Art: Barbara Hatch
Tony Coulter here, with another audio-visualization exercise for you. I want you to close your eyes, concentrate, and focus hard on imagining what the music of Daniel Malempré and the music of Tom Recchion might sound like.
Now, open your eyes, stretch, and click below to find out if you were right.
Let start with the Belgian guitarist Daniel Malempré, who's been recording music since the early '70s, both solo and as a member of and recurring guest in various interrelated groups, including Subject, Bene Gesserit, and Human Flesh. In the early '70s, Malempré independently developed a layered, echoey approach very similar to the German Kosmische Musik sound associated with bands like Ash Ra Tempel and Popul Vuh. Indeed, Malempré believes that Ash Ra Tempel guitarist Manuel Göttsching essentially lifted his style wholesale after hearing a demo tape Malempré sent to the label Göttsching was working for. (I am, of course, not really in a position to say if this is true or not, or if the striking similarity is just coincidental.) In any case, Malempré's music is uniquely his own, whatever similarities in approach might exist; for one thing, it strikes me as more intense and emotional than most Kosmische Musik -- even, perhaps, as a bit anguished.
Malempré, sad to say, didn't find any takers for his recordings during the '70s, but, using the nom-de-recording M.A.L., he began releasing cassettes on fine underground labels like Insane Music and Grafika Airlines during the 1980s. He also frequently collaborated with fellow Belgian Alain Neffe, owner of Insane Music and core member of Human Flesh, Pseudo Code, and Bene Gesserit, among others.
In 2002 the fabulous EE Tapes label at long last released some of Malempré's early '70s recordings as The Song of the Stars; five years later, EE Tapes put out Eighties, a compilation drawing on Malempré's cassette-only releases from that decade. Finally, in 2010 Malempré self-released Sounds and Images from Some Non-Existing Worlds, a set of recent home recordings that he announced would be his last-ever album. Hopefully, he'll change his mind!
Unfortunately, Sounds and Images and the two EE Tapes collections are all extremely limited releases, though all are, I believe, still available. Below, you'll find some tracks from all three; if you like 'em, you'd best not tarry.
M.A.L.: The Song of the Stars (EE Tapes, 2002) CD-R
M.A.L.: Eighties (EE Tapes, 2007) CD-R
M.A.L.: Sounds and Images from Some Non-Existing Worlds (no label, 2010) CD-R
Let's turn next to Tom Recchion, a key member of the Los Angeles Free Music Society scene, and perhaps the all-time heavyweight champ when it comes to loop-based audio collages. One of my very favorite Recchion releases is the CD Chaotica, which features hypnotic, humorous, and often just plain gorgeous pieces built out of tape loops, records, cassettes, and keyboards. Though released in 1996, Chaotica draws from a set of recordings from 1985--1986, most of which originally appeared on a cassette called Solos, which was barely released at the time. Through great good luck, I ended up with a dub of that cassette years ago, back in the '80s, and I am very happy now to be able to bring you the four cuts from Solos that remain unreleased (as far as I know!). Recchion himself doesn't currently have a copy of the cassette on hand, and has given me his blessings.
As an added bonus, I've also thrown in selections from a rare 1982 Recchion cassette called Freak Show, which has yet to be reissued, though it has been blogged elsewhere. This features two distinct types of tracks: textural drone pieces performed on various odds and ends, including a homemade instrument called the strungaphone, and "rock songs" on which Recchion -- disguised as the fake group "Friends of Leslie" -- sings and plays all parts. I've given you three of the latter below. You can hear a slightly more compressed-sounding version of the entire tape, uploaded as two side-long tracks, by taking yourself here.
Tom Recchion: Solos (1986) demo cassette
Tom Recchion: Freak Show (Pinakotheca, 1982) cassette
Time now for some pictures -- not just record jackets, but comic book covers too.
Various Artists: Showcase of Stars, Vol. II (Guest Star Records, 196?) LP
Art: E. Banon
Paul Paray/ Detroit Symphony Orchestra: Richard Wagner: Music from The Flying Dutchman, Parsifal, Tristan, Siegfried (Mercury, 1956) LP
Wimmen's Comix #4 (Last Gasp, 1974) [back cover]
Art: Sharon Rudahl
Melinda Gebbie: Fresca Zizis (Last Gasp, 1977) [back cover]
Art: Melinda Gebbie
Howard Roberts Quartet: Something's Cookin' (Capitol Records, 1965) LP
Various Artists: Original Hit Performances / All-Time Country & Western, Volume 2 (Decca Records, 1961) LP
Jean Cook & Alex Campbell: Let's Sing While We Work and Play (Vocalion, 196?) LP
Alan Hewitt: I Wish I Were (The Children's Record Guild, 195?) 10"
That's it for this go-round; see you next time!
Art: M. Evath