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

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009  The Beatles Remasters (EMI)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 The Beatles Remasters (EMI)

Much as it is possible to love every crackle and piece of surface noise on the original vinyl albums which some still have or have inherited, the remastering brought out an energy and vitality in... > Read more

Mali Mali: Azimuth (Home Alone)

Mali Mali: Azimuth (Home Alone)

The label here may be a pointer: Local artist Mali Mali (aka Ben Tolich) recorded the eight songs for this, his third album, in the basement of his parent's home and the ambience of delay and echo,... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Nye, Oregon: The man who could draw air

Nye, Oregon: The man who could draw air

He introduced himself at breakfast as Hippie Mike -- his business card had a nuclear disarmament sign on it -- and told a story. "One time I walked into this bar with my walking stick,... > Read more

Willie Nelson: Healing Hands of Time (1961)

Willie Nelson: Healing Hands of Time (1961)

By the time Willie Nelson laid down this demo of what is arguably one of the greatest songs of his pre-fame period, he had already written Family Bible (a top 10 country hit for Claude Gray... > Read more