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Robert Scott: Tascam Hits (Powertool Records)

Robert Scott: Tascam Hits (Powertool Records)

These low-fi home recordings by Scott -- a member of the Bats and the Clean -- were recorded in the late 90s and those who demand their music polished and honed won't find much of interest here. But these delightful working drawing of songs, eerie instrumentals and sonic ideas -- all put down on a Tascam cassette recorder -- have much to...

Fripp and Eno: Beyond Even; 1992-2006 (Opal/Southbound)

Fripp and Eno: Beyond Even; 1992-2006 (Opal/Southbound)

As mentioned in the previous posting of the Travis and Fripp album, when guitarist Fripp got into the studio alongside musician-without-portfolio Brian Eno for the albums Evening Star and No Pussyfooting in the early 70s a particular magic was created. Not ambient music (that was to follow from Eno) but more like music as an emotional...

CAN: A CONCEPT, A CULT, A BAND; As only the Germans can

CAN: A CONCEPT, A CULT, A BAND; As only the Germans can

By definition most people miss cult acts. And to their tuned-in loyalists that makes them even more special. There is nothing like the whiff of martyrdom, or being ignored or misunderstood, to elevate a musician’s reputation among the faithful. Like most people, I missed Can in the late 60s/early 70s. No matter, the albums are out...

Fripp and Eno: No Pussyfooting (1973) and Evening Star (1975)

Fripp and Eno: No Pussyfooting (1973) and Evening Star (1975)

Context is everything -- or almost everything -- at Essential Elsewhere, these being albums you can return to repeatedly so probably stand outside of time, yet are always born of a specific place and time. Even if they owe nothing to it. And these two albums - the first "pair" of Essential Elsewhere albums -- seem to owe very...

Kraftwerk: Trans-Europe Express (1977)

Kraftwerk: Trans-Europe Express (1977)

In the rush to acclaim Kraftwerk as electro-pioneers, it is often overlooked how they grew out of the German avant-garde/post-hippie prog-rock scene. As Organisation and on the first two Kraftwerk albums, founders Ralf Hutter and Florian Schneider (and others) engaged in long, almost free-form jams with Schneider playing flutes and bells....

BEST OF ELSEWHERE DVDs 2008 Kraftwerk and the Electronic Revolution (DVD)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE DVDs 2008 Kraftwerk and the Electronic Revolution (DVD)

Not only does this excellent overview of the German electronic scene come in at a whopping and thorough three hours, but it also has good timing: it is released just as Kraftwerk make a rare return appearance in New Zealand. This ambitious (but not officially sanctioned) look at Kraftwerk's place in the techno-cosmos places the group within...

NEU!: NEU! (1971) NEU!2 (1973) NEU! ‘75 (1975)

NEU!: NEU! (1971) NEU!2 (1973) NEU! ‘75 (1975)

Musical innovations can happen by accident or out of necessity: a stoned John Lennon allegedly spooling the tape of Rain into his player the wrong way and discovering the sound of backwards guitars (he wanted the whole song released in reverse, but settled for just the coda); or Brian Eno who was mostly confined to bed after an accident...

CAN, THE CATALOGUE AND THE CULT: Talkin' 'bout a revolution

CAN, THE CATALOGUE AND THE CULT: Talkin' 'bout a revolution

By definition most people miss cult acts. And to their tuned-in loyalists that makes them even more special. There is nothing like the whiff or martyrdom, or being ignored or misunderstood, to elevate a musician’s reputation among the faithful. Like most people, I missed Can in the late 60s/early 70s. No matter, the albums are out...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 The Flaming Lips: Embryonic (Warners)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 The Flaming Lips: Embryonic (Warners)

Anyone coming to this sprawling and musically diverse (not to say sometimes bewildering) 80 minute album because they were seduced by the Lips' earlier album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (with that sublime hit Do You Realise) might want to take a big breath. This is different in many, many ways. This is the Lips' fascinating and...

This Heat: This Heat (1979)

This Heat: This Heat (1979)

Understandably, many hail the Sixties as the greatest ever decade for popular music: the undeniable brilliance of the Beatles and what they spawned on both sides of the Atlantic, not to mention globally; the whole shift from pop to rock, and from singles to albums, which freed minds and arses that followed; the innovations of Hendrix, Cream and...

Harmonia and Eno '76: Tracks and Traces Reissue (Gronland/Rhythmethod)

Harmonia and Eno '76: Tracks and Traces Reissue (Gronland/Rhythmethod)

Even during his days in Roxy Music, Brian Eno professed an admiration for not just the music coming out of the German electronic movement (Can and so on) but for their collective spirit. They often lived communally and kept outside the mainstream, and (the commune thing excepted) so did he. That they had so many musical interests in common...

David Sylvian: Gone to Earth (1986)

David Sylvian: Gone to Earth (1986)

You never know quite how people are going to turn out: they find bodies under the floorboards in the house of that polite boy next door, the rebel girl in school becomes a nun, and David Sylvian . . . .? When David Sylvian (born David Batt in Kent, 1958) first appeared on the music scene it was as a member of the glam rock band Japan and it...

Underworld Vs the Misterons: Athens (K7/Border)

Underworld Vs the Misterons: Athens (K7/Border)

This might not be what some would expect from the techno stars Underworld, but this excellent compilation serves a number of purposes outside of being fascinating in its own right. It is a collection of some of their favouite tracks from the more meditative end of the musical spectrum so has a kind of neo-ambient, avant-jazz flavour, and...

The Chemical Brothers: Further (Parlophone)

The Chemical Brothers: Further (Parlophone)

And in this further installment, our heroes effect a blend of Barrett-era Floyd (given a techno twist) and Baba O'Reilly-meets-Pseudo Echo (on the soundstage of Bladerunner) then set their control to the heart of dancefloor synthedelic music. Add some pure pop vocals out of the Brian Wilson school with a few nods to Kraftwerk's Motorik beats...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Robert Scott: Ends Run Together (Flying Nun)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Robert Scott: Ends Run Together (Flying Nun)

The last time Robert Scott (of the Clean, the Bats and Magick Heads) appeared at Elsewhere it was for the cupboard cleanout of tapes which made up the lo-fi Tascam Hits. This collection of much more polished, expansive and augmented songs from the sagging shelves of his tapes enjoys assistance from Clean guitarist David Kilgour and...

The Trons: The Trons (Pieplate CD/DVD)

The Trons: The Trons (Pieplate CD/DVD)

A few decades ago Devo advanced the idea of "devolution", that Mankind wasn't going forward but actually regressing and you could see that in the behaviour of the mob. Regrettably it seems they might have been right if idiot postings on Facebook and You Tube are anything to go by, not to mention the guy who will hold up store at...

Hawkwind: Spaced out in the suburbs

Hawkwind: Spaced out in the suburbs

Aside from meeting some interesting (and ocassionally odd) people, interviewing musicians gets you into some different places. In another life I doubt I would have ever been backstage at the Village Vanguard and Carnegie Hall in New York, inside Abbey Road, in expensive hotel rooms in places like Tokyo or Los Angeles, or sitting in a BBC studio...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Wire: Red Barked Tree (Pink Flag)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Wire: Red Barked Tree (Pink Flag)

In the late Seventies Wire delivered a trifecta of classic post-punk, minimalist and arty albums -- Pink Flag, Chairs Missing and 154 – then called it a day. In subsequent decades they reformed dropping drummer Robert Gotobed to appear as an alt.electro-rock outfit (not much cop), in the past decade their sound became more aggressive...

An Emerald City: The Fourth (Banished from the Universe)

An Emerald City: The Fourth (Banished from the Universe)

After their impressive self-titled EP in '08 then the expansive, cinematic debut album Circa Scaria the following year, this Auckland-based band which brought together psychedelic space-flight guitar rock with touches of world music (Middle Eastern and North African from violinist Felix Lun, plus sitar, oud, lute and odd percussion from Rob...

Various Artists: Forbidden Planets Vol 2 (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

Various Artists: Forbidden Planets Vol 2 (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

Subtitled "More Music from the Pioneers of Electronic Sound", this double disc with a booklet will not be for everyone. But if the original theme to Dr Who, the Bebe and Louis Barron soundtrack on the film Forbidden Planet and even the more demanding music in 2001: A Space Odyssey (nope, not the Strauss) held any appeal then you should...

BRIAN ENO: THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (2011) (Sexy Intellectual/Triton DVD)

BRIAN ENO: THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (2011) (Sexy Intellectual/Triton DVD)

Despite the title here being appropriated from David Bowie, this does seem a fair description of Brian Eno, the self-described "non-musician" who made his name in Roxy Music as the flamboyant synth-twiddler who brought an avant-garde sensibility to a band which might have otherwise simply sounded retro and poopy. Eno's sonic...

CAN'S CLASSIC TAGO MAGO; 40 YEARS ON (2011): Pre-post-rock with a sonic sweep

CAN'S CLASSIC TAGO MAGO; 40 YEARS ON (2011): Pre-post-rock with a sonic sweep

If you applied cold logic, on paper most band line-ups wouldn't make much sense. With hindsight you can see the internal faultlines which would pull apart so many of them. None of that matters of course, as long as at some point they make great music. And Can out of Germany certainly did that, although on paper the line-up for their...

Can, Tago Mago (1971)

Can, Tago Mago (1971)

Only a rare band could count among its admirers and proselytisers the young Johnny Rotten, David Bowie and Brian Eno, eccentric UK rocker Julian Cope, and Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream. Oh, and various contemporary classical composers, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, and post-hippie rock fans. But then, Can from Germany were a...

Jean Michel Jarre: Oxygene (1977)

Jean Michel Jarre: Oxygene (1977)

Sometimes in history there comes that rare conjunction of the artist, the time and the art. In the case of Jean Michel Jarre it seemed they were all out of alignment. He could not have chosen a more inhospitable climate into which release his work. Jarre's album Oxygene came out in France in 1976 but wasn't given release in...

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