RZB-DRK : “Toujours aimé ce disque, qui se bonifie avec le temps. L’un des meilleurs de l’underground niçois. Un album à tirage limité qui mériterait désormais une édition vinyle. Tout à fait dans le style de ces prod’s lo-fi que défend David Keenan via Volcanic Tongue.”
In the early 1970’s, Sydney had a group at the forefront of musical experimentation with a unique take on free improvisation.
The discovery of a box of lost tapes hidden away in a garage for over four decades has led to the first ever release of substantial recordings from Teletopa – Tokyo 1972.
Teletopa was founded in Sydney in 1970 by the late David Ahern with Peter Evans and Roger Frampton.
Tokyo 1972 - The Triple LP or Double CD release - features two 50min improvisations from a radio session at NHK studios Tokyo.
In 1968 the young Sydney composer David Ahern studied in Germany with Stockhausen where he met Cornelius Cardew. The next year he travelled onto London attending Cardew’s classes in ‘Experimental Music’ at Morley College and – in a mammoth seven-hour concert at the Roundhouse on 4 May – participated (with Cardew) in performances of La Monte Young’s String Trio and also took part in the realisation of Paragraph 2 of Cardew’s The Great Learning which proved to be the catalyst for the formation of the Scratch Orchestra. These were revolutionary and defining moments in C20th music.
Liner notes for the release include a manifesto by Ahern from a 1971 pamphlet, and a newly penned Potted History of Teletopa by Geoffrey Barnard, who had been a member of the group from September 1971 until July 1972.
“It’s a great recording, sound wise and artistically,” Jim Denley told Resonate Magazine. “It will, I hope, put Teletopa where it should be: as the most important development in 1970s Australian serious music.”
This document is not just important for Australian music – it should establish them posthumously as one of the most interesting developments in experimental music anywhere in the world at this time.
Bobby “Blue” Band: “Deep in My Soul” (The Soul of the Man, 1966)
I looked up from work and childrearing for a minute a few days ago and saw that Bobby “Blue” Bland had passed away at age 83.
Bland was one hell of a singer; he had both grit and fluency in his voice, and even when he was a young guy, breaking out from his days kicking around Memphis’ Beale Street scene with BB King and Junior Parker to tour the Chitlin’ Circuit, he had a gravity in his delivery that made him sound much, much older.
That gravity is audible on “Deep in My Soul.” The first time you listen to it, you may not even notice that it’s a happy song. Bland has finally found someone he loves and who loves him equally. He’s ecstatic. But the song carries the weight of all the turmoil and loss that came before; the undercurrent that runs through it is that all the happiness is tempered with dread that it could all end one day.
Bland never went to school. He was illiterate, but worked hard to carve out a place for himself in the world, leaving us a lot of great music in the process. He was still performing and recording int eh final years of his life.
The Velvet Underground: “Rock And Roll” (Loaded, 1970)
When I told my wife Lou Reed had died yesterday, we had this moment where I’m pretty sure we were both thinking the same thing: “That’s crazy. Lou Reed can’t die.”
That’s not a joke about him surviving his lifestyle in the 70s. It’s more the sense that Reed is so much a part of what the world looks and sounds like today that it’s hard to imagine all of it without him. He had a public image unlike anyone else—the dude was so cool that everything he did looked like a pose, but it was actually just him being himself.
Reed was never comfortable just being agreeable—he’d push back at interviewers and critics and pretty much never gave a stock answer or said what you figured he’d say. He could seem ornery for the sake of it, he intentionally made one of the most unlistenable albums ever produced, and he could be maddeningly inconsistent from project to project, but the underlying humanity of his work was never far from the surface.
I think that’s why “Rock & Roll” is my favorite Lou Reed song, with VU or otherwise. His songwriting was illuminating, and hell, it’s probably the only exposure a lot of people have had to drug culture, drag culture, and the thought processes behind modern art. This song ties all of that together without bothering to get into the details.
"Her life was saved by rock and roll" is essentially autobiography—music was the thing that lifted Reed out of a life that included being forced into shock therapy to "cure" his bisexuality and put him in the driver’s seat. In some ways, the song seems light, almost a lark, but I think that everything else Reed ever wrote about is embedded within it. With VU, Reed was one of the people who did the most to stretch the definition of rock and roll, and I think that all the drugs and lives he wrote about were facets of his own definition of rock and roll. All of it was rock and roll. All of it was what saved him.
The girl in the song hears the music, and her life is saved. Reed claimed that rock and roll was his god, so salvation here can assume a sort of literal meaning if you want to read it that way, but I think there’s room in this song for anything, from a particular type of music to movies to painting to hiking to whatever else might be the thing that gives your life direction and meaning, to be your rock and roll, the thing that saves you.