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The CD Reissue Wish List blog has been discontinued as of October 2015, as it had served its initial purpose.

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New CDRWL items and/or new notes on items previously featured here.

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Friday, May 30, 2014

News: Braen's Machine and "The Feed-Back" to be reissued on Schema!

Thanks to a tip from Pierre of France, we learned that Schema will be reissuing these two film library classics. The Braen's Machine, in particular, flows more like a  regular album and is one of our Priority 2's! The Feed-Back was a Priority 3! Schema is a well known Italian label from the Ishtar group out of Milan. This is our first encounter with the label, and we get two CDRWL requests at once - wow!

Description of Braen's Machine as found on the SoundOhm page: "Milestone Reissue! CD Edition, deluxe digipack and Obi. Initially pressed in very few copies for TV production use only on Umiliani's LIUTO label. A monster rare album with Music by Alessandro Alessandroni and Oronzo De Filippi Produced by Piero Umiliani at the now legendary Sound Work Shop studio in Rome, January 1971. During the '70s, work days at Umiliani's Sound Workshop Studios were hectic; thousands of sessions were held in order to keep up with a very busy Italian movie industry: Hundreds of soundtracks alongside with music library were recorded and released on vinyl in very limited quantities for TV and film production use only. Those LPs are now proper collectors' items, extremely hard to find. Filled with hypnotic bass lines, heavy drums and screaming fuzz guitars "Underground", the first LP of the fictitious group known as Braen's Machine, is one of the rarest and the most expensive of them all, always "reaching" sky high prices throughout the second hand vinyl market. A fast-beat jam with hammond scales and a twin lead guitar theme ("Flying") opens the A Side soon followed by "Imphormal", a classicfunk-beat-meetsfender-rhodes-and-psychedelic-guitar number. The music then switch to "thriller territories" with "Murder" which is based on prepared piano swells and a deeply hypnotic walking bass, reminiscent of the best Morricone's soundtracks for Dario Argento's movies. Two highly percussive songs complete the A Side: "Gap" is an improvised song with guitar and keyboards dwelling over an infectious drum rhythm while a marching snare and a vibraslap effect are the special features on "Militar Police". The mood relaxes slightly on the opening of the B Side with a lazy jazz groove on "New Experience" but the rock influences are soon brought back on the following track "Fall Out". "Obstinacy" is all about keyboards with syncopated rhodes themes and distorted hammond sustained notes whilst the fuzz guitar is back again screaming through the left channel on the last song of the album, "Description". We could happly say that that was the golden age of the Italian music library. But who's behind the name "Braen's Machine"? On the original cover the songs are credited to the composers Braen and Gisteri. Braen was a pseudonym often used by Alessandro Alessandroni, an extremely skilled and versatile musician, and one of Umiliani's closest collaborators. He could write, conduct and arrange, he could sing (ever heard "Mah Na Mah Na"?), he could whistle (ever heard Morricone's "For a fistful of dollars"?) and he could play almost anything: guitar, bass tuba, accordion, sitar and the list grows..... His first album "Alessandro Alessandroni e il suo complesso" (Sermi, 1969), had transformed the Italian library music from orchestral sound beds into the psychedelia we all love; the extremely fuzzy guitars are very "present" on "Underground" too. For a long time Gisteri's real identity was rather mysterious; often wrongly attributed to Umiliani. Gisteri was the pseudonym of Oronzo De Filippi, art name of Rino De Filippi, music supervisor to the Italian public broadcast company (RAI) between the '60s and the '70s. De Filippi composed other notable pieces such as "Riflessi" (Edipan, 1975) and "Nel mondo del lavoro" (Sermi, 1972). De Filippi passed away few years ago but we were able to contact Alessandroni to talk about this LP. Remembering "Underground" recording session as one of the thousands he took part of, Alessandroni told us that this record was produced very quickly, in two days maximum. This was made possible by a team of wonderfully capable session musicians and the creative genius behind the mixing desk; this incredible combination helped to focus on the mood of each track even more. Unfortunately there are no liner notes but Alessandroni's memories and speculations, based on other music tracked in the same period at Soundworkshop by resident engineer Claudio Batussi, led us to identify this as the most probable lineup: Munari on drums, Majorana on bass, Vannucchi on keyboards and Alessandroni himself on guitar. For this reissue the sound has been restored and the cover art reproduced exactly as it was. Thanks to Francesco Argento (at Liuto), Luciano Cantone and Davide Rosa (at Schema) we now have the chance to hold a very faithful copy of the original release and listen back to this long gone masterpiece again. "

Description of The Feed-Back as found on the same website: "CD edition. Long-awaited reissue of this incredible and near-mythical 1970 album, remastered from the original master tapes with superior sound quality, replica of the original RCA LP (in gatefold digipack with additional liner notes) in a limited edition of 500 copies. An insane amalgam of avant-improvisation and motorik krautrock beats that, understandably, has become one of the most collectable LPs ever issued (original copies are impossible to obtain). Just as the first "krautrock" lp's were coming out in Germany, in Italy we had a surprisingly similar counterpart: this album. It consists of three long instrumental tracks, somewhere in between psych-rock, avantgarde jazz and funky jams. The sound is definitely experimental and ostentatiously "underground". None of the instruments involved tries to be reassuring: the guitar is scratchy, the trumpet sounds choked, piano and keyboards are always dissonant and a background of "proto-industrial" noises is present all along the record. The music, anyway, is thrilling. The drum patterns, in particular, are extraordinary: regular, tight, groovy, and incredibly close to the "motorik" beat of Can and Neu!...Mystical, spaced-out free music at its best. "The Group" was not a band of young beatniks. As a matter of fact, it's just a pseudonym for Gruppo d'Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza, a project of renown soundtrack composer Ennio Morricone along with other important experimental musicians. The rock-focused attitude of the record is quite surprising for  such a team of classically-trained men already in their forties!"

Our feature of The Braens's Machine and The Feed-Back respectively.

Geoffrey Chandler, USA

Geoffrey Chandler - Starscapes. 1980 Unity

Chandler's sole LP is one of those albums that would have played well in a "Planetarium" back in the day. Definitely a fine album in the spacy, cosmic electronic field. Tranquil and calming. On the Unity label, which also released the fine Ojas album from Oklahoma City.

Thanks to MM for this one!

Priority: none

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

News: Third Eye - Connexion reissued on CD by Sonorama

And this news comes from a scanning of Wayside's latest updates. Third Eye's second album has been reissued by jazz label specialists Sonorama. This is the second time we've run into Sonorama (the other was for Joy Unlimited's Instrumental Impressions), and it's obvious from reading their website they are a high quality label that do reissues the right way! If only all labels were so passionate.

For Third Eye - they chose the wrong album. LOL. Of course it would appear that "Connexion" is more in line with the label's own musical outlook, though I do hope they consider the more eclectic debut album as well. I will probably buy this one anyway just to show my support for their efforts.

Sonorama has provided a full history of Third Eye and this album on their website.

This reissue came out in October, so we're obviously a bit late to the party on it.

Our feature of Third Eye here.

News: Yoshitaka Azuma - Moonlight of Asia is on CD from Columbia

This news comes courtesy of an anonymous reader, where we learned that the "Moonlight of Asia" album was reissued last April by Nippon Columbia. He sent us the Japanese info from the label's own website (see comment under entry), but I found corroborating evidence here.

I recently added this title via the CD-R revisit project, and didn't find this CD then when searching around.

Sadly, it appears Mr. Azuma passed away in 2012, according to the same comment.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ruben Alexander, USA

Ruben Alexander - Odyssey. 1980 Ribbon Rail

And now for the final submission from The AC's last grouping of splendid rarities. As with yesterday's Bagel O'Fun, I didn't necessarily save the best for last, but it's still worthy of mention. The AC tells us: "Who exactly was Ruben Alexander? Just some kid from Gary, Indiana who played in his local high school orchestra. It seems that he ended up at the university in Bloomington (ed: Indiana University) (immortalized in this era by "Breaking Away"), but like many other young Midwesterners of the day, he was enamored with progressive rock and happened to be a pretty talented musician, so he got together a couple of other local players and decided to record and publish his very own LP. The instrumental palette here is a bit unusual, as he used only an acoustic piano and a couple of classic synths (Moog and ARP), along with a drummer and acoustic guitarist (and it's all instrumental, no vocals). You might expect this to produce a somewhat sedate sound, but that's not always the case, as the compositions tend to be on the dense side, and the drummer and guitarist both play in a very active style. Musically, this exists somewhere between homemade Midwestern prog (you know it when you hear it) and complex classical rock, although the instrumentation and Alexander's original compositional style make it fairly unique. Most of the pieces are quite compact, but the best is saved for last, with the nearly side-long title track, ending triumphantly with those vintage synths soaring off into the horizon in classic symphonic prog style. Cool cover art as well, drawn by none other than Mr. Alexander himself. "Charming" is not an adjective I often use to describe an album, but I think it's fitting here."

And since I happen to be a big fan of the old-fashioned acoustic piano, it is a true joy to hear the very talented Mr. Alexander tickle the ivories. The album has a pleasant demeanor throughout, perfect for a sunny afternoon in the park. If I could be allowed to critique, the melodies seem to call upon all too often, especially on the first side, 'Linus and Lucy' (Peanuts theme) and after awhile you kind of want Robb Flynn to jump in and start yelling obscenities over massive slabs of thrash to release the niceness. As The AC says, it's all so charming and well ...  nice. I suspect that since Mr. Alexander grew up in Gary, Indiana, then this would be his personal antithetical response of his own upbringing - as Gary is the pure definition of urban blight, and is now one third the size of its peak 50+ years ago, with many abandoned homes. Of course, Gary was also home to the little known Jackson 5... Anyway, Side 2 does cross over into more classically composed rock territory with some fine synthesizer runs. The latter representing the progressive rock genre almost by itself, perhaps reluctantly so.

Priority: none (borderline 3)

Special thanks goes to The AC for a really fantastic batch of rarities this past Fall. Hope you're doing well up in Alaska, my friend! Next up will be a fresh set of CD-Rs that were just sent in a couple of weeks ago by Midwest Mike. More to come!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Bagel O'Fun, USA

Bägel o' Fun - In the Underground Wonderland. 1981 Sparrow Sound Design

Still have two more to report on from The AC's last batch in October, that I have archived here. Here's his take: "This group had their roots in Boston, at the Berklee college, but eventually ended up in Chicago, where this album was recorded. It starts out very promisingly with some energetic, edgy jazz-rock, complete with organ and some absolutely ripping electric guitar. Unfortunately, all the momentum they've built up quickly dissipates, as a lengthy freeform excursion follows which eventually becomes too fragmented and tedious, with lots of obnoxious squawking sax. Then things change significantly yet again, as the last track of side one and much of side two mellows out into a more moody, introspective light fusion. Just when you're starting to nod off, they crank up the power one more time, with another track of aggressive guitar-driven jazz-rock. Oddly enough, the album closes with a dark, experimental percussion piece. The problem here is that these guys couldn't quite settle on one clear identity for themselves. Interesting, but not essential."

And, just as The AC says, the first track is one of those "head raisers". But it appears that their formal training in all aspects of jazz ended up coloring this work in a negative way. For fans of early 70s rock-jazz, late 70's smooth jazz, as well as experimental free jazz, then I suspect this one will resonate. I suppose they were trying to create an underground wonderland, but it's too Art School for general acceptance though.

Two excellent tracks and a lot of - albeit interesting - filler.

Priority: none

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Me (Tom Marolda), USA

Me - Out for the First Time. 1974 Mine

Certainly one of the most odd albums coming from 1970s Weird America. Not so much musically, but more the premise of a loner woodsman from New Jersey (New Jersey?) with a self-deprecating disposition. Marolda now resides in Lost Wages, which seems to be an apt destination for this man with a creative and restless mind.

I was first introduced to this album by our Gnosis friend Lev who described it as such on RYM: "This looks like an outsider folk private press, and a pretty typical Acid Archives fare, but in fact it's so much more than that. Google tells me that Me's mastermind later gained some fame in the band called The Toms (which I haven't heard), and I can easily believe it, given how challenging and musically advanced was his very first, privately released production. "Out for the First Time" is essentially a symphonic prog record, with nods to all the usual suspects such as Yes and Genesis, but also more complex instrumental workouts recalling Zappa and Gentle Giant. Out of the US prog bands of the 1970s, I'd say it would be best compared to OHO. Quite a nice find!"

And a few months ago, The AC lobbed a copy over to me and attached the following description: "This album was the earliest musical project of New Jerseyan Tom Marolda, who later went on to produce a number of more pop-oriented records. It's generally seen as a solo effort, but there were actually a number of other musicians involved, rotating in and out on a track by track basis. The highlights are definitely the two lengthy side-opening pieces, both of which are excellent complex progressive rock, featuring notable Yes and Gentle Giant influences, as well as a quirky Zappa-esque sense of humor. Imagine a more laid-back, less explosively virtuosic Yezda Urfa and you're getting pretty close to what this sounds like at its best. The problem is that several of the other remaining tracks are infused with heavy elements of folksy singer-songwriter, old-timey Americana and even some country stylings, which really brings it down a few notches. Also, the production is quite sparse and boxy, although I suppose that's to be expected from such a low-budget, homemade recording. Still, it's a very interesting effort overall, which should certainly be more well known. The album has now been reissued on CD-R by the artist himself. It's fully remastered (which definitely helps to fill out the sound a bit) and comes in a hard case with a replica of the original LP covers. You can contact him via Marolda's own website to find out how to order."

Well, not sure I can add much more than these consistently insightful gentlemen have. The progressive tracks most certainly do recall Gentle Giant and Yes - and sure, there are a couple of places you might think he was emulating The Rockford Files theme song. Yea.... it's Weird America. And worthy of a real CD (not CD-R) with perhaps some more progressive oriented bonus tracks that are no doubt stored in the woodshed somewhere in Mad Men land.

Priority: 3