significant impact on Western musicians, initially championed by minimalists from the classical world such as Terry Riley and La Monte Young and then absorbed by The Beatles and The Incredible String Band.

Krautrock pioneers such as Tangerine Dream, Popol Vuh, and Ash Ra Tempel took the next step by downplaying or abandoning pop’s emphasis on lyrics and taking audiences into totally new spaces. The tracks were instrumental, improvised, spacey and long. Rock was undergoing its own avant-garde and the open-ended sound of one instrument in particular: the analog synthesizer. Such an important tool of expression that music that’s been released since then simply wouldn’t exist without it!

Tangerine Dream
Tangerine Dream

Let’s go to our history:

Born Georg Deuter in 1945, in post-war Germany’s town of Falkenhagen, he taught himself ‘just about every instrument I could get my hands on’, though it wasn’t until after a near-fatal car crash in his early twenties that he decided to pursue a career in music. His first release in 1971, entitled D, marked the beginning of Deuter’s spiritual and musical journey, ostensibly paving the way for a new genre: New Age (Ambient).

Which combined acoustic and electronic elements with ethnic instrumentation and nature sounds, such as whale/bird song, the open sea, wind in the trees, rain, etc.

Deuter, 70s
Deuter, 70s

During the 70s and 80s, after traveling extensively through Asia in search of spiritual and creative inspiration, Deuter settled for a long time in Pune, India, where under the name Chaitanya Hari he became a neo-sannyasin, a disciple of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho). With the aid of a multitrack tape machine, he produced a series of music tapes to be used in active meditations, consisting of several stages of ten or fifteen minutes each, which range between Indian classical motifs, fiery drums, loops, synthesizers, bells, musique concrète, and pastoral acoustic passages.

In the early 90s, Deuter ended his long-standing relationship with Kuckuck, the small record label that had released nearly 20 original albums, and relocated to Santa Fe, New Mexico where he signed a deal with New Earth Records, an independent label founded by fellow sannyasin Bhikkhu Schober and Waduda Paradiso. This proved to be a lucrative move for all involved, the majority of them intended to accompany various healing/spiritual practices such as Reiki, massage and meditation.

Western + Eastern
Western + Eastern

Deuter continues to learn and master an ever-expanding array of instruments, including the shakuhachi flute, the koto, sitar, Tibetan singing bowls, santoor, bouzouki, piano, and keyboard. He has recorded and released over 60 albums and claims to have sold more than he can count during the course of his career. (!)

Let’s go to our album:

This album sounds like when you keep waking up from dreaming and you can’t quite tell what’s the reality and what’s part of your dreams. That alternate dimension between the real world and the dream world, where nothing is in focus and you merely catch fleeting glimpses of images as they roll past your mind’s eye. Each song on Aum fades into silence before continuing into the following track, creating the feeling that they are all separate entities, unrelated to each other.

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Drums, flute, guitar, and sitar, combined with the sounds of the ocean, create a variety of different moods and feelings. Some of the pieces are more meditative and reflective, while others are more rhythmic. Deuter is a highly skilled musician who joins his musical talent with spiritual insight and sensitivity.

Welcome to another example of transcendental music, such as Alice Coltrane’s previous post, today’s album has also a distinct imprint, leaving the controversial Guru aside, let’s just stick to Deuter’s heavenly music, ok?

Deuter, Lately
Deuter, Lately

Even though not being a diehard fan of New Age music, this Lp takes us to an atemporal world of discovery, freedom, and breaking of paradigms. Only a political and social landscape as Germany, would have so many strands and styles within a musical scene such as Krautrock, light an incense and put your headphones.

Enjoy the album as a whole and Udhëtimi I Mirë!

Tracks Include:

A1 Phoenix / Aum / Soham

A2 Offener Himmel 1 / Gleichzeitig / Offener Himmel 2 / Sattwa / Morning Glory

B Soma / Sunrat Shabda / Abraxas / Susani / The Key

Credits

  • Artwork (Cover) – Manfred Manke
  • Composed By, Performer, Producer – Georg Deuter
  • Music by, Arranged by – Deuter

 Kuckuck ‎– 2375 017

Darß (Darss), Coastline
Darß (Darss), Coastline

Agentss – Compactos (1982 – 83)

coverThe Brazilian music scene from the 70s was not very favorable to Rock, much seen with reservations by the Generals of the time; Brazil was still a country devoted entirely to the MPB (phonographically speaking), even with names like Rita Lee and Raul Seixas, rock did not have a dedicated ground for the public, marginalized, without many projections in the mass media and also without a show-business structure that favored them. But with the turn of the decade, it began to assert itself and during 1981/82, the beginning of a new generation no longer restricted to the MPB arose. More open to the world musical context, as the ideal of the punk movement (do-it-yourself) and the colorful entertaining bands from the New Wave.

Youngsters who were born under the years of lead, dreamed of a freer style of music, by the time psychedelia and progressive rock with their remote themes and 15 minutes trips, little or nothing dialogue with the backdrop of the beach, sun, and Rio’s sea. Note that in São Paulo (concrete jungle) those same longings became the Vanguarda Paulista and the birth of the punk movement, not as accessible as their brothers in Rio (these and other developments will be addressed in future posts).

Começo do Fim do Mundo
Começo do Fim do Mundo

The precursors of so-called BRock were the Cariocas from Gang 90, and his debut at the MPB-Shell festival in August 1981 with the song Perdidos na Selva. From there, three factors contributed to the formation and dissemination of a new musical explosion with its apex culminating in the realization of the first Rock in Rio in January 1985.

They are: the foundation of Circo Voador (a playhouse) in January 82 in Ipanema, the premiere of Fluminense FM (Maldita), first radio to play (solely) rock in national territory, and the organization of the first punk festival, Começo do Fim do Mundo on November 82, at the newly inaugurated SESC Pompeia.

Some BRock bands: Gang 90, Blitz, Paralamas do Sucesso, Barão Vermelho, Kid Abelha, Lobão, Lulu Santos, Legião Urbana, Ira!…

Circo Voador
Circo Voador

Let’s go to our history:

The political opening exhaustively repeated by the militaries as slow, gradual and safe, began at the end of the 70s, under strong repression of the right sectors that were contrary to the process initiated by the Amnesty Law in 1979. Numerous bombings throughout 1980 and 1981 attempted to cause a climate of political and social instability, culminating with the Rio Centro case: a bomb exploded in a parking lot inside a Puma car, killing the sergeant Guilherme Ferreira do Rosario and seriously injuring the captain Wilson Luís Chaves Machado, both linked to DOI-CODI (sic).

The bomb exploded while being handled, and prepared to be detonated near the Rio Centro lightbox in order to cut power and generate panic among the regulars of the show which was held in celebration of Labor Day, more than 20,000 people participating along with numerous music artists!

Riocentro Bombings
Riocentro Bombings

On occasion, the government blamed the radical left for the attacks. This hypothesis had no support at the time and has been debunked, including a confession, proved that the attack was an attempt of more radical sectors of government (the CIE and SNI) to convince more moderate sectors that were required a new wave of repression in order to paralyze the slow political openness that was in progress. (!)

Let’s go to our album:

After a trip to the U.S. in the early 80s, Kodiak Bachine decides to start a band inspired by punk and new waves groups that had watched and heard. With a new look, Kodiak has teamed up with guitarists Miguel Barella (Voluntários da Pátria) and Eduardo Amarante (Zero). Beyond them were part Lyses Pupo (bass) and drummer Elias Glik. The quintet had a strong line with the Talking Heads, B-52’s, Kraftwerk, Blondie, Devo, Gary Numan, and Brian Eno. The seminal group pioneer in Brazil’s new-wave movement incorporated elements of electronic music and minimalist, making extensive use of icons and scenery that aided in the spread of brand new musical ideas and concepts in the emerging Electro-Pop of the 80s.

Agentss
Agentss

Kodiak sang, he said, in eletrotranzlyric, a dialect of his own invention that mixed Portuguese, English, German, and extraterrestrial languages​​. (!) After the release of the first single, the band performed three shows in 1982, the first on 25 September at Ilhas do Sul theater. Soon it became a cult among youngsters in São Paulo, taking a loyal following of admirers who filled the places where the band performed. With only five shows in one year, they left a lasting impression on the scene. With no label support or sponsorship, the band was hampered and cannot make more shows.

Kodiak, Live
Kodiak, Live

The Agentss recorded only two compacts being the first, in 1981, an independent production, released in 1982. The second was released by WEA label with musical production by Pena Schmidt in 1983. The group broke up amicably at the end of 1983 for philosophical reasons, Miguel Barella formed Voluntários da PátriaEduardo Amarante and Thomas Susemihl formed Azul 29 (also a pioneer in Electro-Pop). Later, Eduardo joined Guilherme Isnard and formed Zero, while Kodiak went solo.

This is one of those bands where you wonder why you haven’t known them before (?!), their leader Kodiak Bachine, is one of the most underrated keyboardists, a specialist in short bands but with great importance in the Brazilian context. With its futuristic synths and a vanguard proposal for the time, the band, unfortunately, did not achieve much publicity, being limited to São Paulo. A curious fact from the second compact is its cover, the first produced entirely on a computer, being photographed and reproduced because there was no way to print the same!

Computer Cover
Computer Cover

As it is only 4 songs, let’s give a chance to all of them, but let me advance you something, the title track Agentss is something beyond the expectations, being modern and exciting even to this day. With satyrical and humorous lyrics about radiation, robots, and computers this domestically unknown band goes way off our traditional psychedelia so far, get ready for AGENTSS. நல்லபயணம்!

Some more BRock bands: Inocentes, Capital Inicial, Titãs, RPM, Violeta de Outono, Plebe Rube, Camisa de Vênus, Ultraje A Rigor, Cólera…

Tracks Include:

1982

A Angra (Orion)

B Agentss (Duo, Kodiak)

Scorpius 22.101.003

Guitar – Orion Mike (Miguel Barella)

Guitar – Duo Enkanativa (Eduardo Amarante)

Voice, Synths & Keyboards – Kodiak Bachine

Drums – Roberto L. Antônio

Bass – Luiz F. Portela

Drums on AngraArmando Tibério Júnior

Credits

Engineered by – Pedro Franck Nemeth

Assisted by – Dom Elder

Mixed by – Pedro Franck Nemeth + Duo + Kodiak

Photo – Fritz Nagib

Recorded in São Paulo, August, 1981

Flyer, Logo
Flyer, Logo

1983

A Professor Digital

B Cidade Industrial

Elektra ‎BR.12.123

  • Bass, Backing Vocals – Thomas Susemihl
  • Drums – Elias Glik
  • Guitar – Miguel Barella
  • Guitar, Bass, Synthesizer – Eduardo Amarante
  • Voice, Synthesizers – Kodiak Bachine
  • Engineer – Ivo Barreto
  • Art Direction – Guti
  • Producer – Pena Schmidt

Recorded At – Estúdio Áudio Patrulha

Computer Vax 11/700

Rock In Rio, 1985
Rock In Rio, 1985