COMPACT COLLECTING

It’s not all vinyl! vinyl! vinyl! here at Vinyl Connection^. Half a lifetime of collecting Compact Discs has resulted in a well entrenched habit, meaning a steady trickle of the little silver coasters has entered VC Headquarter over the past twelve months. Here is a selection.

King Crimson - Absent Lovers Live Montreal

King Crimson — Absent Lovers, Montreal 1984 [DGM 2007]

Arising directly from Bill Bruford’s entertaining and thoughtful autobiography (Jawbone Press, 2009) was the purchase of Absent Lovers, Montreal 1984, a double CD recorded live at the end of the 1981—1984 version of King Crimson. It’s a corker, drawing material from the trio of early 80s albums, Discipline (1981), Beat (1982) and Three of a Perfect Pair (1984). More direct and song-focussed than the mid-70s albums, there is nevertheless instrumental playing of startling virtuosity and power, not least from Mr Bruford. Highly recommended for KC fans and drummers.

King Crimson Absent Lovers CDs

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Dick Hyman - Moon Gas 1963

Dick Hyman — Moon Gas / The Electric Eclectics [Omni Recording Corporation, 2015]

Not long after I posted 10 SPACEY ALBUM COVERS I was browsing in a highbrow music shop in downtown Melbourne when I came across a famous 1963 ‘space-age jazz’ album by Dick Hyman (titter ye not; he scored many Woody Allen films and was responsible for the mightily successful soundtrack to The Sting, as well as being a jazz pianist and composer). To my delight, the re-issue also contained the entire electronic album, MOOG: The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman from 1969. Although very different, both albums are terrifically entertaining; one beautifully delivered cocktail jazz vocals (Mary Mayo), the other experimental (yet accessible) electronics.

Dick Hyman - Moog Electric eclectics

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Amorphous Androgynous - Wizards of Oz

The Wizards Of Oz—A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble (Exploding In Your Mind)—Compiled & Mixed by The Amorphous Androgynous [Warner Music 2015]

When I first read about a lavish three album vinyl set claiming to be an “Antipodean Cosmic Space Music Odyssey from 1966 to the Present” I was excited. Rather predictably entitled The Wizards of Oz, this extravaganza of psychedelic wonderfulness was “Compiled and Mixed by The Amorphous Androgynous”. That gave me pause for thought. I dragged out a similar compilation the duo had done for MOJO: The Music Magazine a couple of years back and gave it another listen. The tracks were interesting and diverse, but I remained unconvinced by The AA, not being quite able to extinguish the idea they were a pair of clever posers rather than true carriers of the space/psych flame. So finding the 2CD set of The Wizards of Oz for $15AU—about sixty bucks cheaper than the vinyl—provided a much less expensive way to test the theory. Like the MOJO comp, the tracks/artists were varied and generally interesting but their re-mixes and messing about with the music left me unmoved. There are Aussie compilations (and albums) fans of this style should seek out, but this isn’t one of them.

Wizards of Oz psychedelic CD

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Buffalo Springfield Box Set 4CD

Buffalo Springfield Box Set [Rhino/Warner, 2001]

I’ve never really given Buffalo Springfield the time they deserve as one of the seminal sixties bands. The outfit included Neil Young, Stephen Stills and Richie Furay, wrote their own varied material over an intense two-year period, then broke up acrimoniously. Though less well-known than The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield deserve their place in US/Canadian rock history and this 4CD boxed set does the job.

The booklet is well written and includes some fascinating information, such as a complete gig list from April 1966 until the end of the Beach Boys tour in May 1968. The first two albums are present in their entirety and there are a host of bonus cuts. Good value if you come across it at the right price.

Buffalo Springfield Box

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Nyman / Greenaway Soundtrack Box Set

The Nyman / Greenaway Soundtracks [VRL, 1989]

Do you remember the early years of CD box sets? They designed big 12” boxes that held four compact discs but slotted in neatly with your vinyl records. Bloody annoying really, but possibly less so than the mid-sized boxes and folding pamphlet jobbies that followed. Anyway, on a whim I bought this 4CD collection of Michael Nyman’s music for Peter Greenaway’s films.

Now Mr Greenaway makes very strange films and Mr Nyman is a very serious composer/academic, so there are not many chuckles in this set. But it’s rather nice, don’t you think? And very enjoyable if you can get into minimalist-driven, classically influenced, Phillip Glass-styled orchestral compositions.

Michael Nyman - Greenaway Soundtracks CD Box

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Space Rock: An Interstellar traveler's guide

VARIOUS ARTISTS—Space Rock: An Interstellar Traveler’s Guide [Cleopatra Records, 2016]

This recent release ticks all the wrong boxes: CD not vinyl, yet another compilation, probably too much of a good thing, odd-shaped package impossible to file… yet Space Rock: An Interstellar Traveler’s Guide is my CD of the year. It was a tricky decision whether to spring for a 6 disc collection where I have a goodly smattering of the material already (well, the artists, if not the particular track). But I did and it is good. Very good. Even with albums I own (Can, Faust, Ozric Tentacles, Brainticket, for example), when a piece is heard in a different context, ears are newly tingled.

Space Rock - booklet

As for the new material, of course I don’t love all of it, but there is plenty to intrigue and even excite. Øresund Space Collective, Secret Saucer, Melting Euphoria… The music surges and soars, pounds and pulsates, whispers and whooshes. Wonderful! When you add in a detailed, well written booklet littered with lovely retro art work, you’ve got yourself an outstanding package. Highly recommended for those who truly believe that space is deep.

Space Rock 6CD box set 2016

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^  Not all vinyl, sure, but about 80% of new acquisitions and half-and-half overall.

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33 comments

  1. MOOG: The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman Is one of my favorite kitschy electronic albums made at the dawn of Moog’s reign. So many great tracks, I like the fun ones best – – must have for any collector! Will check out some of these other selections. In the case of the mighty Crim, I like seeing rather than only listening that lineup playing live via the great films made of the Beat and TOAPP tours.. thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now, Douglas, would you be so kind as to tell us where we might find further information about those live King Crimson films? And, for that matter, other music films of interest? *

      * Warm invitation for some book promotion? 😉

      Like

      1. And I’m proud to say that I just received Doug’s book in the mail only two days ago! It awaits my full attention hopefully this coming week, but after a few stolen glances at it in the last 48 hours, I can tell that it’s great. The pictures in it are outstanding, and Doug’s introduction made me realize just how much we prog-rock lovers have in common. Get the book! – Marty

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Some interesting additions there, Bruce. Naturally, it’s the Buffalo Springfield box that I’m familiar with… and despite owning the first two albums, I would definitely be tempted by the extras on there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They found a tasty selection of extras for this one, James, so yes, I can see the attraction even holding the albums. They way folk are shedding their CDs, you might well be able to pick up the box for a good price!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. One of the benefits of this whole ‘vinyl revolution’, I guess. Was actually thinking I should check out the Secondhand CDs more… so many albums + so little time x limited funds = well, y’know. Grab what you can when you can, I guess!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Worth keeping an eye on Op Shops (Thrift, Charity, whatever your locale calls ’em). Last week (just in time for your FB post) I got Neil Young ‘Greendale’ – the double with the DVD of the live performance – for $2AUS. Canna argue with that!

          Liked by 1 person

        2. You cannae argue with that at all! I think that qualifies as a steal!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember getting the Springfield box around the release time. It’s one of the better boxes of a minor/major band. I still listen to it pretty regularly as the quality of the songwriting in that band was so astounding. Dick Hyman requires a titter and Australian music has always been a mystery to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hope you enjoyed the recognition and the tittering, Neil (smile). Aussie music is a diverse field and conforms to the standard curve of quality as does every other jurisdiction. I should write more about Aus albums that deserve to be better known. A NY resolution, perhaps?

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  4. Hey, the shiny silver discs! I hear they’ll be making a comeback soon… Love Absent Lovers, it’s one of my very favourite KC albums. Brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a great live album, isn’t it?

      I guess everything comes round again if you wait long enough. Oh, except Betamax.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I like when a book will lead us directly to the record, or in this case with the KC set, compact disc store!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Or on-line store (that siren of late night impulse buying).

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  6. Boo! Boo! Down with this sort of thing!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Indubitably

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Insults aside, I do think that Space Rock set would be right up your cosmic alley. Much of it is quite new.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. A nice assortment, Bruce. At first glance I thought Amorphous Androgynous was Dr. Lonnie Smith! I’m a huge CSNY and singular collector, but I’ve never gotten the Buffalo Springfield box. I’ll need to pick it up, stat. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The BS box is all you need, really.
      Glad you enjoyed the Quality Assortment, Marty.

      Like

  8. Ahh Buffalo Springfield. Summer of 1967 (I guess) – a 3-inch spool of tape played on a miniature (for then) tape player each morning for a month or so after David and I returned from doing the the post-Christmas newspaper deliveries. Papers so thin and so many people away for the holidays that we did 15 rounds between us. A small fortune squandered on anything that took our fancy.
    A nice selection Bruce.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great story DD. And happy post-Christmas to you to, old chap. 🙂

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  9. Always have preferred post-Christmas to the day that gives it it’s name. So Happy post-Christmas to you and yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sorry…Spell-check slipped in an apostrophe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Covert sponsorship from ‘Apostrophes’ ‘r’ us’, in all likelihood.

      Like

  11. Totally with you on the KC and Bruford, and have made a mental note to check out the Hyman/Moog album soon too. Long overdue.

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  12. Convinced me to pull out that KC live set again. So much livelier and fuller than the rather stale studio recordings. Though they’ve released 70-some live albums in their career I’ll always consider Absent Lovers to be a high watermark…though that reminds me, you hear their most recent live set yet? (Radical Action…) Cuz that one is tops as well. Between those two and The Great Deceiver…who needs the studio albums?

    Love the artwork for that Space Rock set – may have to pick that one up!!

    Like

  13. Just catching up on things after the holiday period …

    Cocktail jazz isn’t really my thing but that Moon Gas album is … different. I’ve never heard a sultry jazz singer with weird electronic backing before. Cool!

    I liked Michael Nyman’s Greenaway soundtrack album, too. If you’d said he also did the music for The Piano I’d have gone straight to it. That was a stunning film and the soundtrack was so atmospheric.

    Now listening to Space Rock. That’s nearly 8 hours of listening time! I can’t fit that into my busy schedule just now but the first few tracks are definitely tickling my fancy. Nice one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, it does take quite a while to get anywhere in space, doesn’t it? The good news is that it’s always out there, somewhere…

      Glad you enjoyed the post. Hope the new year is being kind (so far).

      Like

  14. I’m back on the KC train for awhile (And everything related). CB’s not a drummer but Bill’s style grabs me. Some cool pick ups for your pile.

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    1. Bruford is simply the best, isn’t he. Have you read his memoir? Quite dense, but very interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m pretty selective on the music bios/memoirs. I’m sure Bill’s would be quality stuff and he’s one person I would be interested in. On the list. Thanks. While I’m here Bruce, your posts on KC, Yes, Manzanera etc have prompted me to revisit this stuff. I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying it. One of the first things I noticed and remembered was Bill’s drumming. It even sounds better today.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s fantastic, CB.

          Liked by 1 person

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