album list
Hampshire Jam
I Killed the Monster
Lynne Me Your Ears
Music That Changes the World
Night Time Music
Omaggio al Maestro Ennio Morricone
Past, Present, Future

Hampshire Jam

'Hampshire Jam Preserved'

Hampshire Jam Preserved  (2002,  136.22)  ***½/T½

Under the Dome:
  Hell (excerpt)
  Solar Gravity

Free System Projekt:
  Phone Home
  Slow Bong

Radio Massacre International:
  Let Me Hear You Say Yeah

  Roxette Lost in Liphook

  Red Symmetry Machine

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

The Hampshire Jam is a roughly annual EM festival, held in the village of Liphook, on the Hampshire/West Sussex border. Why Liphook? Why not? I presume it has a suitable venue (it does: the Millennium Hall) and is convenient for the organisers. See: Lydney (Summer's End), Whitchurch (Whitchurch Festival) etc. 2002's double-disc Hampshire Jam Preserved features parts of five act's sets from the previous year, including Planet Mellotron (semi-) regulars Free System Projekt, AirSculpture and Radio Massacre International. Interestingly, though, Under the Dome's exceptionally powerful and melodic Solar Gravity just might be the lengthy set's highlight, over the better-known names here. Of the other four outfits, Free System Projekt provide a decent enough piece, Headshock are largely forgettable (sorry, guys), r.m.i. utilise guitar, bass and drums, sometimes all at once and AirSculpture provide the set's obligatory album-length track.

r.m.i. are the only band to use real Mellotron, with various flute and string parts on Pipe and the amusingly-titled Let Me Hear You Say Yeah, while Roxette Lost In Liphook is a brief space-rock jam, with no room for Mellotrons. Free System Projekt also use samples on their Siren. Do you buy this for its Mellotron use? No, not really. Do you buy it for the 'Berlin School' performances? If you just can't get enough burbling sequencers and the like, this is easily as good as any average single-artist EM album I could name, with the bonus of more artistic variety.

See: Free System Projekt | Radio Massacre International | AirSculpture

Harbour of Joy: Camel Tribute  see: Samples etc.

I Killed the Monster

'I Killed the Monster: 21 Artists Performing the Songs of Daniel Johnston'

I Killed the Monster: 21 Artists Performing the Songs of Daniel Johnston  (2006,  71.03)  ***/T½

Dot Allison:
  Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Your

Daniel Smith & Sufjan Stevens:
  Worried Shoes

Joy Zipper:
  Held the Hand
  Bloody Rainbow
R. Stevie Moore:
  Cathy Cline
Kimya Dawson:
  Follow That Dream
  Honey I Sure Miss You
Jad Fair & Kramer:
  True Love Will Find You in the End
Rope, Inc:
  Tears Stupid Tears
The Electric Ghosts:
  Blue Skies Will Haunt You From Now on

Chris Harford:
  Going Down
Mad Francis:
Jeffrey Lewis:
  The Adventures of God as a Young Boy
Major Matt Mason USA:
  Mind Contorted
Toby Goodshank:
The Dick Panthers:
  Go Fast and Go Some More
The Sutcliffe's:
  Foxy Girl
  Cosmic Kid
Emily Zuzik:
  Love Wheel
Mike Watt:
  Walking the Cow
  It's Over

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

2006's I Killed the Monster: 21 Artists Performing the Songs of Daniel Johnston, curated by his first real champion, Kramer, is pretty much what it says: twenty-one of Johnston's haunted, childlike compositions tackled by the good and the great, or, it would seem in most cases here, the relatively unknown. Better-known contributing names, aside from Kramer himself, include Dot Allison, the ubiquitous Sufjan Stevens, Joy Zipper and Minutemen/fIREHOSE (sic) alumni Mike Watt, but I'm afraid I know little about most of these artists. The material's pretty much what you'd expect if you've heard any of Johnston's work, Allison's opening Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Your Grievances being possibly the best thing here.

Our old pal Kramer plays Mellotron for four of the artists featured here, with nothing obvious on Dot Allison's contribution, faint flutes (and background choirs?) on Daniel Smith and Sufjan Stevens' Worried Shoes, muted choirs on Rope, Inc's Tears Stupid Tears, flutes and choirs again on The Electric Ghosts' Blue Skies Will Haunt You From Now On and uncredited strings on Tess' closing It's Over, the most overt use on the whole set. If you have any interest in Daniel Johnston's work, this is an essential adjunct to his extensive discography, although those into a more orthodox form of mainstream rawk'n'rawl may be less impressed. Not that much Mellotron either, to be honest, all things considered, but a decent enough collection.

See: Daniel Johnston | Kramer | Dot Allison | Joy Zipper

If I Could Write Poetry  see: Samples etc.

Indelible Grace  see: Samples etc.

Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project: Axels & Sockets  see: Samples etc.

The Late Great Daniel Johnston  see: Samples etc.

Leader of the Starry Skies  see: Samples etc.

Looking Into You: A Tribute to Jackson Browne  see: Samples etc.

Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes  see: Samples etc.

The Lotus Eaters  see: Samples etc.

Lounge-a-Palooza  see: Samples etc.

Lynne Me Your Ears

'Lynne Me Your Ears: A Tribute To The Music of Jeff Lynne'

Lynne Me Your Ears: A Tribute To The Music of Jeff Lynne  (2004,  133.23)  ***/T

Mitch Easter:
  10538 Overture

Earl Slick:
  Ma Ma Ma Belle
Jeffery Foskett:
  Telephone Line
Jason Falkner:
  Do Ya

Ben Lee:
  Sweet is the Night
Pat Buchanan:
Michael Carpenter:
  Every Little Thing
Peter Holsapple:
  No Time
Richard Barone:
Jamie Hoover:
  Handle With Care
Mark Helm:
  Strange Magic
Ross Rice:
  Evil Woman
Carl Wayne:
  Steppin' Out
  Don't Bring Me Down
Prairie Sons & Daughters:
  One Summer Dream
Doug Powell:
  Can't Get it Out of My Head
The Shazam:
Tony Visconti (with Kristeen Young
  & Richard Barone):
  Mr. Blue Sky
The Heavy Blinkers:
  You Took My Breath Away
The Balls of France:
  Message From the Country
  The Minister
Neilson Hubbard & Venus Hum:
Bill Lloyd:
  When Time Stood Still
Sparkle Jets UK:
  Above The Clouds
Walter Clevenger & the Dairy Kings:
  Rock and Roll is King
  Morning Sunshine
Rick Altizer:
  Boy Blue
  Living Thing
Sixpence None the Richer:
  On the Run
Todd Rundgren:
  Bluebird is Dead
Roger Klug:
  Turn to Stone
Fleming & John:

Current availability:

Chamberlin/Mellotrons used:

I suppose ELO are an obvious case for tributing, due to their massive late '70s popularity and influence, although I'm not sure if that makes 2004's appallingly-punning Lynne Me Your Ears: A Tribute To The Music of Jeff Lynne any more listenable. In fairness, it's not purely an ELO tribute, anything Lynne was involved with being fair game, including The Move and the dadrock of The Traveling Wilburys, although the bulk of its content is light, electrical and orchestral. Several of the artists involved twist the malleable material to suit their own style (Ross Rice, Tony Visconti, Todd Rundgren), highlights including Peter Holsapple's weird-folk take on No Time and Prairie Prince's Prairie Sons & Daughters' bonkers One Summer Dream. Probably unsurprisingly, quite a few power-popsters turn up (Mitch Easter, Jason Falkner, Jeremy), generally offering up fairly straight takes on the material, albeit usually less cheesy than the originals (you can tell I'm not a fan, can't you?). Other Planet Mellotronsters here include Richard Barone and the insipid Sixpence None the Richer, plus a couple of others waiting in the wings.

Several musicians are credited with various tape-replay devices, with Tony Visconti, Doug Powell and Scott Baggett (misspelled Bagget here) on Mellotron and Mitch Easter on Chamberlin, although going by his other recent 'Mellotron' credits, I think we have to take anything involving Tony Visconti and Mellotrons with a largish bucket of salt. Anyway, Easter adds occasional Chamby strings to the real cellos on his set opener, 10538 Overture and someone plays flutes on Jason Falkner's propulsive Do Ya. However, the 'Mellotron' choirs on Tony Visconti, Kristeen Young and Richard Barone's Mr. Blue Sky are quite clearly sampled and not very well at that (good version, though) and since Doug Powell's already had an album stuck in Samples etc., I'd imagine the flutes on Can't Get It Out Of My Head are, too, especially as they don't even sound much like a Mellotron, to which we can add the string chords on Michael Carpenter's Every Little Thing and flutes and choirs on The Balls of France's version of The Move's Message From The Country

All in all, then, another tribute album that Lynne/ELO fans will probably want, while the rest of us yawn and start fidgeting. A few surprise efforts, a few really good tracks that transcend the gloopy material and a whole load of clones. Pretty much as you'd expect, then. Not much tape-replay, either, so not really worth it on that front.

See: ELO | Richard Barone | Doug Powell | Shazam | Sixpence None the Richer | Todd Rundgren

Miniatures 2  see: Samples etc.

Music That Changes the World

'Music That Changes the World'

Music That Changes the World  (2012,  144.08)  **½/½

Peter Gabriel:
Arrested Development:
  Let it Go
Slightly Stoopid feat. Don Carlos:
  Wiseman (live)
Iggy Pop:
  Milk Cow Blues
Phil Soussan:
  Shot in the Dark
Rodrigo y Gabriela:
  Satori (live)
Band From T.V.:
  I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to Be Free
  The Poison Tree
Ben Lee:
  Food for the Moon
Alanis Morissette:
Heather Nova:
  Double Up (live)
Amanda Palmer:
  In My Mind
Nancy Sinatra:
  End of the World (remix)
Tom Waits:
  Briar & the Rose (live)
Au Revoir Simone:
  Boys of Summer
Special Beat with Pauline Black:
  Night Club (live)
Maroon 5:
  The Air I Breathe
Pink, Jaffee with Daryl Hannah:
  Won't You Stay
  All I Need Tonight
The Waterboys:
  In the Beginning Was Love
Carmen Rizzo feat. Grant-Lee Phillips:
  Bring the Mountain Down
The Charlatans:
  The Only One I Know (remix)
Andy Summers with Geeta Novotny:
  Ave Maria
The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger:
Dave Stewart:
  Man to Man
Ben Folds:
  Wild Mountain Thyme
Mary Hopkin:
  Gold and Silver
Peter & Gordon:
  True Love Ways (live)
Patricia Kaas:
  Addict Aux Heroines
Neon Trees:
  Animal (remix)
Salman Ahmad feat. Valerie Geffner:
  Nachoon GI

Current availability:

Chamberlin used:

Music That Changes the World was released by the David Lynch Foundation to raise money for disadvantaged youths and others in need. Very worthy, but the bulk of its contents are pretty hard-going for those who prefer music outside the mainstream. Oh, hang on, it's not aimed at us, is it? What's more, I have tried, in vain, to ascertain what Lynch's remit was for the set's contents. Anything spare the artist might have lying around? Live tracks, studio tracks, originals, covers, rock, pop, folk, soul, reggae, electronica, dance... The compilers have almost gone out of their way to throw together thirty-odd tracks with absolutely no connection with each other, possibly in the hope that fans of ALL of them will buy it for a (presumably) exclusive track. Ah... Exclusivity? Possibly the connection.

The two hours-plus have their moments: Amanda Palmer's In My Mind, Tom Waits' live take of Briar & The Rose and Ben Folds' traditional Wild Mountain Thyme are all decent enough. At the 'oddball' end of the spectrum, Andy Summers' bizarre picked-electric-with operatic-vocal version of Ave Maria is, um, unique, while Phil Soussan's Shot In The Dark sounds like a hair-metal pastiche, until you realise it's an Ozzy Osbourne cover, from his cheeso period. Thought I recognised it. Although two tracks have Mellotron credits, neither Rami Jaffee on Pink's Won't You Stay or Delahaye on The Waterboys' In The Beginning Was Love seem to be using actual machines. However, someone plays what sounds like genuine tape-replay (Chamberlin?) on Sean Lennon's The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger's Formica, with chordal flutes and choppy, real-sounding strings. Lennon himself? Anyway, such a mixed bag that it's impossible to recommend it to any but fanatics who have to have every release by their idols. Or, of course, those who wish to donate to Lynch's foundation, making them rather more honourable than me, listening to the album online.

See: The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger

Night Time Music

'Night Time Music: The BT Puppy Story'

Night Time Music: The BT Puppy Story  (2004, recorded 1966-68,  48.09)  **½/TT

Sundae Train:
  Love Affair of Two Happy People
  Sing Sweet Barbara

We Ugly Dogs:
  First Spring Rain
Sundae Train:
  I Wanna Be

Margo, Margo, Medress & Siegel:
  Mister Snail
Sundae Train:
  Wake Up (Sleepy Girl)
Canterbury Music Festival:
  Poor Man
Amanda Ambrose:
  Amanda's Man
Rock Garden:
  Sweet Pajamas
Randy & the Rainbows:
  Oh to Get Away
Steeple People:
  Green Plant
  Oh Kathy

Bob Miranda:
  Girl on a Swing
Majic Ship:
  Night Time Music

The Tokens:
  I Could Be
Beverly Warren:
  So Glad
Randy & the Rainbows:
  I'll Be Seeing You
Rock Garden:
  Perhaps the Joy of Giving
Lollipop Tree:

Current availability:

Chamberlin used:

The B.T. Puppy label was owned by The Tokens, 2004's Night Time Music: The BT Puppy Story collecting together a run of 45s issued by them between 1966 and '68. Most of the material's in that awkward pre-psych mode, neither one thing nor the other, although I'm well aware that the style has its fans. The best things here are probably the acts (assuming any of them were proper bands, not just studio creations) that veer nearest to psych, Sundae Train and Majic Ship, although I can't honestly say there's anything too exciting to be found on the disc.

Unknown studio musicians added Chamberlin to (surprise, surprise) the Sundae Train and Majic Ship tracks, with flutes on the former's Love Affair Of Two Happy People and I Wanna Be, plus strings on Sing Sweet Barbara (although the flutes on Wake Up (Sleepy Girl) sound real) and cellos, flutes and strings on Magic Ship's Night Time Music. So; one for 'sunshine pop' and early US psych/pop fans, though I'm not sure there's much here for the rest of us, a handful of Chamby tracks notwithstanding.

See: The Tokens

Omaggio al Maestro Ennio Morricone

'Omaggio al Maestro Ennio Morricone'

Omaggio al Maestro Ennio Morricone  (2017,  61.48)  ****/T


  The Thing
Orgasmo Sonore vs. Sospetto:
  Stress Infinito
  La Lucertola
  Sentenza di Morte
Orgasmo Sonore:
  Matto, Caldo... Girotondo
Luigi Porto feat. Fromwood:
  Strana Bambina
  Die Ballade von Präfekt Mori
  Inseguimento No. 2 & 3

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

The concept for Omaggio al Maestro Ennio Morricone developed from several ideas being thrown around Alex Wank's Vienna-based Cineploit label, the contributing artists even being asked for their thoughts on the topic. The end result is, I have to say, a triumph of the tribute album genre, all nine contributing artists (including a couple of collaborations) tackling their chosen Morricone piece (from the obscure to the household name) with aplomb. Highlights? Well, it's all good, frankly, but standouts include Orgasmo Sonore vs. Sospetto's Adonai (Il Giardino delle Delizie), Matt "Rashomon" Thompson's Stress Infinito (Spasmo), David Johansson's (hi, David) La Lucertola (Una Lucertola Con la Pelle di Donna) and Alain Leonard and Alex's epic, thirteen-minute Revolver (from the Ollie Reed-starring '73 copsploitation flick of the same name). So, is it all synth-led instrumental stuff, then? Not entirely, oddball entrants including Luigi Porto's Strana Bambina (La Piovra), which uses dialogue samples and Thelema's Die Ballade Von Präfekt Mori (Il Prefetto di Ferro), which features vocals (surely that isn't you, Hans Jürgen?).

I try not to review my own work here, but, for simplicity's sake, I'll relax the rule for a single compilation track. Zoltan's Pazuzu (from the apparently deservedly-reviled Exorcist 2) sees us relax another rule, Matt playing electric guitar on the propulsive track, while Matt and myself shared the Mellotron duties, replacing the original's deranged children's choir with Mellotron ones (me), plus Matt's string line. And yes, the tinkly synth (Jupiter-8) was played (by me), as against sequenced, albeit in manageable chunks. And yes, it was difficult to both work out and play. Any samples? Yup, Sweden's Oscillotron use choirs and strings on La Lucertola.

Do you buy this? I'm unashamedly biased, but if you have any interest whatsoever in either giallo soundtracks or Morricone, or, for that matter, synth music, you really can't go wrong here. Alex is running one of the world's many, many shoestring labels and deserves your patronage. Buy.

See: Zoltan

One Step Up/Two Steps Back  see: Samples etc.

Il Paese è Reale  see: Samples etc.

Past, Present, Future

'Past, Present, Future'

Past, Present, Future  (1990,  85.58)  ****½/T½

Happy the Man:
  Leave That Kitten Alone, Armone
Yezda Urfa:
  The Basis Of Dubenglazy (While Dirk Does the Dance)
  Cumulo Nimbus
    Part I - The Approaching Storm
    Part II - In the Mist
    Part III - Among the Clouds
Djam Karet:
  Swamp of Dreams
  Edge of the Sky
  Shroomer Consumer

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Although now seemingly largely forgotten, Syn-phonic's Past, Present, Future compilation was instrumental in helping to kickstart the '90s resurgence in progressive rock, distinctly different from the '80s resurgence in its two-pronged attack: new releases, sometimes even by genuinely good bands and CD issues of lost classics from around the world, making many titles available internationally for the first time. The double album covers these bases admirably, disc one consisting of unheard masters from (mostly) little-known US bands from the '70s (Happy the Man being the exception, having released two albums on a major), while disc two features then-unavailable tracks by current bands signed to the label, although Kalaban's Sleepless turned up (in the same version?) on their last album, 1993's Resistance is Useless and Episode's Edge Of The Sky similarly appeared on their lone CD release, 1993's Starlight Tales.

It's a sad fact (OK, OK, opinion) that the '70s material outweighs the late '80s, Lift's fabulous Perspectives (now available on their Moments of Hearing archive disc) and Netherworld's three-part Cumulo Nimbus (now available on the expanded version of their In the Following Half-Light) being particular highlights, although, in truth, there's nothing here that isn't worth hearing for the dedicated proghead, Kalaban's Sleepless being an unexpected gem. Upon researching the matter, it would seem that a good five of the set's eight tracks are now available elsewhere, although, as mentioned above, some could be in re-recorded form.

Mellotronically speaking, Lift's track seems to be 'Tron-free, although Yezda Urfa's, surprisingly, has choir, church organ and strings all over it, given that there isn't a jot to be heard on either of their albums, while Netherworld's Cumulo Nimbus features choirs all over its last part, Among The Clouds. To my knowledge, this is still available from Syn-phonic (presumably, the original pressing never sold out), although I can't see it ever being reissued on CD for several reasons, including copyright and expense, as it would have to be a double.

See: Lift | Netherworld | Djam Karet

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