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martes, 29 de noviembre de 2016

Matching Mole - Little Red Record (1972)

La Princesa Cabezona Vicky nos reseña un aporte de Torrentinto, aquí el segundo disco de estudio del alucinado e impetuoso Matching Mole, de lo mejor que la escena Canterbury nos ha dejado y la obra culminante de la breve discografía de esta banda, producido por Robert Fripp, con la participación de Brian Eno, para un broche de oro para una obra cumbre del Canterbury que no podía faltar en el blog cabezón.


Artista: Matching Mole
Álbum: Little Red Record
Año: 1972
Género: Escena Canterbury
Duración: 42:56
Nacionalidad: Inglaterra


Lista de Temas:
1. Starting in the Middle of the Day, We Can Drink Our Politics Away (2:31) 
2. Marchides (8:25) 
3. Nan True's Hole (3:36) 
4. Righteous Rhumba (2:50) 
5. Brandy as in Benj (4:24) 
6. Gloria Gloom (8:06) 
7. God Song (2:59) 
8. Flora Fidgit (3:26) 
9. Smoke Signal (6:37)

Alineación:
- Dave McRae / grand piano, electric piano, Hammond organ 
- Robert Wyatt / drums, mouth 
- Phil Miller / guitars 
- Bill MacCormick / bass 

Músico invitado: 
- Brian Eno / synthesizers







Hoy les traemos otro aportazo de Torrentinto, el segundo y último disco de Matching Mole, Little Red Record. Publicado poco después de su álbum debut, para este disco Dave Sinclair ya había abandonado el grupo y formaría Hatfield And The North (regresando, un poco más adelante, a Caravan para grabar For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night). Así que Dave McRae, quien había participado en el disco homónimo como músico invitado, pasó a ser el tecladista oficial de Matching Mole. Cabe destacar que el disco lo produjo el Rey Carmesí Robert Fripp y que cuenta con la colaboración de Brian Eno en los sintetizadores!

Little Red Record es un álbum bastante distinto al primero. Está muchísimo más orientado al jazz rock, y, si no me equivoco, salvo por la lírica que fue escrita por Robert Wyatt, la composición fue más equitativa. Supongo que tanto la salida de Dave Sinclair (y la entrada definitiva de Dave McRae) como el hecho de que haya habido mayor participación en la composición influyeron en este cambio de sonido.

Y uno, al hablar de este disco, no puede obviar ciertas cuestiones ideológicas. El título del álbum hace alusión al Libro Rojo de Mao (publicado en 1964). Por otra parte, la tapa fue diseñada basándose en el estilo de las propagandas chinas. En este caso, se inspiraron en una tarjeta postal china cuya leyenda era “We are determined to liberate Taiwan!", sólo que en lugar de haber soldados chinos figuran los miembros de Matching Mole. Además, en las letras Robert pone de manifiesto sus ideales. En este punto me gustaría hacer un paréntesis, porque Robert no es solo un excelente ejemplo de lo que es un artista talentosísimo, con una creativa increíble, creador de cosas sencillamente hermosas, sino que también es un artista comprometido con la sociedad. Uno puede estar de acuerdo con él, parcialmente de acuerdo o directamente no estarlo (dicho sea de paso, nunca hay que dejar de considerar el contexto), pero es una clara muestra de que el arte no es para nada algo ajeno a la realidad que nos toca vivir, como muchas veces se pretende. Ojo, no digo que una cosa implique necesariamente la otra, sólo digo que es innumerable la cantidad de veces que el arte fue no sólo un medio de expresión sino también una forma de lucha contra toda clase de injusticias (razón por la cual fue también perseguido).



  
Volviendo al disco, ya desde un comienzo se puede notar el cambio de sonido del que habíamos hablado antes. “Starting In The Middle Of The Day, We Can Drink Our Politics Away” comienza con un coro que canta justamente el título de la canción sobre un pasaje de piano repetitivo. Esta nos conduce directamente a “Marchides”, metiéndonos ya en territorios de jazz rock. Desde “Marchides” hasta “Brandy As In Benj” inclusive, es, al menos para mí, como si se tratara de una suite dividida en cuatro partes. Dicho sea de paso, “Nan’s True Hole” cuenta con la participación de Julie Christie bajo el pseudónimo Ruby Cristal. Recién con “Gloria Gloom” tenemos un respiro. En esta canción aparecen Brian en el sintetizador, más conversaciones que lentamente van siendo tapadas por la música y la voz de Robert, hasta que finalmente son apagadas. Una sorpresita es que en “God Song” aparece por primera vez una guitarra acústica! Personalmente creo que es un disco excelentísimo, con buenas y adorables dosis de jazz, lleno de pasajes fascinantes, bellos y con mucho vuelo. Toda una joya musical!!!!



Luego de este álbum, Phil Miller dejó Matching Mole para unirse a Hatfield And The North. Si bien Robert tenía en mente la idea de grabar un tercer disco, el accidente que lo dejaría paralítico de por vida impidió su realización.

En fin, a disfrutar todo lo que se pueda los dos trabajos de esta enorme banda!!

Siguiendo la costumbre, dejo algunos comentarios más por acá:
"4.5 stars really!!!Less than seven months after recording their debut album, having toured constantly recording a few radio sessions throughout Europe, MM entered the studios in July 72 for their second (and last, but they weren't aware of it) album that was produced by Robert Fripp. Armed with an highjacked Chinese propaganda poster, the sleeve (and the album title) leaves little doubt as to their political aspirations, although I suspect that this was probably not shared by everyone in the group, because the ambiance within the group quickly became detestable and two months after its release, the group over, even if the explanation was about gigs not being paid and bankruptcy. So with Sinclair gone just after the debut's release, McRae is alone on keys, but the major difference with their first is Wyatt's songwriting that had filled almost all of the album, was reduced to absolutely none in LRR, if you'll except the lyrics and other vocals, but these holds a big part of creativity.Starting on one of the most surprising track that Wyatt ever recorded, Drink Our Politics Away is a strange semi-operatic over some McRae keyboards and Eno synth layer. Directly and abruptly segueing into Marchides (much the same way Signed Curtain had given in to Part Of The Dance on their previous album), the group takes its vengeance with a wild and torrid 100MPH jazz-rock that veers a bit dissonant in its middle section, before coming back more relaxed. Some exceptionally inventive drumming from Wyatt on this track that had received much previous rehearsal since it was concert standard, but everyone contributes greatly. Again segueing straight into Nan's True Hole, Robert develops some very strange gossipy vocals with him, wifie Alfie and friendly model Julie just yapping away over Wyatt's jaw-dropping drumming and a Frippian guitar solo, courtesy of .. Phil Miller; the whole thing falling into Righteous Rhumba without really noticing much a change. Closing on the wild Brandy for Benj (a roadie), with McRae on a rare organ part at the start and Miller's brilliant solo.Being shutout throughout the first half of the album, McCormick scores Gloria's Gloom as the flipside opens with the second centrepiece, which starts nightmarishly percussive and hauntingly spooky with Eno's VCS-3 deranging many listeners and remaining dissonant through a few minutes, until chattering gossipy vocals take the track slowly into the middle section where Wyatt singing his heart out until Eno's Martenot-like synth layers take us back to earth. After the popish God Song (sticking out like a sore thumb), Flora Fidgit (Frigid Flora? Yashure?? ;-)) where McRae's el piano steals the show. The closing Smoke Signal is the third highlight, a slow developing ambient cosmic piece with Wyatt's astounding drumming, and slowly dying in death throesAlthough MM's last studio album is generally not as reputed as its debut album, bit it's certainly no worse an album, with this one being more of a group effort. Both MM are absolutely essential to Canterbury fans, but it's not recommended to start with them, if you're a newbie."
Sean Trane 


"MATCHING MOLE was Robert Wyatt's first project after leaving SOFT MACHINE. The group released two albums with Little Red Record as their second effort. The music here sounds like a quirky combination of SOFT MACHINE, Robert Wyatt's Rock Bottom, Brian Eno, with even a bit of KING CRIMSON thrown in (Robert Fripp appears on a couple of tracks). The overall atmosphere is experimental and fun. Most of the album sounds like a group of prog musicians having a great time in a garage and in the studio. The music is complex, yet loose. Whether you enjoy this CD, or not, depends on your opinion of Robert Wyatt's voice. Many people have no problems with it, while others can't stand it. So I recommend this CD to people who are familiar with SOFT MACHINE, and Robert Wyatt's Rock Bottom. If you're not familiar with Robert Wyatt, check out SOFT MACHINE's "Third"."
Steve Hegede 

"Strange brew these guys were sipping when they recorded "Little Red Record" ...right from the opening vocalizations to the final track, we are greeted by some highly inventive instrumentation and clever song writing. For those hunting for the best work of Robert Wyatt I would have to put this in that shared category. MATCHING MOLE played a finely crafted Canterbury'ish styled fusion prog rock which featured the talents of Dave MacRae and Bill MacCormick (QUIET SUN), Robert Wyatt , Phil Miller of HATFIELD AND THE NORTH and even a guest appearance by Brian Eno on synthesizer. With the album being produced by CRIMSON's Robert Fripp you know we might be in for something kind of special. The end result is really a smattering of witty and often thrilling avant-fusion album bringing a slightly more gritty feel to the Canterbury scene... really hear mixes of KING CRIMSON, GENTLE GIANT, CARAVAN and HATFIELD. For me this is a superb album and one you must snang... some deep and wonderful progressive moments."
loserboy 


"'Little red record' is Matching Mole's second and last studio record. As you might have noticed there are some political allusions on the cover (and in the lyrics as well: "Like so many of you I've got my doubts about how much to contribute to the already rich among us/How can I pretend that music is more relevant than fighting for a socialist world."'Gloria Gloom'). The cover was originally a propaganda postcard with the title "We are determinated to liberate Taiwan". The heads of the soldiers being replaced by those of the members of Matching Mole. Now, On the first record the majority of compositions was by Robert Wyatt with a little help of his friends. On 'Little red record' there is not one(!) Wyatt composition; he wrote all the lyrics so. Since the release of the first record the band had toured and developped a 'band sound'.Dave Mc Rae, who guested on the first record had become a fulltime member and is very present on 'Little red record' in terms of compositions and sound, it is a keyboard oriented record.The record was produced by Robert Fripp and a part from the band you got the 'Mütter Chorus' (Dave Gale, Robert's wife Alfreda Benge and her friend the actrice Julie Christie), on background vocals and 'occasional smalltalk'. The record is a mixture of Jazz-Rock, tongue in cheek humour and political lyrics. On the first side of the vinyl all tracks were seagued into each other and formed a long suite, with a strong presence of Dave Mc Rae's distorted and treated e-piano. There is a nice equilibrium between the instrumental and vocal passages. Side Two started with 'Gloria Gloom',a Bill Mc Cormick composition and the most openly political statement on the record, followed by a Phil Miller composition 'God's song', a beautiful ballad played on acoustic guitar. The record ends with a beautiful theme by Dave Mc Rae 'Smoke Signal' , a signature tune for Matching Mole and it's swan song. My personal advice would be to listen to this masterpiece from start to beginning to enjoy it as a whole and to discover it's subtilities."
Alucard 


""MATCHING MOLE's second and final studio album was produced by Robert Fripp and featured a guest appearance from Brian Eno. This is more of a band effort than their debut was and the lone lineup change is David Sinclair going back to CARAVAN to record "For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night" and being replaced by Dave McRae who guested on the debut album.
Rather an awkward opening track in my opinion "Starting In The Middle Of The Day We Can Drink Our Politics Away" is my least favourite song on here. The song features piano and vocal melodies with organ coming in late. "Marchides" and the next three songs all blend together like they are one long suite. "Marchides" opens with someone speaking and laughter before guitar or fuzz organ comes in with an uptempo soundscape. It sounds great ! Some atmosphere 3 1/2 minutes in as the melody stops. For 2 minutes we get different sounds that come and go. We then get a nice melody to conclude the song that is a little slower than the original one. "Nan True's Hole" opens sounding very much like GENTLE GIANT. We then hear a conversation between a supposed prostitute and her 40 year old customer as angular guitar melodies are played. Nice. This sure sounds like Fripp playing. "Righteous Rhumba" features male and female vocals that are spoken. More great guitar in this one as drums pound away.
"Brandy As In Benj" has some amazing drumming from Wyatt. The instrumental middle of this song is very enjoyable, and it ends with organ. "Gloria Gloom" is sort of an odd experimental song. Eno is on synths here. There are conversations going on as the music is playing. The last couple of minutes feature Eno on synths in a calm but dark ending. "God Song" like "Nan True's Hole" would be easy targets of my complaining but this is Canterbury and these lyrics though perhaps offensive to some are silly and not to be taken too seriously. As for the music it's typically beautiful with Wyatt's unique vocals and acoustic guitar. Both songs in question are so good instrumentally but lyrically, well... "Flora Fidgit" features electric piano, guitar, bass and drums. I really like this tune. It blends into the final track "Smoke Signal" that seems like the same melody only slower. The drumming after 4 minutes is incredible. It has a spacey, psychedelic ending.
Tough one to rate really. There is so much great music here reminding me of the middle part of their debut album. It's the talking and conversations, along with the first song that bring it down a little for me. If you want to hear what a great drummer Robert Wyatt was, this is the album to check out.""
Mellotron Storm 


""We are determined to liberate Taiwan!"Soon after their eponymous debut, Matching Mole hit the road and toured western Europe, appearing on various TV shows and festivals. It was at that time that David Sinclair left the band to play with Hatfield and the North and later on Caravan's For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night. He was replaced with Dave MacRae, a jazz keyboardist from New Zealand, who was already credited as a guest on Matching Mole's debut album. In July of 1972, about half a year after their first work, the band entered the doors of London's CBS Studios to recordMatching Mole's Little Red Record. The release was produced by Robert Fripp of King Crimson. In addition, the band invited Brian Eno, the pioneer synthesist, to guest on their album.
The title of the release is an allusion to Chairman Mao's Little Red Book, known as the Maoist bible of the cultural revolution period. The cover art portrays the band members on what looks like a Chinese communist propaganda poster. The inspiration for the cover painting came from a Chinese postcard with a caption that read "We are determined to liberate Taiwan!" Despite a lot of controversy, the group, in fact, had nothing to do with idea for the album art, as the drawing was designed by CBS' graphic designers. Robert Wyatt even admitted that he did not particularly like the design. Wyatt's lyrics on Little Red Record have also been an object of heated discussion. The artist declares that the fight for the righteous socialist world should also be expressed in music and confesses that his beliefs are closer to the Chinese communist world rather than the degenerated capitalist west.
Musically, Little Red Record is a quintessential Canterbury scene album. Matching Mole's style is notably different from their debut album. The group got rid of the song-oriented ballads almost entirely and introduced an even higher amount of jazz-fueled improvisation to their music. However, showcasing the group's members' musical skill does not seem to be the aim of the numerous improvisational passages that appear so frequently on Little Red Record. The heavy repeating passages, which often do provide a base for instrumental solos, create musical tension, which makes the music on this record incredibly moody and full of distinctive mysticism. The typical tongue-in-cheek, Canterbury-styled arrangements are common. This becomes evident with pre-recorded voices and sounds of various conversations played over the band's music, giving the album an eccentric appearance.
The high amount of jazz influences on Little Red Record compared to Matching Mole might partly be caused by the new keyboard player, Dave MacRae. His extensive use of Fender Rhodes electric piano adds a very fusion-esque element to the band's sound, at times similar to the one of Soft Machine. Similarly to Dave Sinclair, MacRae is extremely proficient in many diverse musical situations ranging from as far as subtle drone touches to accurate rhythm keyboard play to rapid, pronounced solo parts. Robert Wyatt's drumming is very dense. He finds himself comfortable playing heavy, varied rhythms in odd time signatures. His characteristic vocals also appear, but more often in a spoken word scenario. Although it may not seem like it at first, Bill McCormick's basslines play a crucial role in Matching Mole's sound, building a strong musical foundation for other members. David Sinclair's fuzz organ solos are replaced with those on Phil Miller's guitar, which he plays with an astonishingly precise touch. Brian Eno with his VCS3 synthesizer is responsible for ambient, electronic passages, creating striking, mystic soundscapes.
The album opens with "Starting in the Middle of the Day, We Can Drink Our Politics Away", which features a male choir supported by a repeating piano passage. The lush, surrounding organ sound builds up tension, which is discharged with a loud, rapid jazz jam on "Marchides". The next track, "Nah True's Hole" is based around a repeating pattern with a conversation in the background. In fact, the female voice belongs to Julie Christie, a famous English actress, who is credited as Flora Fidgit. The things she says are erotically-charged and work particularly well with the passage in the background. On "Righteous Rhumba", Robert Wyatt's lyrics talk about the utopian socialist vision and his repellence towards the capitalist world. "Brandy as in Benj" is a jazz-based piece, aimed at displaying the instrumental skill of Matching Mole's members. "Gloria Gloom" starts out with Brain Eno's lengthy synthesizer texture and resolves into Robert Wyatt's politically-charged song. Towards the end, Eno's input comes back, closing the song in a dark, agitating manner. "God Song", the only acoustic piece, sounds a bit like song-oriented tracks from Wyatt's solo releases. "Flora Fidgit" is another jazz jam, in ways similar to what Soft Machine were doing at the time. The album is closed with "Smoke Signal". The track features tense ambient soundscapes with Robert Wyatt's drum solo. Towards the end, one is capable of hearing soft melodies, sounding as if trying to break through, which eventually fade way.
Matching Mole's iconic Little Red Record could best be described as an eccentric political jazz statement with great musicianship. The controversy the band caused with its appearance and title may partly be responsible for its success. The concept and performance is very interesting and original. This is a legendary Canterbury scene album and is without a doubt a must-listen! Recommended!"
ALotOfBottle 

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