Posts Tagged ‘Peter Gabriel’

BOULEBLOG 100! WE CELEBRATE THE MILESTONE BY GIVING UP!

November 22, 2019

The seventh studio album from Peter Gabriel, UP, deals with the delightful topics of birth, life and death.

You are reading the 100th blog post at BouleBlog. Thank you for your support. In celebration of this milestone, I want to present this Friday Flashback-style review of an album that meant a great deal to me when it came out as I am somewhat the death hag. So when an artist like Peter Gabriel comes out with an album aimed at the topic of death, named UP, I am all on board.

But when I played the album (over and over, I might add), I began to have some subversive thoughts enter my mind. Why, I was making music all wrong! The arrangements, the sonics, the patches and voices of the synthesizers, the processing of the drums, my methods were all outmoded.

Leave it to the guy in Genesis who bailed out right as the band hit their artistic peak to show me how it’s done…

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OFF THE RECORD: FRIPP/SYLVIAN CAUGHT LIVE, BUT WITHOUT DAMAGE!

July 3, 2018

This is what you want if you want to hear some alternate versions of Sylvian/Fripp songs from the live CD ‘Damage’.

Robert Fripp and David Sylvian collaborated in the 2000’s to bring us two albums, The First Day, and the follow-up live disc Damage. Those are the two commercial releases that the combo put out. However, we have our hands on an off-market release called “Live From Massey Hall” from our supplier of all things off-market, Live Gig Recordings (look for their link later on in this review).

The history between Fripp and Sylvian initially didn’t progress as Fripp would have liked. At that point Fripp had asked Sylvian to join another (double-trio, six person) version of King Crimson (it appears as though he’d been seeking to usurp Adrian Belew from his long-standing role as lead vocalist and front person for King Crimson for a long time, only having done so within the past couple of years, filling his shoes is Jakko Jaoidsgfilsuxghfp). Sylvian already had a reputation as his own artist and felt he would only be able to collaborate so far under the Crimso moniker. So they settled for a remarkable collaboration that resulted in one of the most catchy prog songs ever recorded (“Jean The Birdman”, with a close second to “God’s Monkey”). We’ll delve into those songs when we get there.

First, I have something to say about the removal of Adrian Belew from King Crimson. Belew claims to be good with it, Fripp claims his status is the honorary 9th member of the new, eight member, three drummer configuration of King Crimson, as Tony Levin was during the Trey Gunn years in the early 2000’s. Belew is not idle by any means. His power trio just played the Irridium in NYC , and he is part of the David Bowie tribute act that is casually touring the world. I do see Fripp’s point about Belew as the front person. The fact is, he was too cheery, too happy in demeanor for the usually dower music that is/was King Crimson.

Returning to this project, the album’s cover photo for The First Day shows Sylvian AND Fripp having ridiculous, laughing smiles on their faces. No issue, they had a positive working relationship. Fripp has one with Brian Eno too, I don’t see them touring No Pussyfooting, or Evening Star, or Equatorial Stars, or Cotswald Gnomes, or…

A rare sight for the period. Robert Fripp laughing in a photograph.

Sylvian remains a solo artist. A fascinating one at that. Someone I hope to get more familiar with in terms of his work, straight away! Fripp is lumbering about with King Crimson. Two guitarists, a bassist/stick player, a keyboardist, a wind player, and three drummers. The samples I have heard from one of their many live performances sounded stiff, uniform and stilted.

I still contend Fripp is losing the plot…

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CONVERGENCE ALERT! ADRIAN BELEW JOINS WITH POLICE DRUMMER STEWART COPELAND AND LEVEL 42 BASSIST MARK KING TO FORM THE SUPERGROUP OF ALL TIME, GIZMODROME!!

May 26, 2018

What happens when a goofball drummer joins a funkoslap bass player, a happy-go-lucky noisemaker guitarist, and a virtuoso keyboardist? Gizmodrome! Photo courtesy Gizmodrome and the internet.

You hear me going on about convergence all the time. This artist I like works with that artist I like. Convergence. Laurie Anderson and Peter Gabriel, the artist who will no longer be named in this column and The Residents, Robert Fripp and Daryl Hall, Talking Heads and Eno, Eno and Devo, Fripp and Bowie, Bowie and the guitarist who is a member in this most unusual band we are about to review, Adrian Belew and if you want circular closure, Adrian Belew and Laurie Anderson.

Slap bassist extraordinaire Mark King has had his unique sound in every household guaranteed. If someone can honestly tell me they haven’t heard the song “Something About You” before, they are either VERY old (and I’m 55, so I know old) or live under a rock. King is one of those ‘taught-myself-how-to-make-a-living-at-this-thing’, type of players. Sophisticated playing with an innovative knack. I could go on about his co-collaborators outside Level 42, but this will be long enough.

The one member I know little about it Vittorio Cosma. He is the host of the band, in Italy. Italy is key to this band’s story as Copeland used the Italian backdrop to lure Belew to compliment the existing band Gizmo. King had opened for The Police back in the day, so Copeland recruited him and with those additions, the band Gizmodrome was born!

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BOULEBLOG OPENS A NEW PATHWAY TO ALTERNATIVE REVIEWS WITH OFF THE RECORD; THIS TIME, THE VAPORS LIVE AT THE GUILDFORD CIVIC HALL

March 9, 2018

The cover of this illusive release. Photo courtesy LiveGigRecordings

This is a thrilling new opportunity for us here at BouleBlog. With the creation of this new category, Off The Record, we can bring you reviews of unique recordings not found at Amazon or your local record store. In essence, yes, these are what the population may call bootlegs. But during the listening process I will determine if the recording is WORTH reviewing and if not, you will be alerted that what was promoted through my Facebook equivalent to this blog, BouleBlog the group: (https://www.facebook.com/groups/bouleblog/) is, in fact NOT worth reviewing. I find it tiring to just type over and over “The audio is unintelligible due to a poor live mix”. I usually post photos of the upcoming acts there, to give a tip-off to those who know about the Facebook group and are members. If you’re on Facebook, request membership to the group and I will approve it unless you are a bot.

However, I can guarantee the recordings I review the first few times will be quality as the source (to be revealed later) has proven to be a reliable one for board recordings (again, for the uninitiated, board recordings are made from a recording that went straight from the concert’s mixing console directly into a recording device) so the next few of these Off The Record reviews will be quality.

We begin this feature with a band who left a distinct mark on the zeitgeist with their breakout single “Turning Japanese”. The pity behind this band is they had such important deep cuts on both their albums New Clear Days and the moving Magnets. The title track for Magnets was a powerful ballad-turned-anthem that details an assassination, even right down to the exit line of one of the later choruses ‘Kennedy’s children are magnets…’.

Then there was the effervescent “Waiting For The Weekend”, a song every working person can relate to. They even give a nod in the direction the United States is taking with the song “Civic Hall”, about being harassed by bobbies (on this side of the pond, we call them cops, pigs, fascists, Nazis, bacon, donut munchers, fat-bags, militant douchebags, oh how I’d love to go on) outside the local civic hall (ironic that this live show was recorded at the Guildford Civic Hall, hometown of the Vapors and most likely the location for the story in the song).

I am not going to go into part-by-part analysis of this performance. I will highlight spots within the songs, maybe even do some (much feared) interpretation of the songs like those examples above. The point of these reviews is to cue the readers to music they may never have known existed before.

It’s not like you can advertise unauthorized recordings too loudly even though most of the major labels no longer have the teeth to fight over royalties, copyright, ownership. Thanks to the spanking Robert Fripp and Sid Smith gave the record label(s) over the illegal distribution of King Crimson downloads.

All the major labels are welcome to sue me if they feel I have violated their copyright reserve. They can have 50% of my bankruptcy.

Now let’s do up our shag mullet haircuts and get out our Gibson SGs  and our Rickenbacker bass and jam out to some Vapors!

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THE TUBES LOVE BOMB LEAVES A TIMELESS, LASTING MARK ON MUSIC PRODUCTION

January 12, 2018

The Todd Rundgren produced Love Bomb by the San Francisco band The Tubes. Photo courtesy Capitol Records.

We are reviving a feature on BouleBlog, the Friday Flashback. This gives us a unique opportunity to take a look at albums that were released in the distant past, but still have musical, technological or even social impact on the music horizon, some that even last years later.

This entry is not of any social consequence, but it has technological brilliance unequaled even today. For its time in 1985, it was leaps and bounds beyond anything that came out in that time period. Before things get too convoluted, perhaps some background will put things into perspective.

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BY THE SEA, BY THE SEA, TRANSCENDENCE WAS TO BE! POPTONE BRING TECHNO-GOTH-SHRED TO THE LAND MARK AT LAND’S END!

August 4, 2017

The good people of Asbury Park had NO idea what to expect when POPTONE rolled into town! Photo by Lynn Vala

It was an unusually strange weekend. Coke-fueled mostly. I do remember worshipping at the porcelain alter. I mean we’re talking projectile vomiting of epic proportions. A few smokes settled me down enough to realize that I would be coming down just in time for POPTONE to play at the Stone Pony, THE Stone Pony, in scenic Asbury Park, NJ. The Atlantic ocean just over a sand bar separating the pay area of the beach, and across one street. The point being as we stood on line, we could see the ocean. Can’t say it’s the best beach concert experience I’ve had, Utopia did one at the Pier in Atlantic City. The sea washed ashore under the seats!

Imagine a lovely day strolling down the boardwalk only to hear POPTONE sound checking and warming up for the Stone Pony show across the street. Photo by Lynn Vala

You gotta admit, that’s pretty fucking cool…

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THE MASS EXODUS I HAD FEARED SINCE CHILDHOOD IS HERE NOW!

April 4, 2016

Sorry folks, no photos of album covers or artists performing live in this blog. In fact, we are embracing the here and now, with a morose eye towards the future. I never thought I would be posting something like this, but in the light of recent events (read: the massive amount of influential musicians who are passing away at a pace none of us can keep up with), I really had no choice. This was a necessity above and beyond my ordinary macabre nature.

For me, I think it started with the death of Alan Myers, the original drummer for Devo. It was a severe blow when a short time later, his bandmate and co-founder of Devo, Robert Casale also (and most definitely unexpectedly) passed away.

Then the onslaught began.

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THIRD TIME IS TRULY A CHARM FOR ALAN PARSONS I ROBOT

October 9, 2013
The revised cover for the newest version of The Alan Parsons Project, released earlier this year.  Bonus tracks, in-depth booklet and sanitized sound make this version the definitive for those yet to be initiated into the Parsons pack!

The revised cover for the newest version of The Alan Parsons Project, released earlier this year. Bonus tracks, in-depth booklet and sanitized sound make this version the definitive for those yet to be initiated into the Parsons pack!

My story begins many years ago, 1977 to be exact.  One of my early relaxation techniques was to enjoy some classical music, played at low volume, audible enough to induce calm, not loud enough to encumber sleep, at bedtime.

One night during my second year living in Scranton, my usual FM refuge, the local classical station made the industry standard decision of changing format to MOR Rock.  MOR standing for Middle Of the Road as in, they’ll play your average hit, something by Led Zepplin, ELO (who I love), Bruce Springsteen, but at the same time, play an entire album from time-to-time, some prog stuff, the average, Yes, Rush, Pink Floyd (often) and if they went deep with acts like Genesis or King Crimson, it would be “Lamb Lies Down” or “Follow You, Follow Me” from the former (one for the Gabriel era, one for the Collins era), or ONLY selections from In The Court Of The Crimson King from the latter.

I happened to tune in for my nightly fix of musical sedation on one particular night and I heard a 70’s Macho-Manned-Deep-Voiced DJ bring a song from break and announcing that the new 107 was fast-approaching a new feature for their new format, their weekly album show featuring an entire album with only commercial breaks at the flip of side one to two (yes kids, we used to have to get up after a set number of songs and turn this big wax/vinyl disc over and reset it for the last batch of tunes).  I wasn’t sure of what to make of it, where is my usual monotone, refined, and in his own way, sedate radio personality who announces my FM version of Valium?

Testosterone Tom, my new night-time DJ at bedtime was saying the upcoming album was by Alan Parsons who engineered Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon, was being featured with his second album (the first with enough mainstream success to garner being considered a weekly album feature) I Robot and yes, it is of the same concept as Asimov’s epic, classic novel I, Robot.  Notice the only change between the two titles is the removal of the comma after the “I” in the title.  This came about to the thinking of the late Eric Woolfson who, after a phone conversation with Asimov himself, came to the mindset that to circumvent the legal issue, the comma would be sufficient change enough to warrant an individual copyright.

They start to play the album while I am still trying to figure out where my symphonies went.

“Holy shit this music is amazing”, I thought to myself.  Sequencing synths cascading between individual headphones (closed ear, of course) ushering in dissonant organ tones, giving way to elegant soprano female solo vocal ad-lib.  I was hooked.  I sat through the entire album transfixed.

This memorization led to the purchase of one of Arista’s first acts signed to the fledgling label.  On one of those plastic discs.

The sound of the vinyl on my Krebstar (thanks Pete & Pete) HiFi was about the same as the FM broadcast, sans a few pops and clicks…  So I was elated to get my copy of the primary issue of I Robot on CD.  Then thirty years later an anniversary edition came out in 2007 with five bonus tracks, an unreleased track experiment that turned out to be the intro to the ‘rock’ structure of “I Robot”, three demos and a mash-up of examples or demos of each song into one, continuous song.

Well earlier this year, they came out with a thirty-fifth year anniversary version that has fourteen bonus tracks contained on a second CD, and an expanded booklet with new liner notes written by Parsons.  The above factoids about the album came from those liner notes.  These are worth the price of the disc alone.

Granted, some of the bonus tracks on the thirtieth anniversary edition are the same as on the thirty-fifth anniversary edition.  Those aforementioned five tracks, then some goodies we will discuss later on in the review.

Let me just say, if you need a reason to justify purchasing this new re-issue beyond new liner notes, (that is, for those of you who are not rabid Parsons fans) and nine new bonus features, in side-by-side comparisons in my usual review setting, the mastering on the new release was out of this world!!!  Then when you listen to the album tracks, astonishingly enough, they are cleaner than the thirtieth anniversary version!!!

The saying goes, ‘So clean you could eat off it’ but in this case, it is ‘So clean you can perform surgery on these tracks’.

Prepare the patient…

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JON ANDERSON AND RICK WAKEMAN AT THE SHERMAN THEATER, STROUDSBURG, 11-05-11. COME FOR THE MUSIC, STAY FOR THE COMEDY!

August 16, 2013
Jon Anderson (right) and Rick Wakeman (left) share the stage at the Sherman Theater, share some Yes songs, and share some laughs.  Photo by Lynn Vala

Jon Anderson (right) and Rick Wakeman (left) share the stage at the Sherman Theater, share some Yes songs, and share some laughs. Photo by Lynn Vala

FRIDAY FLASHBACK:  Seeing as Jon Anderson has taken his music to the sea with the recent launch of a prog cruise, BouleBlog felt this would make a good Friday Flashback.  Yes, this tour is long over, but, if you are fortunate enough, you can get tickets to see Anderson headline on the cruise.  Meanwhile, check out a show Anderson and Wakeman played just beyond my backyard in the Poconos.  Keep your eyes open for some hysterical lines from both of them!  Enjoy!

This blog has exposed me to a lot of new music.  It has also brought me close to many artists, opened many musical doors for me, and I learn something new every time I write something.  This review is unique in that while I was fortunate enough to work with the promoter for Jon Anderson, and his subsequent projects, I got to experience what many say is the heart and soul of progressive rock mainstays YES, Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman live playing songs from the YES catalog that we all know and love, but also songs from Anderson/Wakeman’s new album The Living Tree.  While this is a review of the live act, I will make a quickie commentary on the album The Living Tree: I am going to get the disc based on the performances I saw at the Sherman Theater.

The Sherman Theater is an old venue in the heart of Stroudsburg, which is undergoing a touch of a renaissance lately.  The Sherman, I would say is undergoing it’s own renaissance, with some new elements and some signs of age.  Will call got our order confused, but such associations with promoters, press agents, etc., usually leads to snafu situations.  Unless person A talks directly to person B, and when I get there I talk to person B, then the situation usually devolves to Situation Normal, All Fouled Up.

While I most likely will recognize the YES tunes, the new pieces from The Living Tree and if Anderson does anything from his new disc Open, I may need help naming them.  Thanks to a cooperative soundman and an equally cooperative stage manager named Neil (if memory serves, no chance of that happening), we managed to take pictures of Jon’s personal set lists.

Ask and you shall receive…

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REMEMBERING TERRORIST ACTS? BURNING QURANS? FORGET ALL THAT AND HOP ON THE ALAN PARSONS HIT PARADE!

April 12, 2013
Alan Parsons Live Project.  Parsons (center) brings a crack squad of musicians to Lehigh University.  Photo by Lynn Vala

Alan Parsons Live Project. Parsons (center) brings a crack squad of musicians to Lehigh University. Photo by Lynn Vala


AUTHOR’S NOTE:  Another entry in our fabulous Friday Flashback series that revisits the posts that originally appeared on the syndication site  that became BouleBlog.  This time, we are setting up for the next new review which is the 2003 TX2 Records release of Alan Parsons Live!  Before we go there, why not take a few minutes and enjoy words and pictures about the September 11, 2010 appearance of the Alan Parsons Live Project at Lehigh University’s Zoellner Arts Center in the Baker Hall.  It was a magical night that took place in my back yard at the time.  I hope you enjoy this journey through revisionism…

Bethlehem PA – The man, the myth, the legend, Alan Parsons playing his ONLY east coast appearance (to date) fifteen minutes from my back door.  A dream come true, right?

As Sarah Palin might say, you betcha!  But I had no idea just how much of a dream come true it would be.

I am not going into Parson’s history, save to say you have heard his work.  You may not have heard his voice, or his playing unless you have purchased his recent rerelease remastered series of most of his catalog.  You HAVE heard his work BEHIND the recording console.  Need further proof?

Read on and be amazed…

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