A Clockwork Orange: The Complete Original Score

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CBS 73059; construction by Karenlee Grant, photo by David Vine (1972).

A1 Timesteps (13:50)
A2 March From A Clockwork Orange (7:00)
B1 Title Music From A Clockwork Orange (2:21)
B2 La Gazza Ladra (5:50)
B3 Theme From A Clockwork Orange (1:44)
B4 Ninth Symphony: Second Movement (4:52)
B5 William Tell Overture (1:17)
B6 Country Lane (4:43)

Viddy well the stuff of obsessions, O my brothers: Kubrick, cover design and electronic music in one convenient 12-inch package. Those of us in Britain who were too young to see A Clockwork Orange during its initial run had to wait a long time for its re-release after Stanley K withdrew the film from circulation. Until bootleg VHS copies started to turn up in the Eighties I knew the film mostly from the MAD Magazine parody and the soundtrack album which was ubiquitous in secondhand record shops. Having become familiar with the score, an extra layer of frustration was added when it became apparent that two soundtrack albums had appeared in the Seventies, the “official” one, which was a mix of the orchestral and electronic music used in the film, and another which contained all the music Walter (later Wendy) Carlos recorded.

The Wendy Carlos music was the principal attraction for this electronic music obsessive and I fretted for a long while trying to find a copy of her Complete Original Score album which was paraded in all its elusive glory on old CBS vinyl inner sleeves. Half the tracks are present on the official release but the omissions are crucial: Timesteps, the incredible composition which accompanies Alex’s first deprogramming session was edited down from thirteen to five minutes, there was Carlos’s Moog version of Rossini’s La Gazza Ladra (an orchestral version is used in the film) and also an original piece, Country Lane, intended to accompany Alex’s police brutality session at the hands of his former droogs. This score was one of the first projects to successfully incorporate a vocoder into electronic compositions; Carlos’s regular collaborator Rachel Elkind provided the vocalisations. Finally securing a copy was no disappointment, in fact I was overwhelmed. This is still my favourite Wendy Carlos album and one of my top five favourite analogue synth albums. The transcription of La Gazza Ladra is nothing short of miraculous, thundering away with the power of a full orchestra yet created by laboriously recording one note at a time. (Wendy Carlos’s very thorough website goes into detail about the recording process.)

Continue reading “A Clockwork Orange: The Complete Original Score”

Scott Walker on film

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Scott Walker: 30 Century Man is a long-overdue look at one of the most influential and enigmatic figures in rock history. The film will explore his music and career, from his early days as a jobbing bass player on the Sunset Strip, to mega-stardom in Britain’s swinging 60s pop scene as lead singer of The Walker Brothers, to his evolution into one of the most astonishing soundmakers of the last few decades.

He’s 63 years old and has just released his first album in over 10 years, The Drift on 4 AD Records. The film features exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of the making of the album as well as interviews with friends, collaborators, and fans including, among others:

David Bowie, Radiohead, Jarvis Cocker (Pulp), Brian Eno, Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz), Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy), Marc Almond, Alison Goldfrapp, Sting, Dot Allison, Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins), Richard Hawley, Rob Ellis, Johnny Marr, Gavin Friday, Lulu, Peter Olliff, Angela Morley, Ute Lemper, Ed Bicknell, Evan Parker, Benjamin Biolay, Hector Zazou, Mo Foster, Phil Sheppard, Pete Walsh, and more.

Directed by Stephen Kijak, who brought you the delightfully deranged documentary CINEMANIA (a profile of 5 of NYC’s most manic film buffs), this is a different form of obsession altogether. Inspiring god-like devotion from fans, Scott Walker’s has a cult that has grown considerably since his 1995 release Tilt, a dark and difficult masterwork. His new album takes that sound further than anyone could have imagined?

Collaborators include acclaimed DP/Director Grant Gee (Radiohead: Meeting People is Easy) and Graham Wood, formerly of legendary design collective Tomato.

Produced by Mia Bays, Liz Rose and Stephen Kijak

Associate Producer: Gale Harold

Executive Producer: David Bowie

On release in the UK from April 27th. Details here.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Exodus art and Plague Songs
The Drift by Scott Walker

Queer Noises

queer_noises.jpgBeyond Bowie and Frankie, there’s a whole secret history of gay pop, reports Alexis Petridis

‘Wilder, madder, gayer than a Beatle’s hairdo’

It was the love that dare not sing its name—or was it? Beyond Bowie and Frankie, there’s a whole secret history of gay pop, reports Alexis Petridis

Tuesday July 4, 2006
The Guardian

The year 1966 is known as rock’s annus mirabilis. It was the year the right musicians found the right technology and the right drugs to catapult pop into hitherto unimagined realms of invention and sophistication: the year of the Beatles’ Revolver, the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde. But the most astonishing record of 1966 did not emanate from the unbounded imagination of Brian Wilson, or from an Abbey Road studio wreathed in pot smoke. Instead, it was the work of hapless instrumental combo the Tornados.

By 1966, the Tornados’ moment of glory—with 1962 number one Telstar—had long passed; they hadn’t had a hit in three years and every original member had departed. The single they released that year, Is That a Ship I Hear?, was their last. Tucked away on its B-side, the track Do You Come Here Often? attracted no attention, which was probably just as well. A year before the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality, the Tornados’ producer, Joe Meek, had taken it upon himself to record and release Britain’s first explicitly gay rock song, apparently undaunted by his own conviction for cottaging in 1963.

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The Absolute Elsewhere

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I’ve had the late RT Gault’s extraordinary web achive linked on my main site for years but thought it was worth giving it another plug here. The title of his site, The Absolute Elsewhere, comes from the equally extraordinary Pauwels and Bergier book, The Morning of the Magicians, a unique concoction of fact, fiction and speculation that runs through alchemy, potential developments in human evolution, Forteana, Arthur Machen and Nazi mysticism, among a host of topics. This was the book that launched a thousand lesser crank volumes in the 1970s and also had a surreptitious influence on works as diverse as Shea and Wilson’s Illuminatus! trilogy and David Bowie’s Hunky Dory album.

Gault described his site thus:

This is a bibliography of visionary, occult, new age, fringe science, strange and even crackpot works published between 1945 and 1988. Added to the mix are some other works which may relate to them, or at least give a sense of the spirit of the times. The main emphasis is upon works produced between 1960 and 1980, as the subtitle suggests.

and it’s his wonderful collection of paperback covers that’s the chief delight here. One can wish for the scans to be slightly higher quality and for the collection to be more extensive but what’s there is well worth a look, if only to see how lurid paperback styles evolve over the course of a couple of decades.

The web is an increasingly valuable repository for people with collections like this. Some of Mr Gault’s other pages seem to have gone offline but his Arthur Machen pages are still there with a nice gallery of rare editions. Other favourite archive sites would include the Violet Books galleries, the Vintage Paperbacks site, and the hilariously silly Gay on the Range, which I’ve mentioned before.

Update: Following Gault’s death the site has been deleted so I’ve updated the links to the Wayback Machine’s archive. There’s also a mirror of the site here.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The book covers archive