RECOMMENDED REISSUE: From Scratch: Five Rhythm Works (EM)

 |   |  1 min read

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: From Scratch: Five Rhythm Works (EM)

Although not strictly the reissue of a specific album, this collection put together (with approval) by a Japanese enthusiast and with excellent liner notes by Andrew Clifford picks up five pieces by this seminal New Zealand percussion ensemble.

With the exception of an out-of-print CD reissue of Pacific 3,2,1, Zero and Eye/Drum and perhaps the odd vinyl album turning up in secondhand stores, the innovative music of From Scratch in the Seventies and Eighties is not easy to find.

This collection has two pieces from the album From Scratch Perform Rhythm Works of '79 (Out In Part 1, Drumwheel Part 2), two pieces from Gung Ho (originally releasd in '83) and a previously unreleased piece from '75 recorded for radio (Passage, featuring oboe and saxophone).

The latter piece is the ensemble's earliest recording and by virtue of it not being entirely all-percussion as on the other pieces (albeit tuned percussion) it illustrates how musically flexible and exploratory the group could be, even from the start.

scratch1Refining the performance group down to three or four players during their most visible period -- Geoff Chapple, Phil Dadson, Wayne Laird and Don McGlashan -- perhaps has lent a skewed rear-view idea of the group as playing mathematically complex rhythmic pieces.

While that is true -- there is ample evidence of that aspect here -- the flexible line-up (especially from the late Eighties and beyond, as on the excellent Songs for Heroes from '92 and reissued by Rattle) always allowed for other possibilities beyond their famous PVC pipes hit with Jandals.

So the 11 minute-plus Passage may come as a sonic surprise to some for its quirky, jazz-like angularity in its closing overs.

In a clever cover which references the group's geometric arrangement of instruments on stage as much as the mathematical precision the music required, this series of focused snapshots of From Scratch remind again what a fascinating concept they were, as well as an ensemble which brought avant-garde music to mainstream attention.

To read more about this recommended "reissue" see Philip Dadson's website here

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Jimmy Norman: Little Pieces (Wildflower)

Jimmy Norman: Little Pieces (Wildflower)

Quite why and how this 2004 album has turned up only now is a mystery to me, but here it. Better late than . . . This old journeyman r'n'b singer co-wrote eight songs with Bob Marley in early... > Read more

Babyshambles: Sequel to the Prequel (Parlophone)

Babyshambles: Sequel to the Prequel (Parlophone)

Although the damaged Pete Doherty may never live up to the promise of the Libertines, this third album with the very patient Babyshambles – five years on from their indifferent Shotter's... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE ROLLING STONES' SHINE A LIGHT: It's not only rock'n'roll (2008 review)

THE ROLLING STONES' SHINE A LIGHT: It's not only rock'n'roll (2008 review)

Director Martin Scorsese might have his name large on the credits of this 2006 Rolling Stones concert but it is clear from the opening scenes just who is in charge: it is the Stones, and Mick... > Read more

THE EMPIRE CITY; SONGS OF WELLINGTON by ANDREW LAKING and BOB KERR (VUP book/CD)

THE EMPIRE CITY; SONGS OF WELLINGTON by ANDREW LAKING and BOB KERR (VUP book/CD)

With historic photos, and subtle, evocative paintings by Bob Kerr (perhaps most fondly remembered for his terrific Terry and the Gunrunners comic book series), this book/CD by writer and... > Read more