215. one summer dream

“The Electric Light Orchestra were an early fave of mine – big melodies, bigger production, like the Beatles by way of some overblown Hollywood fantasy from the 1930s … except unlike many of those fantasies, ELO was always in vivid colour. Over the years, of course, a lot of this pomp and electricity started to feel a little uncool, silly even, particularly as 1980s imposed, the Winter of Hate and its doomsday realities. Not much room for sunny fantasy anymore. But then a strange thing happened in the early 1990s, right around the time that the last Republican got turfed from the White House (for a while anyway) and the grunge thing got over-hyped (being serious getting taken way too seriously). ELO started sounding fun again, relevant even in some retro-cool ironic sort of way. Not that a song like 1975’s One Summer Dream had ever entirely lost its lustre. It was just too beautiful, like a summer afternoon in the middle of nowhere, looking out over an unknown lake with great birds soaring past and mountains in the distance. You’re sixteen years old and you know this is one of those moments that’s going to last forever.” (Philip Random)

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370-69-68. Boy Boy – Laredo Tornado – El Dorado

“When I was kid, maybe fifteen, it was the story, the big concept that appealed most, perfect for my still growing brain and imagination. Which made Electric Light Orchestra‘s fourth album, Eldorado essential. The one concerning the Dreamer, the Unwoken Fool. He starts out high on a hill, catches a glimpse of the ocean’s daughter, goes after her, gets caught up in a war, a tornado in the desert, Sherwood Forest, a lost kingdom, the south seas, some painted ladies, and so on … finally ending up atop another hill, still a dreamer, unwoken, still a fool. For months, I’d listen to Eldorado beginning to end at least five days out of seven, until one day, I guess I finally got into Yes, or maybe ski season finally started. Or just girls and alcohol. Whatever happened, Eldorado got put aside for more than a decade.

Until one night in 1987 sometime, high no doubt, tired of punk rock and hardcore and whatever, I’m picking through the dregs of my old vinyl (the un-essential stuff not filed on a shelf, just piled in various boxes) and the cover catches my eye. It still does. A still from an actual film frame from Wizard of Oz – Dorothy’s contentious ruby slippers, the wicked witch of wherever trying to zap them off with her pale green hands. I put the album on and I couldn’t help but smile. It was just so big and fun. Sheer melodrama, all those strings and choral overloads, and related surprises. Like in Boy Blue where everything’s revving up to an obvious sort of b-movie climax, but it doesn’t go there. Not yet. Just sidesteps into plucked cellos (I think), and then it goes for the obvious climax. And then in Laredo Tornado, it’s the raw power of electric guitar with everything else majestic and soaring all around it, like a genuine tornado, grand and intense.

And then jump ahead to the climax of the whole thing, the title track, Eldorado, I swear Jeff Lynne‘s channelling Tom Jones here, strong as a coal miner, even if the lyrics are just passing space filler for the most part (I recall Jeff Lynne saying he wrote them all in a weekend). Nah, it’s the music that matters, the big and beautiful journey it takes, electric and full of light.” (Philip Random)

 

29. Solid Time of Change

Installment #29 of the Solid Time of Change aired on Saturday February-18-2016 (c/o CiTR.FM.101.9).

Podcast (Solid Time begins a few minutes in). Youtube playlist (somewhat inaccurate).

The Solid Time of Change is our overlong yet incomplete history of the so-called Prog Rock era – 661 selections from 1965 through 1979 with which we hope to do justice to a strange and ambitious time indeed, musically speaking.

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Part Twenty-Nine of the journey went as follows:

  1. Buffalo Springfield – broken arrow
  2. Electric Light Orchestra – Shangri-La
  3. Aphrodite’s Child – the system
  4. Aphrodite’s Child- seven trumpets
  5. Aphrodite’s Child – Altamont
  6. Tommy James + the Shondells – crimson and clover
  7. Barclay James Harvest – suicide
  8. Barclay James Harvest – hymn
  9. Gentle Giant – the runaway
  10. King Crimson – cat food
  11. King Crimson – groon
  12. Fleetwood Mac – oh well
  13. Genesis – ripples
  14. Genesis – in the rapids
  15. Genesis – it
  16. Genesis – watcher of the skies [live]

Fresh episodes air pretty much every Saturday night, starting 11 pm (Pacific time) c/o CiTR.FM.101.9, with streaming and download options available within twenty-four hours via our Facebook page.

901. new day rising

The Electric Light Orchestra still had a few things to work out come their third album On The Third Day, starting with that cover. What’s with the exposed navels, gentlemen? Which isn’t to say thing weren’t coming nicely together in other ways, with a track like New Day Rising offering a tight, smart Beatlesque way forward. Even John Lennon was proving a fan.

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20. The Solid Time Of Change

Part twenty of the Solid Time of Change aired Saturday November-5-2016 c/o CiTR.FM.101.9.

Podcast (Solid Time starts a few minutes in). Youtube playlist (incomplete and not entirely accurate).

This continues to be Randophonic’s main focus, our overlong yet incomplete history of the so-called Prog Rock era (presented in countdown form) – 661 selections from 1965 through 1979 with which we hope to do justice to a strange and ambitious time indeed, musically speaking.

solid-crop-20

Part twenty of the journey went as follows:

  1. T-Rex – once upon the seas of Abyssinia
  2. T-Rex – king of the rumbling spires
  3. Electric Light Orchestra – new world rising + king of the universe
  4. Strawbs – starshine angel wine
  5. Triumvirat – illusions on a double dimple
  6. Yes- time and word
  7. Yes – then
  8. Banco del Mutuo Soccorso – miserere alla storia
  9. Fleetwood Mac – albatross
  10. Fleetwood Mac – hypnotized
  11. Genesis – I know what I like [in your wardrobe]
  12. Genesis – los endos
  13. Caravan – nine feet underground

Fresh episodes air pretty much every Saturday night, starting 11 pm (Pacific time) c/o CiTR.FM.101.9, with streaming and download options available within twenty-four hours via our Facebook.

927. mission (a world record)

Deep cut from the album that finally, irrefutably kicked the Electric Light Orchestra into the big leagues, 1976’s New World Record. A story song about an alien that comes down to earth, gets taken for a street person, files a negative report back to the home planet. It was a common theme in those days as the afterglow of the big deal moon landings faded and the various grim realities of life on earth got harder and harder to ignore. Same as it ever was.

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13. The Solid Time Of Change

Part thirteen of the Solid Time of Change  aired Saturday August-13-2016 c/o CiTR.FM.101.9.

Podcast (Solid Time begins at around the 5 minute point). Youtube playlist (incomplete and probably inaccurate).

This continues to be Randophonic’s main focus, our overlong yet incomplete history of the so-called Prog Rock era (presented in countdown form) – 661 records from 1965 through 1979 with which we hope to do justice to a strange and ambitious time indeed, musically speaking.

solid-crop-13

Part thirteen of the journey went as follows:

  1. Emerson Lake + Palmer – hoedown
  2. Raspberries – overnight sensation (hit record)
  3. Electric Light Orchestra – Mission [a new world record]
  4. Electric Light Orchestra – dreaming of 4000
  5. Queen – Seven Seas of Rhye
  6. Queen – my fairy king
  7. Barclay James Harvest – mockingbird
  8. Cat Stevens – miles from nowhere
  9. Doobie Brothers- clear as the driven snow
  10. Camel- song within a song
  11. Camel – another night
  12. FM – black noise [part-1]
  13. FM – headroom exerpts
  14. David Pritchard – an admission of guilt [excerpt]
  15. FM – black noise [part-2]
  16. Peter Hammill – dropping the torch
  17. Strawbs – lay a little light on me + hero’s theme

Fresh episodes air pretty much every Saturday night, starting 11 pm (Pacific time) c/o CiTR.FM.101.9, with streaming and download options available within twenty-four hours via our Facebook.

1. The Solid Time of Change

Last week saw the debut of Randophonic’s latest series, The Solid Time of Change (aka the 661 Greatest Records of the so-called Prog Rock era) – an overlong yet incomplete history of whatever the hell happened between 1965 and 1979, not in all music, not even in most of it, but definitely in a bunch of it, particularly via bands hailing from the United Kingdom.

Youtube playlist (possibly not the exact versions that were played). Download podcast.

What is Prog Rock, and does it somehow differ from Progressive Rock, or for that matter, rock that merely progresses? These may seem simple questions but they are in fact doors that open unto some of the most complex enigmas of this split-atomic age.

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The good news is, for the next year (or thereabouts) there shall be a radio show broadcasting pretty much every Saturday night, starting at 11pm (Pacific Time) c/o CiTR.FM.101.9 wherein these enigmas shall be explored – also queens and kings, queendoms and kingdoms, and dreams, wizards and witches, oceans, concertos, overtures, finales, voyages, apocalypses, angels, sandcastles, swords, redeemers, rebels, relayers, even a little funk; not to mention islands, saviours, prophecies, revelations, giants, shipwrecks, astronauts, rituals, robots, roundabouts, gods and goblins, sacred texts and liars, journeys and parades, runaways and sorcerers, at least one girl child named Linda, the total mass retain and the seven seas of Rhye.

The first part of our journey went something like this:

  1. Apollo 100 – joy
  2. Emerson Lake + Palmer – Karn Evil 9 [1st impression part 2]
  3. Yes – beyond + before
  4. Genesis – where the sour turns to sweet
  5. Genesis – in the beginning
  6. Spirit – space child
  7. Spirit – aren’t you glad
  8. Uriah Heep – the wizard
  9. Queen – someday one day
  10. Queen – great king rat
  11. Electric Light Orchestra – Battle of Marston Moore [fragment]
  12. The Move – message from the country
  13. Electric Light Orchestra – 10538 Overture
  14. Giorgio – automation
  15. Guess Who – key [edit]
  16. Pink Floyd -Matilda Mother
  17. Kansas – Incomudro [lamplight to the Atman]
  18. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Ramble Tamble

Installment #2 airs 11pm, Saturday, May 14 on CiTR, with relevant links to be eventually posted here and our Facebook.

1974 – Part 1 – all secrecy no privacy

Part One of Randophonic’s three part celebration of the 40th anniversary of 1974 aired November 29th, on CiTR.FM.101.9.

Here it is in two Mixcloud streams. All Secrecy No Privacy:

The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (an extended Movie of the Week):

The podcast of the full program is available for download here …

Think of it as a halfway cool radio program from forty years ago — a few guys running through some of the essential records of the year, not ranking them so much as just shouting them out. This is the important stuff. This is what has kept the flesheating robots at bay for the past three hundred or so days.  And they might have been stoned while they were doing it, so stuff is out of order and maybe a little confused, but in a good way, 1974 proving rather difficult to really pin down.

But there was certainly no shortage of darned fine music.

Kraftwerk – autobahn

Wherein some very smart German guys decide that what the world truly wants and needs is a sort of stretched out and techno-fied version of the Beach Boys’ Fun Fun Fun.  And they nail it, a hit single and album world wide.  The future is suddenly very cool.

MFSB – TSOP [the Sound of Philadelphia]

Disco wasn’t really a SOUND yet in 1974, so it wasn’t really annoying at all. Not yet anyway.

O’Jays – for the love of money

The root of all that evil. Same as it ever was.

Camel – freefall

Introducing progressive rock, the elephant in the room, which it’s safe to say peaked rather gloriously in 1974, with Camel as solid an example as any. Tight playing, complex arrangements, no fear of cosmic overload.

Alice Cooper – teenage lament ’74

Does it always suck to be a teenager? Probably. But as far as we know, 1974 is the only year that had an actual teenage lament.

Sensational Alex Harvey Band – the man in the jar

Straight outa Glasgow, and not just a little glam, but you would not want to mess with any of them.

Rolling Stones – fingerprint file

74 was not a great year for the Stones with Keith Richard heroin comatose pretty much the whole time and Mick Taylor (the best player they ever had) calling it quits. Yet they still nailed it big time with Fingerprint File.  All secrecy. No privacy.

BTO – not fragile

Big meat eating, truck driving riffs and melodies that rocked pretty much the whole world. Nothing pretty about any of it …

ELO – boy blue + Laredo tornado

ELO finally just went all the way technicolour with their fourth album, the concept known as El Dorado. These two flowed nicely together through the middle of side A.

10CC – Wall Street Shuffle

Blood sucking brokers ripping the whole world off, laughing all the way to hell and back. Some things never change.

Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway [an extended Movie of the Week]

It’s hard to grasp now, but forty years ago Genesis were pretty much the epitome of strange and complex cool, with the four-sided Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (Peter Gabriel’s last album with the band) believed by many to be one of the genuine monsters of the so-called prog-rock genre, by many others to be simply monstrous.

What’s it about? To be honest, we’re pretty sure not even Peter Gabriel knows, and he wrote the lyrics.  That said, it seems to begin with an apocalypse of sorts. On Broadway. But nobody notices except Rael. Who’s Rael? He’s the (sort of) punk hero of the thing, whose weird adventures will take us deep into subterranean regions of mystery, pleasure, torment and lifeless packaging.

What’s the significance of the lamb? Not much, it seems.

Meanwhile from out of the steam a lamb lies down. This lamb has nothing whatsoever to do with Rael, or any other lamb. It just lies down on Broadway.