Today I walked out into a strong warm wind which wafted across my face with the breath of summer. The chill was gone, it was just a welcome breeze that blew the damp cobwebs of winter away. I read that there would be a breeze from the east and that reminded me of a conversation I had with Olivia and Dare the other day. I would be interested to know how many people know where north, south, east and west actually are? I don’t have a clue and don’t feel like I need to know. But it seems important to some. I always thought it was amusing whenever you meet someone in New York, they say things like, I’ll meet you on the north east corner! Ha ha and then they say well it’s a simple grid. Obviously if you are going up Manhattan, that’s probably north and down is probably south, but only because I’ve seen Manhattan on a map. My point is that, I never think about where the sun rises or what direction I’m heading. My father used to have a compass in his car and I think Olivia’s Dad does, too. Is it a science knowledge thing, geographical location awareness? I guess not everyone hears when the acoustic is rushing against the drums.
Tonight Olivia and I were supposed to be playing in Montreal and then spending a month in Canada, travelling around and finding shows whilst exploring the country. Toronto was also booked and cancelled. The problem for us is that we have to book so far in advance and that means no shows for the rest of the year and who knows when we can play next year. So it’s going to be studio projects and Dare, Olivia and I will be doing as much of that as we can throughout the summer until we can travel again. I’m waiting for the masses to arrive in sunny Cornwall for the summer. It’s been so quiet here, but I imagine that all those people that have been trapped in the cities can’t wait to escape to a place like this as soon as they can. Then what happens? We’ll see. I hear the shops are opening from June 1st. I hear the schools are reopening and then I hear the scientists say it’s too soon. We live in the dark these days and it will be even darker if there is a massive depression with the virus lingering. Sweden’s numbers seem to be increasing as others decrease, where will it end?
It seems like it’s Morris Traveller day today. On the way into the studio there was one driving around the corner and later another one was parked by Archie Browns, the health food store. I guess this is the one I’ve already seen, but this time the owner was there. He told me it was 1959 (the reg is 178 VMM). We discussed the smell. He said it might be the damp carpets but more likely the leather seats and that smell is part of the charm. How could such a cheap car have leather seats? Ah, I know, it’s the evolve to rubbish syndrome. There was a time when there was a certain standard and even the cheap cars were well made and had sturdy fittings. Nowadays, the cars, the buildings, the music systems, are built to lose and there’s a long list of examples. Even the IKEA shelves that I have in the archive have become of a lesser quality. The part where they connect to the struts of the shelf used to be metal, now it’s plastic. Is the idea simply that profit is everything as long as you can stay vicariously on the right side of the line of what is acceptable? It’s like lies, they didn’t use to be acceptable, now it’s normal, now it’s foolish to tell the truth.
Sessions today with Ahad in Istanbul and Brian in Florida. Sessions everyday for the next five days, New Orleans, Wappingers Falls near Woodstock, Minneapolis, Brooklyn, New Jersey, Atlanta, Sydney. It would be such a delight to travel to all these places even though I’ve been to all of them before except one, Istanbul (actually Woodstock many times but not Wappingers Falls exactly). I’m sure Wappingers Falls is lovely and one day we will visit sessioneer Doug and enjoy the place, but – Istanbul, wow, can you imagine? I have an old friend, Lesley, that I went grape picking with in Perpignan in the south of France in the seventies, she married a Turk, moved there and speaks the language. Plus knowing Ahad and his wife I’d love to visit, knowing the locals and having a translator. The history, the buildings, the atmosphere of the place. It was the old Byzantium Empire for over 200 years from 657 BC till 1453 and primarily Greek speaking. It became the capital of the Roman Empire in 330. The Crusaders sacked the city in the 12th century and it was conquered by The Ottoman Empire in the mid 14th century but it held onto its name Constantinople till 1930 when the Turkish Republic was born with the capital moving to Ankara. It’s a huge incredible, ancient city, in 1970 the population was just over 2 million, now it’s nearly 15 million.
Music today has been mostly Mandrill, a Soul/Funk band from Brooklyn that nobody seems to remember. I’m missing a couple of their albums but I have the first two, self-titled (1971) and Mandrill Is (1972). Then there’s a gap of two albums in my collection, Composite Truth and Just Out Of Town, released in 1973 before we get to the great double album Mandrilland released in 1974. I’m missing Solid (1975). They are somehow Soul, somehow Funk and somehow Progressive all rolled into one. Their later albums Beast From The East (1974) and We Are One (1978) touch a little more on Disco vibes and are less progressive in their thinking, but still have the warm groovy vibe. There are three more albums into the eighties, but I lose them completely after that. I need to scour the shops to find the missing albums as it’s a band I really like.
Last night before I slept I listened to a German band from 1972 called Frame which emerged after being buried under that unsorted pile of records that appeared on the couch last night. Where do these albums come from? They never seem to end. This from Prog Archives:
“Frame is a very little known (unfortunately!) German band which recorded one but highly enjoyable art rock/heavy prog gem called “Frame of Mind” in golden year of ambitious music – 1972. When you hear “German music from the 70s” you probably immediately think about some crazy psychedelic Krautrock but it’s not the case here at all. Frame played a very British style of early prog a la Cressida, Still Life, Beggar’s Opera, Quatermass, Rare Bird, Spring, or Aardvark but with slightly heavier arrangements due to a more aggressive guitar presence. However just like their British fellows, Hammond organ is a main attraction on “Frame of Mind”. In general if you like such English-sounding German groups like Birth Control, Frumpy, 2066 & Then, Virus, Amos Key or Tyburn Tall, you’ll love Frame!”
What are Turkish record shops like? I don’t have many Turkish records apart from the Psychedelic/Turkish hybrid album, Electric Türk by Erkin Koray. My copy is a compilation of his early seventies groundbreaking material and was a very limited release from Stefan Kéry’s Xotic Mind label in Sweden in 1995. He was the first man in Turkey to use the electric guitar and incorporate contemporary sounds and mix Turkish music with Psychedelia. You gotta have it, it’s Fuzztastic and you have just been introduced to Anatolian Rock.
One last album for the night is something much more traditional from Turkey. The lady on the cover is Ozel Turkbas, a singer and dancer as she is described in the short sleeve notes. The title, Keyif In Istanbul, translates to Pleasure In Istanbul, I’m sure there was a lot of that when this album was recorded. The odd thing about it is that Ozel doesn’t actually appear on this album, a compilation? I can’t seem to find a year of release or recording, but I imagine it’s late fifties or early sixties. It’s all worth it for the crazy instrumentation and rhythms and the mad singing, especially by the women.
Song Of The Day is My Museum as my friend Lynley told me I officially have a museum of music…yes I do…now to the funding. The song is from the first Noctorum album, Spark’s Lane, from 2003.
My museum of cobwebs and dust
Frozen statues cold to the touch
Trace of perfume hangs in the air
But I can’t see you, there’s nobody there
Heavy curtains, billowing lace
In the shadows I still see your face
Red Persian carpets, Arabian bells
Ring in my ears like the sirens of hell
You are a luxury, a poison, a drug
And I don’t know how to unplug
To rise or to fall
Dark mocking portraits
Stare out from the wall
In the silence
I’m deafened by noise
I have no choice
I have no choice
Winding hallways, mirrors and lights
Blinding beauty, all your delights
Circuses spinning around in my head
There’s blood in the fairground
The sky has turned red
You’re a minx, you’re an angel
You’re ice, you’re the sun
You seem to have me undone
(Willson-Piper / Mason)
Noctorum – Sparks Lane (2003)