Various Artists: (The Microcosm), Visionary Music of Continental Europe 1970-1986 (LITA/Southbound)

 |   |  <1 min read

Le Sourire Vole/The Stolen Smile, by Ash Ra Temple (1976)
Various Artists: (The Microcosm), Visionary Music of Continental Europe 1970-1986 (LITA/Southbound)

In a neat sidestep of other descriptions like perhaps proto-electronica, ambient, cosmic, New Age or Krautrock, the compiler of this excellent double disc – Doug McGowan out of Los Angeles – simply goes for “visionary”.

And that's apt.

Among the 16 artists/groups across these two-plus hours are Ash Ra Temple, Popul Vuh, Peter Michael Hamel, Roedelius, Deuter, Gigi Masin and the often maligned Vangelis whose early sound was often closer to the tripped out than the famous Chariots of Fire soundtrack he is widely known for. (He also did the Bladerunner soundtrack which might be a better point of reference if he's new to you.)

These astrally-directed instrumentals are predominantly synth-based and a considerable number of these European artists had classical music in their backgrounds, so here you get widescreen, frequently relaxing and always morphing pieces with sometimes allusions of Bach and choral music alongside very discreet hints of world music.

In the very useful liner notes (artists interviewed, music contextualised in time and place) many of the performers make a clear distinction between psychedelic or New Age music and what it was they were aiming for: cosmic, human connection, esoteric, meditative, experimental sounds . . .

Rather visionary in fact.

An excellent introduction to this fascinating genre and these artists.



Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Iva Lamkum: Iva Lamkum (Base/Rhythmethod)

Iva Lamkum: Iva Lamkum (Base/Rhythmethod)

The first thought that may occur to you on hearing this classy EP by 22-year old Wellington singer-songwriter Lamkum is just when a major international label will scoop her up. I'm picking sooner... > Read more

The Verlaines: Untimely Meditations (Flying Nun)

The Verlaines: Untimely Meditations (Flying Nun)

Of the original Flying Nun bands, the Verlaines – the flexible vehicle for Graeme Downes – are still the most ambitious. Downes' lyrical depth and mercurial melodies deliver... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

MARCUS ROBERTS INTERVIEWED (1990): Keys and thought in black'n'white

MARCUS ROBERTS INTERVIEWED (1990): Keys and thought in black'n'white

Recently a well known jazz writer, Pete Watrous - not known for his exaggeration - acclaimed Marcus Roberts’ new album Deep In The Shed as “the best jazz album for a decade.”... > Read more

U2: My unforgettable fire

U2: My unforgettable fire

It was quite a few years ago now but I'll never forget it. U2 damn near killed me. Them, the Arizona sun, a famous architect and tequila actually. It was during their Pop-Mart tour -- the one... > Read more