The Beatles (Mike review)

Yes, I am fully down with the Beatlemania at the moment, I preordered the Stereo box something like a month or so before it finally came in the mail, and I am quite glad seeing some of the waiting times for the next production run. It came in a week or so ago and I'm all the way through Yellow Submarine and can barely wait to get Abbey Road in the player, in fact it would have been today but I left it at home, alas.

So some quick thoughts. I think everything sounds fantastic. While I've been afforded with copies of Dr Ebbets work and various mono versions and this and that I think I heard about the remaster project long enough ago that I was never in a hurry to hear the unofficial stuff and was kind of glad I waited. These all have the clarity and three dimensionality I was always hoping to hear and I'm still virtually stunned that the artists and so on managed to record so many of these classics on 4 and 8 track machines. But I suppose calling the Beatles remarkable is pretty obvious these days, it's not only true but fairly redundant.

I'll admit, I can easily give the first five albums very little attention. I do love songs throughout all five but I think when you take this part of their canon and realize that so much of this stuff really never became icons like so much of the post Rubber Soul material, that they weaken a little with time. Of course the great remastering did indeed pull me through listens of all of them and I'll probably give them another couple for respect, but Rubber Soul is where it starts for me, even if it's clearly the transitional record into Revolver. Things just get better and better. Putting on Magical Mystery Tour on mix with some other things with friends one night last week, late night, was just powerful, it's truly like looking a magnificent work of art from all sides, as if not only the songs, but the effects and production stand out in crystalline clarity. It's really hard not to envision the whole wide world of psychedelia and spirituality bubbling up from this well, not entirely true of course, but perhaps enough to be true. On Mystery and, naturally, Sgt Peppers there's a sense of innocence, wonder and timelessness that age just won't fade, it's just so redolent with the splendor of human creativity. Frankly I felt some pain readjusting Gnosis numbers after listens as albums like Peppers, the White Album and Abbey Road are just objective 15s in every way, they define shifts in the musical paradigm as clearly as anything possibly could. But at least I know I'm on my way with these.

So yes, in the thralls of Beatlemania I am.

Mike's Top 30 Unreissued Titles (Part 5 of 6)

21. Jukka Hauru - Information

Finnish guitarist with a Jimi Hendrix complex, like many guitarists had worldwide in the early 70s and perhaps half of his debut album has the overshadowing influence during some high energy workouts. The other half ranges between more songwriter oriented spots and some zanier moments, all of which manage to create an "in hold" dynamic that makes the guitar freak outs even more powerful when they show up. My more indepth review can be found here.

22. Peter Frohmader - Jules Verne Cycle

The Jules Verne this most reminds me of is 20,000 Leagues under the Sea due to a prevalance of bubbling synths. As I mentioned before with Orakel/Tiefe, this is one of the Auricle cassette releases and a mighty fine one at that, with an amazingly huge sound for the format, layered electronics and some great pulses moving it all forwars. It reminds me that the finest thing about Frohmader during so much of his early work is this great sense of science fictional imagination, one that never manifests as something geeky so much as mysterious, unusual and evocative. Often this one surpasses Orakel/Tiefe for me, depending on mood.

23. Limbus 3 - Cosmic Music Experience

A free music ensemble better known for the Ohr label album Mandalas (by Limbus 4), I've always preferred the earlier work due to its more vast atmosphere and instrumental panorama. Something of a precursor of bands like Aktuala, Between and the like, in this case the same-period albums by Don Cherry might also be a reference although like Mandalas, it doesn't have much in the way of jazz chops. Just a lot of drumming, droning, and varying noises by all sorts of instruments, none of them played particularly splendid, but nonetheless a beautiful chaos does arise from the collaboration. For now only a Germanofon bootleg seems to exist (and it's actually one of the better ones soundwise).

24. Zanov - Green Ray

Debut album by French synthesist who manages to create a Berlin inspired electronic album with some of the thickest analog sounds on record thanks to the ARP 2600, VCS3 and the like. IIRC the Green Ray's one of those theosophy inspired ideas and a Jules Verne book, all named from the solar phenomenon where the sun temporarily gets a green flash around it during sunset or sunrise. This differs from the usual Berliner style by the sequences being fairly slight for the most part and for an unusual dark atmosphere to it. Similar in ways to Wolfgang Bock Cycles when it's not in Moondawn mode.

25. Mars Everywhere - Industrial Sabotage

Review here. Great US mix of space rock and electronic tendencies and their prime effort.

Skywhale - The World at Mind's End. 1977 England

Skywhale's sole album is one of the rare non-Canterbury UK fusion albums that sound more in line with what was happening over the Chan...