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Electronic Meditation

Electronic Meditation
Thursday June 2nd, 2016 with Sean McFee
Gilbert Artman

It's art, man.
Part II
Clearlight - Symphony - Virgin Japan
Gilbert Artman is a musician and composer who has led two separate interesting initiatives over his career; the electronic rock group Lard Free and the drone / sound-sculpture ensemble Urban Sax. He studied under famed electronic composer Pierre Henry (with whom he would later collaborate) before starting Lard Free in the early 1970s.

We began the show with the second side of Clearlight's Symphony, because Artman played drums, vibraphone, and percussion on it, and because I love that album.

Now we will move to the works of Lard Free. They released three albums in the 70s followed by an archival release of early pieces in the 90s. Because I'm playing the material chronologically, we'll start with the archive. The music of Lard Free mixed together jazz, rock, and electronic (and electro-acoustic) music, with the latter element gradually taking more prominence. Artman collaborated with Richard Pinhas of Heldon; Pinhas appears on "I'm Around About Midnight", while Artman performed on Heldon's "Third: It's Only Rock and Roll"

Note that while Lard Free's music mixed together the styles mentioned, I did tend towards more electronic cuts for latter two albums here.
La chevauchée des vaches qui rient
Lard Free - Unnamed - Spalax
Radio framboise
Lard Free - Gilbert Artman's Lard Free - Spalax
Tatkooz à roulette
Lard Free - I'm Around About Midnight - Spalax
The third Lard Free is the best for me, serving as if a dark and menacing response to some of the German electronic music of the decade. It's the bucket of cold water on someone coming down off a high listening to Harmonia. Sometimes ambient, sometimes brutalist and mechanical, makes a great soundtrack for nightmares. It's made up of two side-long compositions, Spirale Malax and Synthetic Seasons. Artman plays keys, vibraphone, and drums, and there are additional musicians on guitar, EMS Synthi, and clarinet.
Spirale Malax
Lard Free - III - Spalax
At the same time Lard Free III was being released, Artman was just completing the first Urban Sax recording. Urban Sax is a project that is hard to describe; it is based around saxophone, and there's kind of a sound-sculpture thing going on. Drone, ambient, minimalism all comes to mind at first. Live, the group would have several cells of musicians potentially moving around, and there is also a theatrical component as they would typically play wearing gas masks etc. On record this visual component is obviously lost, but the music itself holds up well.

On the first album Urban Sax consists of 16 saxophones, eight alto and eight tenor. On the second album there are 27 saxophonists, a gong-player, and a choir. Later albums add increasing musicians to Mahlerian proportions (well, by rock standards).
Part Two
Urban Sax - Urban Sax - Celluloid
Part Four
Urban Sax - Urban Sax 2 - Celluloid
Following the first two albums there was a collaboration with Pierre Henry, an installation/recording at Expo 86 in Vancouver, a performance/recording from Jakarta, a reduced version of the group called Quad Sax, and other permutations. Finally in 2014 a lavish CD/DVD/LP called Inside was released, which allows a fuller live experience as there is a video component to be experienced. On this recording I count 55 musicians, + the choir, + the members of Quad Sax.

Compared to the music of 35 years before, this is much more peaceful and refined, almost a mass chamber music as if that isn't a contradiction in terms. I will play material from this album with the time remaining.
More Slowly Please
Urban Sax - Inside - Urban Noisy
So Noisy
Urban Sax - Inside - Urban Noisy
Termites Attack Inside My Brain
Urban Sax - Inside - Urban Noisy
Shijingshan Ballad
Urban Sax - Inside - Urban Noisy
Interactive CKCU
mark k
Urban Sax... every time I hear it I say, damn gotta get me some of that. Then I don't because I'm old and forget

8:32 AM, June 2nd, 2016
Sean McFee (host)
The distribution on them certainly isn't great... there appears to be new reissues on Wah Wah but vinyl.

12:52 AM, June 3rd, 2016