Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Microtonal Youth


In the late 70s my rugged good looks and corruptible charm got me hired by two confirmed bachelors who ran and worked the machines of Europadisk out of three rooms in Hell's Kitchen in Manhattan. With equipment imported by another confirmed bachelor who had been a member of the Vienna Boys Choir before his family fled the Nazis in 1939, Europadisk brought German technology and precision to record stamper manufacturing in the US. Since premium prices applied, most of the work came from audiophile and specialty labels like Artists House along with a few big stars like Neil Young from the majors. One day I heard unearthly sounds from the owner's quality control listening station that were not in this case Ornette Coleman. The guilty party turned out to be a New Jersey one-stop that would make a concert recording of your school's orchestra in your auditorium and deliver you a finished fundraising LP pressed and packaged. Why such a modest operation had chosen Europadisk was unclear. Portsmouth Sinfonia is an easy reference for these field recordings, since English intellectuals struggling to control the unfamiliar instruments in their hands sound pretty much like Garden State middle school kids doing the same. Instead of Portsmouth's classical warhorses, the local repertoire mixes pop favorites like The Syncopated Clock (ubiquitous Afternoon Movie theme in ages past) with unfamiliar* tunes, perhaps band director originals, played and received with great enthusiasm. I ended up taking home around twenty of the label's one-sided lacquers that were due to be tossed and this is the stuff I saved on cassette.

01 This Is It!*
02 Whistle While You Work
03 Elephants*
04 Hall Of Horn*
05 Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001: A Space Odyssey)
06 White Christmas
07 Beatle Expo '79 
08 Caravan
09 Evergreen (Love Theme From A Star Is Born)
10 The Syncopated Clock
11 Jellybean Sunday*
12 More (Theme From Mondo Cane)
13 Earth Man Discotheque*

10 comments:

Lucky said...

Ah, reservatory!

A NEW post at Dusty Psychic Hut is a reason to pay attention!! And what an interesting post!! Portsmouth Sinfonia and the title are hints enough for me to go for it. Thanks a lot for collecting and sharing this. Sometimes I get sentimental and think about the times when four of us posted on this blog, inspiring each other...

Cheers,
Lucky

reservatory said...

Thanks for the thanks! I am sorry I could not transport all the too large heavy fragile lacquers themselves when I moved across the country and can only dream of what treasures from the same label might have come through before and after me. Young and innocent days indeed.

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alfred venison said...

i'm looking forward to hearing this, thank you very much. -a.v.