Mike's Top 30 Unreissued Titles (Part 2 of 6)

6. Satin Whale - Desert Places

If you can get $75 for a Germanofon bootleg of this album on e-bay, it's telling you the very important fact that this is a title that is way overdue for legit reissue. The German rock group's debut is their finest work, perhaps done in the style that Tomorrow's Gift, Frumpy and a few others worked with a bit earlier, an early 70s bluesy rock starting to merge in a more melodic direction with the instrumental vocabulary of the time period. Lots of keys, great guitar work, juxtapositions between good songwriting and energetic instrumental outbreaks. If Samtvogel may have been the German album I'd like to see most reissued, I'd say this one would go over a lot better. I wish SPV would get off the kick of reissuing the Agitation Free and Amon Duul II albums for the nth time and get to albums like this that actually need it. So perhaps this would head the list of unreissued albums I'm most impatient for.

7. Friends s/t

John Abercrombie and co taking some time off a number of various American jazz rock expressions and looking across the Atlantic to bands like Soft Machine and Matching Mole for their next inspiration. Take all instruments, fuzz them out to crackling a la Tony Williams Lifetime (or Joe Zawinul and Tim Belbe circa early 70s) and rip maniacally through comps and improvs like noone seems to do anymore. It's perhaps Exhibit A for the fact that the rare difference between prog rock and jazz rock in the early 70s was the amount of effects being used. It might be said the chops and talent level of the musicians travelling the jazz scenes of the early 70s starting with all of Miles Davis bands and their offshoots were about the most musically adept in the world, so it's kind of enlightening to see them take on a distinctly European expression and run with it. I mean hell if we can get Horacee Arnold reissues and Stark Reality on CD, why not this one? A barnburner for sure.

8. Eider Stellaire s/t

Everyone's favorite unreissued Magma clone band and it probably should be noted that Michael Le Bars was actually in the Magma band for what was it a week or a couple months or something. The big rumor is the guy went religious and looks back on his heathen years with some measure of distaste (one has visions of the Magma eagle mandala growing a devil tail and wielding a trident) vowing never to allow his canon to be reissued, thus relegating this debut to permanent bootleg status. Anyway Eider Stellaire sounds like Magma with the Coltrane and jazz influences left as the inspiration's inspiration, streamlining the Zeuhl sound down into something obviously second generation. It's kind of weird in a way because it doesn't go bezerk with energy like Japanese descendants Koenji Hyakkei and Ruins, doesn't go for the French interpretaion a la Eskaton, or bring the Orff or Wagner side more to the front like Weirdorje, nor even pay attention to the Coltrane swing nearly everyone removed from the Magma equation, nor does it even seem to act as a tribute. More like it strips down the vocabularly into syllables and reconstructs the sound as a jazz rock act without recourse to a larger language. What does remain is the heavy bass, urgent forward moving rhythms and the sort of quartet-based writing style. Further albums by the band stripped the sound down more until by 3 they were truly a more typical jazz rock act, but by then the move to a more digital sound stripped the music of any internal coherency and the fact that all three albums are so short is probably tribute to the idea that there's an unfinished feel about all their music. That also means, however, that a CD of the first filled up with the salient points from 2 and 3 would all suffice, provided the master tapes weren't summarily burned in some kind of fundamentalist frenzy. It would be nice to think those rumors are false. But let me say that this album will NEVER be reissued in the way that when you say NEVER that strongly someone always wants to prove you wrong.

9. Volker Kriegel - Lift

At least in the case of MPS we've seen attempts at cracking the label's large catalog come more to fruition of late, a rather beautiful set of mini LPs coming from Germany, a smattering of great titles from Dave Pike Set and Mike Nock Underground sneaking out of Japan and the George Duke reissues getting enough attention even Verve in the US had a go at them. A long time ago Kriegel's Inside: Missing Link was reissued only to fall well out of print and then a few years back Spectrum got a nice 24 bit treatment in one MPS false-start reissue ranges, yet in the latest wave we've not seen further and certainly Kriegel's got another few albums worth of reissue including what's arguably his best title, the jazz rock classic Lift, which is perhaps his most Mahavishnu-inspired released, which means it's just got a little bit more energy than some of his other solos. Of course the draw is all down to Kriegel's playing which is edgy, slightly angular and one of a kind and far more interesting in 74 than Mahavishnu was that year.

10. Oriental Wind - Live in der Balver Hohle

Despite fleeting rumors that Oriental Wind albums have been released on CD in Turkey, I've seen nothing to see that this is true and in fact I think Life Road's the only one I can think of that was or that at least remains possible to pick up at this point. Which is too bad because it's the early catalog that remains of real interest. Drummer Okay Temiz, erstwhile Don Cherry cohort, travelled Europe gathering musicians to play what was basically a hybrid of Coltrane post-hard bop and Turkish traditional music. Even I probably swing on which one of the first five albums was the best of the group at any given moment, but my memory invariably swings to this live album at a place Finnish folk/jazz fusionists Piirpauke also recorded an album at (and who Temiz later joined). Snakey eastern melodies marry to a pre-kozmigroov spiritualist interpretation of jazz, with the specter of two Coltrane bands ever present, the classic quartet of the mid 60s and the earlier quintet with Dolphy in the line up. Similar in ways to Hermeto Pascoal's vision where compositional work in a unique style set up long sections of American-inspired jazz improvisation where any number of musicians would vamp and succeed or fail depending on the energy level (and far often the former). Overall Wind recorded a good night here and if the live album isn't necessarily the band's best album it's certainly the most spontaneous and, dare I say it, pure jazz. So let's hope (in the case of some of these albums) that someone gets the key to the Sonet label and unravels it like MPS.

2 comments:

  1. There are rumors that the Eider Stellaire's may indeed get reissued after all. Their debut is one of my Priorty 1's!

    I also have not seen the Oriental Wind CDs.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Volker Kriegel's Lift was also released by MPS

    ReplyDelete

Orne - The Tree of Life. 2011 Finland

I haven't heard Orne's debut, so we'll dig right into their second The Tree of Life. Orne are yet another retro prog band on B...