Saturday, July 13, 2002

[I am in the US for two weeks, so updates may be sparse in that time.]


G. F. Handel, Organ Concertos, Karl Richter/Chamber Orchestra, KRI Cat. No. 4509979002

Re-listening to the CD masters of Karl Richter's complete Opus 4 and Opus 7 Handel Organ Concertos, it is astonishing to consider that these performances were recorded some 40 years ago. I first heard them when I was just eleven years old, in 1969. Indeed the third LP in the original vinyl set was the first record I ever owned. I was completely transfixed. They have held a special place in my heart ever since.

The primary charm, of course, is Handel's music. The combination of organ and small orchestra makes the most of his penchant for colouration. Combine that with superlative melodies, harmonic variation and metrical playfulness and you have a recipe for both enjoyment and engagement.

Karl Richter, who died at the age of only 54 in 1981, is best known for his ground-breaking interpretations of the more studious Bach. But as organist and choirmaster at St Mark's Church in Munich and in his work with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra he extended his passion for the little-regarded Handel concertos, leading to this extraordinary (and definitive) recording.

The Opus 4 concertos issued by Thomas Walsh in 1738 were the only legitimate ones published in Handel's lifetime. They came out to pre-empt another unauthorised version. After the composer's death two further sets appeared, the most widely recognised being Opus 7, published in 1761. It is these two main bodies of material that Richter has lovingly reproduced.

Originally these works, which included original composition and much judicious re-use or re-working of existing material, were performed by Handel as show pieces during interludes in his Oratorios. That means they would have been played on modest theatre organs with a small ensemble. Karl Richter stuck with the Chamber Orchestra but decided to use a larger organ. He reasoned, quite fairly, that the flamboyant Handel would surely have been prepared to exploit the fuller range of a church instrument to bring his work to life. Indeed, it is well noted that the performances the composer gave far outstripped the notated versions.

Another reason for this, instrumentation aside, is Handel's virtuosic propensity for improvisation. His was, if you like, the jazz sensibility of its day. Few classical performers have the courage, capacity or training to replicate that kind of extemporisation. But Karl Richter is a shining exception. Among the many highlights of these breathtaking performances are the player's own ad libtum embellishments in the spirit of the originals, the prominence of the organ, and the multi-stopping, flute, reed and bass pedal effects. The recording acoustic is also just right in its balance between breadth and detail. No doubt the overall sound quality could have been improved using modern engineering, but this is still a high standard.

In summary, we get a rich and full treatment for these fine musical miniatures. Yet Richter also shows great restraint where necessary, and he maintains a necessary balance of interpretative and performative sensitivities. Listen out for the famous 'Hallelujah' and 'Cuckoo and Nightingale' themes in Opus 4, as well as for the less famous textures and ideas of Opus 7.

Karl Richter has, without doubt, bequeathed us the finest existing recording of the Handel Organ Concertos. Or, at the very least, he has set a benchmark for other interpreters and performers to follow. All who love Handel should invest in this edition.


Refrains and Choruses: Deux-Elles DXL1019

For the faint-hearted Harrison Birtwistle is a daunting prospect. In the interview with Colin Anderson that accompanies this fine recording he confesses, in a distinctly unapologetic way, that he does not begin to know how to write music 'for' an audience. Rather, (as I would put it) he writes out of his own intrinsic musical fascination; and in so doing invites the listener to accompany him on an adventure. As this collection amply illustrates, it is an adventure well worth joining.

'Refrains And Choruses' takes its title from Birtwistle's first acknowledged work (1957), a beguiling play on opposites and continuities. It is a collection of what he chooses to call 'occasional' rather than 'chamber' music. Perhaps the latter sounds too trivial or functional. More to the point, these compositions, though valuable in their own right, are not simply ends in themselves. Birtwistle frequently uses small ensemble pieces to explore ideas that crop up in, inform, or parallel more complex themes in orchestral or theatre works.

Among the goods on offer in this imaginatively organised compilation are several pieces for piano, including 'Hector's Dream' with its differing chordal patterns. This is about as near as we are ever likely to get to a 'beginner piece' from Birtwistle. The notes are possible, but the inner challenge is in the timing. Similarly, the flute 'Duet For Storab' in six short episodes has a disarmingly simple texture but is fiendishly difficult to perform. Two of its movements ('White Pastoral' and 'From The Church Of Lies') shock with their sweetness and lyricism. Those who stereotype Birtwistle as a monster of the inaccessible are confounded here.

It would of course be quite wrong to imply that Birtwistle in any way compromises his formal musical concerns in these pieces - even the most direct ones. But they are, nonetheless, a very profitable place to start for anyone seeking a way into his aural universe. Whether it is the hocketting on 'Hoquetus Petrus' or the intricate instrumental contrasts on 'Five Distances', there is a good deal to learn about Birtwistle's technique here. But there is also insight into his deep love of music as a means of expression and exploration.

For those already attracted to Birtwistle this material, excellently performed by the Galliard Ensemble and soloists, draws attention to some of the main building blocks of his work. For those who remain daunted or sceptical - but who are willing at least to try - it constitutes a more comprehensible (though no less profound) set of surfaces to contemplate. Thoroughly recommended for all concerned.


Barry Mills, Morning Sea (chamber pieces), Evira and Aciel Bekova (Claudio CC43182).

I discovered Barry Mills' refreshing collection of miniatures, 'Morning Sea', quite by chance - at an art open house associated with the Brighton Festival a couple of years ago. Intrigued by what I heard, I bought a copy. This CD is part of a trilogy, the other chamber collections being 'Mosaics' and 'Under the Stars'.

Mills started out as a self-taught composer and has since been tutored by Colin Matthews (of Holst after-movement fame). He combines outdoor pursuits and manual work with composition, and evinces a particular interest in the relationship between musical language, visual images and mind maps. His work is impressionistic rather than formal in its concerns, however. On 'Morning Sea' the emphasis is very much on building a sense of atmosphere through tone, texture and contrast.

Mills' music is tonal, but not unadventurous in its melodic patterns in the way that distinctly non-modernist moderns can be. After a while you begin to recognise one or two fairly evident techniques - insistent repeated riffs, doubling, call-and-response, moody key shifts, interesting block chords (sometimes vaguely reminiscent of Messiaen or Crumb), slow arpeggiated bursts. It can feel a little mannered, but it is thoughtful and often strikingly beautiful.

I enjoyed listening to the 'Piano Sketches for Children' alongside Chick Corea's 'Children's Songs' - very different, with their changing washes of sound held on sustain and una corda pedals (as the composer points out in his useful accompanying notes).

The Beklova Sisters and their accompanists obviously have a feel for Mills' music and give tender performances. I found the rather plummy acoustic a little distracting - a small quarrel with the producer / engineer. And the one compositional area where Mills' contrasts seem a bit too subtle for his own good (given what else is going on) is in the tempo department. It's all so intense in its moodiness.

But these are quibbles. This is a fine, graceful collection of chamber pieces in a modern romantic (but not reactionary) vein. I commend 'Morning Sea' and will make a note to check out the other two discs at some point.

Friday, July 12, 2002


Fourteen items on the sound system and personal stereo at the moment, and a few from the last couple of weeks. Not necessarily in this order. Those marked (+) will emerge as reviews sometime in the future. There’s newer material too, but I am doing a lot of ‘re-visiting’ at the moment.

(1) Hans Werner Henze, Requiem (+)
(2) G. F. Handel, Organ Concertos Vols 4 & 7 (Karl Richter) (+)
(3) Resonance Vol 6 No 1 (London Musicians Collective):
-----Iancu Dumitrescu/ Hyperion Ensemble, Fluxus II Live
-----Butch Morris, Conduction 59 E2: Holy Sea, The Devil's Music
-----John French, P-K-Ro-P Beat
-----Fong Naam, Homrong Lyaret (Nimbus Records)
-----Altered States, Improvisation
-----Charles Wharf and Simon H. Fell, Frankenstein (extract)
-----George Lewis, Voyager (extract)
-----Charles Hayward, Accidents and Emergencies
-----L.E.G.O., Dervish
-----Faust, Rock Aktion Party 1.12.96 (extract) >>>
(4) The Guest Stars, First Album / Out at Night (+)
(5) Yes, Symphonic: Live in Amsterdam (+)
(6) Toru Takemitsu, What Flows From Me Is What You Call Time (Live at the BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall) (+)
(7) Miles Davis, In A Silent Way [sigh...]
(8) Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennae To Heaven (+)
(9) Leos Janacek, String Quartets Nos 1 & 2
(10) Verve, Urban Hymns [better late than never]
(11) Bill Bruford's Earthworks, Footloose and Fancy Free (Live in London) (+)
(12) Pierre Boulez, Pli Selon Pli
(13) Piano Circus, Future Sound of London
(14) Biota, Object Holder (+)

Thursday, July 11, 2002


King Crimson, THRaKaTTaK (Discipline Global Mobile DGM96042), 1996

Hard to believe that this is eight years old. Seems like only yesterday. THRaKaTTaK (let's be pedantic and get the upper and lower case rendition correct) is a full-frontal aural assault on the heinous mediocrities of corporate rock. Robert Fripp and his double-trio thread together an hour of immensely satisfying avant improvisation. This material was recorded at various live King Crimson concerts in 1995. It begins and ends with an account of 'Thrak' from the album of the same name - and in a different guise from the preceding EP, 'Vroom' (1994). In between the received notes we get some idea of just how far this Crimson line-up pushed their experimental mandate.

The natural aggression of rock, the instinctive bravery of free jazz and the complex textural interest of contemporary composed musics are all called to mind as Fripp (guitar and electronics), Adrian Belew (guitar and FX), Tony Levin (Chapman stick), Trey Gunn (Warr guitar), Pat Mastelotto (drums) and Bill Bruford (percussion) set to work. The outcome is something far more terrifying and edgy than anything the band has produced in the studio so far - a milestone in improvised rock, and for once something that actually merits the much misused monicker 'progressive'.

Many sympathetic to the Crimson cause have argued that the double trio format never really gelled. Mastelotto's muscular drums and Bruford's skittering, angularly metred percussive forays found differentiated but complementary roles; Levin's distinctive stick sound continued to cut through without competition; but the guitar-based musicians sometimes seemed to encroach on each others' accents and harmonic territory a little too much. On THRaKaTTaK, however, they unleashed a sonic force that is undoubtedly greater than the sum of their not inconsiderable parts. A classic in its own right, and one to file in between Ornette Coleman and Glenn Branca. Dark, daring and delightfully demanding.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002


Biography: introducing Suzanne Giraud

Born in Metz on 31 July 1958, Suzanne Giraud studied piano, violin, viola and composition at the Strasbourg Conservatory before entering the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris, where she graduated in harmony, counterpoint, analysis, orchestration, composition and conducting. While approaching spectral compositional techniques with Hugues Dufourt and Tristan Murail, she became conversant with acousmatics and data processing at Boulez’s IRCAM, where she produced several sequences which attracted widespread attention. Later, she studied with Franco Donatoni at the Accademia Chigiani in Siena, then with Brian Ferneyhough during summer courses in Darmstadt.

Her two years' stay at the Villa Medici in Rome proved capital in all respects and she subsequently won several awards and prizes from institutions such as the SACEM (the French Performing Rights Society), the Académie des Beaux-Arts (the French Fine Arts Academy), UNESCO and ISCM. Works were commissioned by the Ensemble Intercontemporain, Radio-France, the State (France), Musique Nouvelle en Liberté, the Strasbourg Musica Festival and the Dresden Festwochen, and she received invitations to London (Almeida Theatre), The Hague (the Residence Orchestra), Budapest, Manchester (ISCM selection 1986 and 1998), Geneva, Lausanne, Darmstadt, Cardiff, Saarbrücken, Salzburg, Köln and Brussels.

Her chamber music temporarily culminates in her second String Quartet, ‘Envoûtements IV’ written for the Arditti Quartet in 1997, and the Trio for soprano, clarinet and percussion, ‘Envoûtements III’, which met with great success when performed by the Accroche-Note Ensemble in France and in Europe.

Her intimate knowledge of string instruments led her to compose an important piece for strings, now included in the repertoire of the Toulouse National Chamber Orchestra. In 1996, she returned to her favourite medium: the voice (‘Petrarca’, for six mixed voices) and the orchestra (‘Ton cœur sur la pente du ciel’, for orchestra, and ‘To One in Paradise’, for mezzo-soprano and orchestra).

The lyrical nature and emotional quality of her eminently personal style, the delicate, refined, well-balanced textures she creates, were already clearly detectable in ‘La dernière lumière’, first performed by the Ensemble Itinéraire in 1985. The same qualities are even more apparent in her bassoon concerto ‘Crier vers l'horizon’, first performed in 1993 by Paul Riveaux and the Ensemble Intercontemporain directed by David Robertson.

Painting and poetry provide her with multiple sources of inspiration - one has only to consider her catalogue, now featuring over thirty works, and the titles of such pieces as: ‘L'offrande à Vénus’ after Titian (‘Offering to Venus’), ‘Voici la lune’, after Michel Leiris, ‘La dernière lumière’ on poems by Ivan Goran Kovacic, ‘La musique nous vient d'ailleurs’ inspired by Tolkein’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’, ‘Petrarca’ on sonnets by Petrarch, ‘To One in Paradise’ after Edgar Poe, and ‘Bleu et ombre’ to a poetic text she wrote herself.

Visit the Suzanne Giraud website :

The webmaster : Christophe Le Gall
ResMusica, des siècles de Musique Classique

© Christophe Le Galle

TOMORROW: That playlist….

Tuesday, July 09, 2002


The Shout is a London-based eighteen piece choir featuring the talents of an extraordinary array of singers - from contemporary classical, gospel, jazz, Indian classical, operatic, church music and early music backgrounds. It has been called a 'vocal big band', a 'vocal Stomp' and a 'choir of Babel'. Well worth checking out. Among the ensemble's notable concerts was 'Corona', an outdoor oratorio marking the total solar eclipse. It is a piece for singers, brass band and five percussionists. The Shout has a fine CD called Tall Stories. They have appeared on Unknown Public.

The Shout website is at: You can listen to and download music there.


One of the disadvantages of the weblog format (in other ways rather easy on author and reader alike) is that individual pieces can't readily be URLed or discovered without a fair bit of scrolling. That and the routine testing of your eyesight, of course. (Yup, I take the point. But too bad. Try a bigger monitor.) Anyway, I shall attempt to ameliorate, if not rectify, the situation by publishing an Occasional Index. When the second one appears the first will be transferred to the Links section on the left (and so on). The Date Index is a routine feature of this log. It is currently set to 'monthly', but may become weekly, depending on the flow of content. Happy surfing....

8.3 The Shout: A choir of Babel
8.2 Occasional Index, vol 1-8 (28 pieces, 20 June – )
8.1 Utopia revisited: Holdsworth’s secrets [9 July 2002]
7.5 Coming Soon
7.4 Earle Brown, RIP
7.3 Quota: Hunter S Thompson
7.2 Pli Selon free (Boulez)
7.1 Faure into the past [8 July 2002]
6.4 Difficult Listening (radio)
6.3 David Hobson review
6.2 Readers and writing
6.1 London Record Finder [7 July 2002]
5.2 Listening post: George Crumb, Ancient Voices
5.1 Twentieth Century Landmarks [26 June 2002]
4.3 Turnage’s ‘Silver Tassie’
4.2 Air guitar in Brighton
4.1 Lindley’s Handel Organ Concertos [24 June 2002]
3.2 Boulez and Zappa: perfect strangers?
3.1 Dierdre Cartwright, Play (review) [23 June 2002]
2.5 Messiaen reconsidered (conference)
2.4 La Folia
2.3 Dierdre Cartwright Group, Precious things (new: review)
2.2 Birtwistle anecdotage
2.1 Bubalo, Chamber works (review) [22 June 2002]
1.5 Symbiosis, Lee and Schuller; David Hobson, Handel Arias
1.4 Quota: Andrew Clements on ROH, Aki Nawaz on racism in music
1.3 Eclectic Guitars
1.2 Birtwisle, Refrains and choruses (review)
1.1 Journeying to the heart of planet sound: a personal odyssey (SB,) [20 June 2002]


Allan Holdsworth, Secrets, Intima Records 7-73328-2 (1998)

For some reason the word 'unfathomable' always comes to mind as soon as I hear or think of Allan Holdsworth. Without question one of the most extraordinary guitarists of his generation, the richness, complexity and suppleness of his harmonic language - allied to flawless technique and exceptional fleetness of finger - makes him the envy of almost anyone who has tried to press the frets for the purposes of shaping sound. Yet as Martin Taylor (himself no mean jazz guitar master) has pointed out, all this would be of no consequence were it not for the sheer musicality of his playing.

On occasions the Yorkshire maestro has perhaps done himself less than justice with his choice of material and with the over-busyness of his equally prodigious accompanists. On Secrets, however, the balance feels just right. Based on the trio of Holdsworth (guitar and synthaxe), Jimmy Johnson (bass) and Vinnie Colaiuta (drums), the album also features sterling percussive contributions from ex-Zappaista Chad Wackerman, together with Steve Hunt and Alan Pasqua (keys) and Bob Wackerman (bass).

Recorded in California, the album contains five Holdsworth compositions (two in association with singer Rowanne Marks), one by Wackerman and two by Hunt. At just over 37 minutes of music the CD may look chronologically thin by today's standards, but the material is exceptionally rich and well honed. There are more ideas (and, let's face it, notes) here than many musicians will achieve in a lifetime, let alone an album.

The most controversial aspect of Secrets is the use of synthaxe on four of the pieces. A cumbersome piece of technology that allows a guitarist to access all kinds of key shift and midi effects from a fret board, this strange instrument with its awkward control panel went out of fashion almost sooner than it entered the market. Few managed to exploit its potential before economics took its toll. Holdsworth, needless to say, is an exception. On the title track, and also on 'Spokes', 'Endomorph' and (unadvertised in the liner notes) Hunt's 'Maid Marion', he builds dense and evocative layers of sound. This works especially well when combined with the voices of Marks and Craig Copeland ('Secrets' and 'Endomorph'). On these tracks, especially, there is a haunting emotion that is sometimes missing from the clinical surface of Holdsworth's playing.

"When I hear criticism for choosing the synthaxe as my instrument", says Holdsworth, "it makes me feel as though those people aren't relating to the music or the notes, they're only relating to something physical. They're hearing with their eyes." Listening to Secrets it is hard not to agree with him.

My personal favourite on this album is probably 'Peril Premonition', an extraordinary spreading-root of a track elaborated with sometimes breathtaking pace from some initial ideas by Wackerman. Gary Husband's fusion classic 'City Lights' also receives a dashing workout, and Steve Hunt adds genuine melodic depth with his 'Joshua'. (Listen out for a couple of soap opera additions to the aural curiosity shop after 'Lights' and before 'Peril', by the way.)

Holdsworth is known more for harmonic density than hummable tunes. But this hardly matters when you are being swept away by the subtle instrumental interplay of '54 Duncan Terrace' - amidst which, in any case, you suddenly realise that there are some extraordinarily strong tunes. Pasqua's beautiful acoustic piano particularly emphasises that. After a bubbling, dancing opening 'Spokes', meanwhile, hints further in the direction of major chord power trio-ing than anything else on the album apart from the explicit 'Joshua'. The material is never less than demanding and unexpected however.

This is music that ultimately defies categorisation. If you have to put it somewhere 'jazz rock' is evidently the place, but that wearisome label hardly prepares you for the surprise of first entering Allan Holdsworth's sound world. With its restless, shifting textures, nervy rhythmic base and filigree lead lines it ebbs and flows in evolving slabs of musical intensity. And Secrets is probably as good an entry point as any. Definitely on my 'desert island' list, this is only fractionally ahead of Hard Hat Area in the justice it does to a fine and unusual musician. Between the two we are spoiled for choice.

Monday, July 08, 2002


A complete Subject Index; Current Playlist; Women on the verge of musical nirvana; extemporary out-rock, Barry Mills, Ravel classics, Colin Matthews, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Schnittke, Shout, Piano Circus, The Guest Stars, and more...


Composer Earle Brown died on 2 July 2002. I came across him through a John Cage tribute album, Chance Operation. Very much worth listening to is his piano music, Twenty-Five Pages, performed by Steffen Schleiermacher, ‘Synergy’, ‘Four Systems’ and the chamber works. This is from the Morton Feldman newslist:

"I think in colours. I think in masses and colors and planes. I don't start to write a piece of music with a twelve tone row or something like that, or even coming up with a melody and then trying to figure out what to do next. I start with a total concept. And then I try to fulfil what my imagination has already given me inside. Mozart said that he visualized a piece of music
almost instantly. I do that and it takes me a long time to get it down on paper. I change it and change it and sometimes I can't even get it on paper. I've experienced that over and over. But once I start thinking about a new piece, I get a pretty clear picture of what I'm going to do. And then I go into the details."
(in conversation with Petr Kotik)


"The music business is a cruel and shallow trench. A long plastic hallway where pimps and thieves run free and good men die like dogs. There is also a negative side." Master of understatement Hunter S. Thompson proves once more that it's only rock and roll, and they hate it really.


Until 16 July AM there's an opportunity to win a *free* copy of the new DG recording (and Boulez's reworking) of the classic Pli Selon Pli. All you have to do is visit the French culture website in the US and humble yourself to write a ten-line paeon to French culture. Worth a go maybe. Serial killers get such a bad press, but I still can't resist the odd mind game with Boulez. I first heard an earlier version of Pli in London's Roundhouse, years ago. The Labeque sisters were also playing - I remember not what. This on the recording itself:

Pierre Boulez Conducts Pli selon Pli
Deutsche Grammophon, CD 471 344-2

Pierre Boulez recently won a Grammy award for his recording of music by French composer Edgar Varèse (DG 471137). He has won an impressive total of 23 Grammy awards since 1967, and is certainly among the most influential contemporary musicians, both as a composer and as a conductor.

Pli selon Pli, originally written over the late '50s/early '60s, is an hommage to French poet Stéphane Mallarmé. This composition for soprano and large orchestra is structured over five different and tense movements that demonstrate Boulez's new freedom and simplicity of style, alternating a frequently ornate vocal line with dense instrumental textures.

For this recording, Boulez has revised the score. "I have completely rewritten "Don" since the last recording, back 30 years ago, and I have rewritten completely the third improvisation on Mallarmé. So there are two novelties in this recording."

As is typical for Boulez recordings, the Maestro performed the work thoroughly in concert before entering the studio for its documentation. According to the UK's Sunday Times (September 6, 1998), the new version of Pli selon Pli "has the intensity and strangeness of a Japanese ritual. [...] The three-ply scoring and prismatic structure fascinate continuously."


Gabriel Faure, Requiem, Paris Conservatoire Orchestra, Brasseur Choir / Andre Clutens, w. Victoria de los Angeles, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (soloists). Label: Great Recordings of the Century CDM5668942

The burgeoning popularity of Faure's Requiem has made it fashionable in some music circles to be slightly superior about it. Revisiting this classic recording (which was first re-issued by EMI in 1989, having been available as a budget LP for over 30 years) reminds me why that is a wholly misplaced reaction. Victoria de los Angeles and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau bring real depth to their solos. The Paris Conservatoire under Cluytens dwells on the luscious instrumental textures at the surface of the work, but there is loss and longing in there too. Faure's Requiem sits on the cusp of religiosity and agnosticism. This classic performance captures its sheer warmth and humanity. No doubt there are better technical recordings - in at least two places there are badly engineered fades that presumably go back to the original master tapes. But if you want the emotion and feeling of this twentieth century classic, here is a fine place to start.

Sunday, July 07, 2002


In a world of corporate airwave schmaltz, innovative radio deserves widespead support. Here's a challenging playlist option from down under, brought to you by the wonders of online technology.

Sunday Evenings 9-11pm. Public Radio RTR FM (92.1)
Perth, Western Australia

Contemporary classical, experimental, electronic,
industrial, ambient, noise, etc.

Presenters: Bryce Moore and Sarah Combes.

Public radio RTR FM is now broadcasting over the internet, 24 hours a day. Follow the Real Audio link from the Difficult Listening page, shown in the .sig below. If you want to catch Difficult Listening in particular, it goes to air at 1.00pm Sunday GMT, 9.00am US Eastern Time, and 6.00am US Pacific time.
Presenter: Sarah Combes

Mic Check (3' 0")
Keigo Oyamada
CD: The Wire Tapper (cover mount CD, April 1998) (The Wire Magazine: )
Wire online

David Hykes
Rainbow Voice (7' 55")
Harmonic Choir/ David Hykes
CD: Hearing Solar Winds (Ocora: C.558607)

Tape Dada (1980) (5' 53")
Masami Akita
CD: Merzbow Merzbox Sampler (Extreme)

Shinjuku Filth
Detox (4' 12")
CD: Junk (Peril 305)

Edgard Varese
Poeme Electronique (7' 54")
Edgard Varese, electronics
CD: Electro Acoustic Music: Classics (Neuma: 450-74)

Darrin Verhagen
The spores of death (2' 52")
CD: Shinjuku Thief: The Witch Haven (Dorobo: 017)

John Zorn
Forbidden Fruit (1987) (10' 20")
Kronos Quartet; Christian Marclay, turntables; Ohta Hiromi, voice
CD: Winter Was Hard (Elektra Nonesuch: 979 181-2)

Hellraiser (6' 12")
CD: Gold is the Metal with the Broadest Shoulders (World Serpent:

Skinny Puppy
Brak Talk (5' 00")
CD: Worlock (Nettwerk: W2-3071)

Sighs (5' 10")
Witch (3' 07")
CD: Susperia Motion Picture Soundtrack (Cinevox Records: CD-MDF 305)
These playlists are stored cumulatively (for the last three months) at the website listed below. Contact me if you want to receive them by email. If you have some music that you think I might be interested in broadcasting, on tape, CD or vinyl, don't hesitate to
get in touch.

(c) Bryce and Sarah.
Westnet online
PO Box 2237
Kardinya WA 6163


Actually several of you have been kind enough to do so. And here is my response...

Have you considered a career in music? Few professional writers in the business can match your ecumenical knowledge and especially appreciation.

When I worked in current affairs journalism for a number of years I stupidly missed the opportunity to build an additional portfolio of arts reviews, which would have given me a leg-up. Yup, I've thought of it several times. But in spite of the allegedly postmodern cultural Zeitgeist, musical eclecticism has limited commercial outlets. I had a few stabs at 'The Wire' a few years back, but my stuff is not nearly outre enough for them. I have of course long subscribed to Duke Ellington's famous observation that there are no such things as good and bad categories of music, just good and bad music. And I revel in the sheer variety that's available these days. Naturally you have to wade through sludge to get there, especially in less formal genres (where creativity isn't subjected to academy-based quality control). But life is hugely enriched by the search. Also, some of the music I love is hardly fashionable, even if it's 'modern'. It would be nice to earn a crust sharing my opinions... but I already manage to do that (just about) in one sphere: it would perhaps be a bit greedy to attempt it in two! Still, you never know. I'm always open to offers...


The collection of Handel Arias I mentioned some time back has been reviewed intelligently at the excellent Music Web site, which is well worth visiting. It is now part of Classical Link - equally excellent, though occasionally a little slow to load for those with more febrile browsers. The classical editor is Rob Barnett and the manager of Music Web is Len Mullenger, who is a goodly fellow judging by the sporting way he dealt with a couple of technical criticisms (including one from me) on recently. Go there today...


Talking of good people, I have recently been impressed by the very helpful service of Geoff Wallis at London Record Finder. He has a good selection in rock, jazz, dance etc. He recently let me have two quite rare albums by The Guest Stars (review to follow shortly) at a snip of a price and is clearly worthy of business support. We all know how easy it is to find inflated prices and bad service. If you're fed up with such things, give Geoff a go. The web site is well organised, and you can email wants lists to him at: He also has an ebay site - just search for londonrecordfinder (one word).