Being an multi-part wander through the Vinyl Connection year in music
On-line consumerism is a trap, isn’t it?
I seem to succumb to the siren call of internet shopping in the late evenings. But is there more to the pattern than time of day? Is it more frequent, perhaps, at the end of a long and trying workday were the childlike desire for a treat lures me towards ‘buy now, regret later’ investments? Those records will rot your ears, you know that, don’t you?
Or maybe it’s the sneak in me, diving into the dark web of vinyl addiction when the house is quiet and no-one can witness—and confirm—your shame. Protestations of normality are hollow.
Sometimes I know I order records because there has been no chance to get to a shop and some artist or title has been on my mind. Plug that hole, tick that box.
Nonsuch had a great offer on their back catalogue, so I bought every one of their records I thought I’d enjoy. Somewhat to my surprise, it was the Emmylou Harris Wrecking Ball re-issue that brought the most pleasure; a ‘deluxe’ version worthy of the name. A wisp behind Emmylou were Brian Eno and David Byrne with the expanded My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts, originally released in 1981 and still a compelling and disturbing listen.
Returning to plugging holes in the collection, a project is a fine excuse for buying.
Having marshalled my 1967 albums into their own little spreadsheet, I proceeded to compare the VC holding with month-by-month releases from that magic music-year half a century ago. Shock! Horror! I did not have either Donovan LP! Quick Robin, to the bat-computer!
When Larry Coryell died in mid-February, fans of jazz-rock fusion had no idea the Grim Reaper would cut a swathe through the ranks of fusion guitarists throughout the year. Larry led the charge to the afterlife and in a calculating piece of journalistic opportunism, I wrote about two 1967 albums he appeared on with vibist Gary Burton.
John Abercrombie died in August. The album featured was the timeless Timeless.
In between (April), Allan Holdsworth also pegged out. Somehow I did not make the time to honour this outstandingly diverse guitarist.
Nucleus, Tempest, Gong, UK, Soft Machine, Jean-Luc Ponty, Bill Bruford. Holdsworth was the worst kept secret in music, but never really recognised by the broader public.
Talking of guitarists, February saw the arrival of the first 2017 release at Vinyl Connection headquarters.
It was the new album by French experimentalist Richard Pinhas, Reverse.
Still pursuing his explorations of where music and noise intersect (or perhaps overlap), Pinhas’ new work is beautiful and disquieting in equal measure. For fans (like me) it was manipulated magic, but those wishing to explore the musician some have called the Gallic Robert Fripp should perhaps start elsewhere; I’d suggest Allez Teia (Heldon, 1974) or Stand By ( Heldon, 1979).
Took an expensive punt on the self-titled This Heat LP but it didn’t grab me. That happens; sometimes your ears are just not receiving the signal and willing it does not make it so.