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The Music Room => Great Recordings and Reviews => Topic started by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on December 09, 2019, 01:40:04 PM

Title: Great Novelty Records
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on December 09, 2019, 01:40:04 PM
I'm thinking about recordings that did something novel, unusual, outlandish (etc.), but transcended their novelty and had real musical value. In other words, not the typical novelty or "party" record, that you play for a laugh once or twice and then forget about.

I'm thinking about recordings like the following:

Glenn Gould, Consort of Musicke - playing Elizabethan virginal music on a completely wrong instrument (grand piano) and making it sound right
E. Power Biggs plays Joplin on pedal harpsichord - similar to the above, except going back in time with the instrument rather than forward
Ensemble Modern plays Conlon Nancarrow - mechanical music played successfully by humans

Any others?
Title: Re: Great Novelty Records
Post by: Mandryka on December 09, 2019, 02:16:36 PM
I think that Lukas Foss’s Art of Fuging is just a party record, but you may disagree.
Title: Re: Great Novelty Records
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on December 09, 2019, 02:20:41 PM
I think that Lukas Foss’s Art of Fuging is just a party record, but you may disagree.

I had that one. Didn't find it interesting enough to keep, so I may not disagree.
Title: Re: Great Novelty Records
Post by: dissily Mordentroge on December 09, 2019, 02:21:41 PM
I’m tempted to suggest Anna Russel’s cogent analysis of the Ring Cycle but no doubt none of you would take her seriously.
Title: Re: Great Novelty Records
Post by: Jo498 on December 10, 2019, 12:28:29 AM
W. Carlos' original "Switched on Bach", I guess, but I am too young to remember early synthesizers as "novelty".
Title: Re: Great Novelty Records
Post by: dissily Mordentroge on December 10, 2019, 12:30:23 AM
W. Carlos' original "Switched on Bach", I guess, but I am too young to remember early synthesizers as "novelty".
It’s a mystery to me how this happened but the original ‘Switched on Bach’, despite the cheesy sound, is actually a very accomplished performance.
Title: Re: Great Novelty Records
Post by: dissily Mordentroge on December 10, 2019, 12:35:24 AM
W. Carlos' original "Switched on Bach", I guess, but I am too young to remember early synthesizers as "novelty".
What is novel is Walter Carlos ‘changed’ to Wendy Carlos.
Title: Re: Great Novelty Records
Post by: Jo498 on December 10, 2019, 12:53:56 AM
The synthesizer was barely beyond its experimental stage. I don't remember the details but I don't think Carlos could play anything simply on a keyboard. He had to create all the sounds "by hand".
Title: Re: Great Novelty Records
Post by: Mandryka on December 10, 2019, 07:12:16 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51SOPiXgtbL.jpg)

https://www.youtube.com/v/ghWdgcYIcSk
Title: Re: Great Novelty Records
Post by: aukhawk on December 10, 2019, 10:10:07 AM
The synthesizer was barely beyond its experimental stage. I don't remember the details but I don't think Carlos could play anything simply on a keyboard. He had to create all the sounds "by hand".

https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/music/switched-on-bach-how-a-transgender-synth-pioneer-changed-music-1.3699133 (https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/music/switched-on-bach-how-a-transgender-synth-pioneer-changed-music-1.3699133)
Quote
The different voices and elements had to be painstakingly tracked and layered in the studio, expression added by adjusting filter, oscillator and envelope controls with one hand while melodies were played with the other. It was a mammoth undertaking for both Carlos and producer Rachel Elkind. The album stands as a monumental technological feat and as well as a musical milestone. Carlos and Elkind had to tune the synth before each take and hope it stayed in tune for the duration of each track.
Title: Re: Great Novelty Records
Post by: Jo498 on December 10, 2019, 12:36:39 PM
Thanks for the quotation. I probably read a similar piece some time ago or they explained it in the booklet as I have a more recent CD issue. As I said I was not even born when the first Switched on Bach Album appeared but I dimly recall that it was still considered something of a novelty (maybe only among more conservative classical listeners although the really conservative ones would probably just ignore or despise it) when I was a kid in the mid-1980s.
Title: Re: Great Novelty Records
Post by: aukhawk on December 11, 2019, 05:52:50 AM
Thanks for the quotation. I probably read a similar piece some time ago or they explained it in the booklet as I have a more recent CD issue. As I said I was not even born when the first Switched on Bach Album appeared but I dimly recall that it was still considered something of a novelty (maybe only among more conservative classical listeners although the really conservative ones would probably just ignore or despise it) when I was a kid in the mid-1980s.

I bought it to 'demonstrate' my first stereo system, in the late '60s.  In my parents' home I had recently upgraded from a single large floorstanding corner speaker (which was home to a family of mice) to a pair of small Wharfedales perched on chairs.  An elderly uncle (born about 1900), who was a violinist in a provincial orchestra, came to visit one day, and I sat him exactly between the two speakers - pointing at him like giant headphones - and played 'Switched-On Bach'.  After the initial jaw-dropping moment, he couldn't get enough of it.  ;D
Title: Re: Great Novelty Records
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on December 18, 2019, 08:27:56 AM
This might be one. Spaced-Out Bach, featuring "the orbiting harpsichord of Joseph Payne":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vopj60a8G5w&t=854s

Apparently never reissued on CD. I found it at the Harpsichord Vinyl Gallery, which has a lot of obscure harpsichord recordings.
Title: Re: Great Novelty Records
Post by: SimonNZ on January 05, 2020, 10:09:00 PM
The Swingle Singers in their original lineup '62-'72 with Christine Legrand.

Most of Jacques Loussier.
Title: Re: Great Novelty Records
Post by: steve ridgway on January 06, 2020, 07:38:16 AM
(https://i.postimg.cc/sx1VdPmB/R-1441339-1220013263-jpeg.jpg) (https://postimages.org/)
1973

The Portsmouth Sinfonia was an experimental English orchestra founded in 1970 by composer Gavin Bryars.  It was composed of musicians playing an instrument about which they were completely unfamiliar, and players with no musical training.  Bryar's professed intention was to remove pomposity from classical music.   What I find remarkable is that despite the obvious distortions the work played remains essentially intact.


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6piDRKOwh88

They were fun, I used to have the "Classical Muddley" single. They actually did a pretty good job on Brian Eno's "Put A Straw Under Baby" 8).
Title: Re: Great Novelty Records
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on March 29, 2021, 10:53:51 AM
I had no idea this album existed until today:

(https://i.discogs.com/R-9728853-1485443785-6117.jpeg?bucket=discogs-images&fit=contain&format=auto&height=300&quality=40&width=300&signature=hX8t1AvlTpPyWoRRae2XdYWra%2FX0ide5ptXmrn7jzTw%3D)

Yes, none other than the great songstress of the avant-garde Cathy Berberian, singing the Beatles. This is an entire album. At first listen, these covers sound hilariously wrongheaded. But I could see this being a great party record. Here's a sample:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgxCwdvUt74&list=PLgDsV9tDImDN6Z1YPZlQxWBDFsh05dlbm&index=4

Title: Re: Great Novelty Records
Post by: Brian on March 29, 2021, 11:31:32 AM
I had no idea this album existed until today:

(https://i.discogs.com/R-9728853-1485443785-6117.jpeg?bucket=discogs-images&fit=contain&format=auto&height=300&quality=40&width=300&signature=hX8t1AvlTpPyWoRRae2XdYWra%2FX0ide5ptXmrn7jzTw%3D)

Yes, none other than the great songstress of the avant-garde Cathy Berberian, singing the Beatles. This is an entire album. At first listen, these covers sound hilariously wrongheaded. But I could see this being a great party record. Here's a sample:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgxCwdvUt74&list=PLgDsV9tDImDN6Z1YPZlQxWBDFsh05dlbm&index=4
Oh
my
god

 :o :o ??? ??? ??? ;D ;D ;D :'( :'(

I have not stopped giggling. This is stunning.
Title: Re: Great Novelty Records
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on March 29, 2021, 12:27:35 PM
Oh
my
god

 :o :o ??? ??? ??? ;D ;D ;D :'( :'(

I have not stopped giggling. This is stunning.

This record is beyond categories of good and bad. It is positively Nietzschean in its resonance. Once heard, it can never be forgotten, no matter how much you may want to forget it. It exerts its Will to Power independently of your wishes.
Title: Re: Great Novelty Records
Post by: Cato on March 29, 2021, 12:41:07 PM
This record is beyond categories of good and bad. It is positively Nietzschean in its resonance. Once heard, it can never be forgotten, no matter how much you may want to forget it. It exerts its Will to Power independently of your wishes.



Okay, in that vein, then try this, which almost caused me to wreck the car 25 years ago, when the local classical station - for reasons inexplicable, outside of satire or a wise guy D.J. -  played it on the air!



https://www.youtube.com/v/WgeAO3oQ28E









Composed by ...


...


(Are you ready?)...


...





Harpo Marx



Mario does not seem to think it is a joke!   0:)
Title: Re: Great Novelty Records
Post by: steve ridgway on March 30, 2021, 09:43:41 AM
(https://i.discogs.com/R-9728853-1485443785-6117.jpeg?bucket=discogs-images&fit=contain&format=auto&height=300&quality=40&width=300&signature=hX8t1AvlTpPyWoRRae2XdYWra%2FX0ide5ptXmrn7jzTw%3D)

Who was it who said the following? :P

I'm thinking about recordings that did something novel, unusual, outlandish (etc.), but transcended their novelty and had real musical value.
Title: Re: Great Novelty Records
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on March 30, 2021, 09:54:08 AM
Who was it who said the following? :P

I decided to expand the remit of this thread without telling anyone. It should now be called "Great Novelty or Party Records."
Title: Re: Great Novelty Records
Post by: Iota on March 31, 2021, 10:21:46 AM
I had no idea this album existed until today:

(https://i.discogs.com/R-9728853-1485443785-6117.jpeg?bucket=discogs-images&fit=contain&format=auto&height=300&quality=40&width=300&signature=hX8t1AvlTpPyWoRRae2XdYWra%2FX0ide5ptXmrn7jzTw%3D)

Yes, none other than the great songstress of the avant-garde Cathy Berberian, singing the Beatles. This is an entire album. At first listen, these covers sound hilariously wrongheaded. But I could see this being a great party record. Here's a sample:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgxCwdvUt74&list=PLgDsV9tDImDN6Z1YPZlQxWBDFsh05dlbm&index=4


It surprises me that there's a spot in the universe where somebody thought this was a good idea.
Title: Re: Great Novelty Records
Post by: geralmar on April 30, 2021, 08:04:03 PM
(https://i.postimg.cc/c4LGKJ3X/200px-Chipmunks-Rock-US.jpg) (https://postimages.org/)
1982

For me, the L.P. supersedes its parody intent and is my preferred version of ABBA's "Take a Chance On Me".   Also an excellent cover of "Bette Davis Eyes".
Title: Re: Great Novelty Records
Post by: geralmar on April 30, 2021, 08:15:02 PM

(https://i.postimg.cc/V6FL8Vy6/3e79ba2faa9e21242baeb0d9f9fbc8a9.jpg) (https://postimages.org/)
1964

Album received much critical abuse when issued; but I demur.  Literally the only Beatles album I own.