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Electronic Meditation

Electronic Meditation
Thursday April 5th, 2018 with Sean McFee
Melodic Energy Commission

Musical overview of Melodic Energy Commission, the great space rock group from Vancouver. Because they have so much music worth hearing, I will try not to spend too much time talking so that it can all fit. Here is some reading material you can peruse while listening! Information: http://www.aural-innovations.com/issues/issue5/mec01.html http://alienatedinvancouver.blogspot.ca/2008/07/melodic-energy-commission-gig-july-13th.html https://issuu.com/bcmusicianmagazine/docs/usfg_9th_annual_2017/62 Reviews: http://www.aural-innovations.com/issues/issue31/mec02.html http://aural-innovations.com/blog/2013/page/7/ The story, from Xaliman: The Franklin Bros. added a prelude to the formation of Melodic Energy Commission. I brought the name but they supplied the safe space to bring the recordings together. "Deep in the sodden marshes of the Fraser river delta a small enclave of Franklins toiled with artistic caprice on the transformation of physical motion into sound and then into magnetic patterns which could be stored and released at will. Wickham the Elder suggested that there may be others on parallel paths and summoned the Aegidiussen to concoct a rune that would notify those able to decipher of the Franklin's existence. Fortunately Xaliman was able to pass the test and after a fruitful collaboration Stranger in Mystery was unveiled. One year later Wickham the Elder left on a quest and a despondent Lindsay the Younger was left alone fighting off unwarranted interference from the outside. Fearing that the universe was evolving too slowly to gain the necessary momentum for awareness Lindsay the Younger conjured a musical mystery called Migration of the Snails as a charm against further interference. Upon returning Wickham the Elder realised that the problem was too great for the Franklins alone and called down the Xaliman from his moonly ruminations. They then embarked on a year long quest to realize the entire long lost scripts that composed Migration of the Snails in its entirety."
The first iteration of the group released two albums and worked on a third one which was not completed. The members appearing on both albums were Mark Franklin, Randy Raine-Reusch, George McDonald, Paul Franklin, Del Dettmar, and Xaliman. Dettmar had previously played with Hawkwind and was later to play with Space Ritual.

Stranger in Mystery (1979)
Silver Spider
Melodic Energy Commission - Moon Phase Compendium (Stranger in Mystery) - Vapor Canadian
Scientific
Melodic Energy Commission - Moon Phase Compendium (Stranger in Mystery) - Vapor Canadian
Stranger in Mystery
Melodic Energy Commission - Moon Phase Compendium (Stranger in Mystery) - Vapor Canadian
Day on Gate Street / Then Night
Melodic Energy Commission - Moon Phase Compendium (Stranger in Mystery) - Vapor Canadian
You can hear some Gong-like whimsy in the music, and a combination of synthesizers and exotic instruments from around the world married with standard rock instrumentation. Most of the group were multi-instrumentalists. George McDonald is a Theremin specialist and has built several of them, in addition to being a guitarist. Randy Raine-Reusch brought an interest in world music and its instrumentation. Dettmar was particularly into synthesizers and electronics. Xaliman was another multi-instrumentalist, covering guitar, synth, and tuned percussion. Paul Franklin was on drums/percussion/keys, and Mark Franklin was on bass.

Migration of the Snails (1980) features some additional musicians, and female vocals from "Otter". The intention was to get writing from everyone in the group; they were all told to go away and write music about snails.
Escargot
Melodic Energy Commission - Moon Phase Compendium (Migration of the Snails) - Vapor Canadian
Off On A Current
Melodic Energy Commission - Moon Phase Compendium (Migration of the Snails) - Vapor Canadian
Gastropods in Transit
Melodic Energy Commission - Moon Phase Compendium (Migration of the Snails) - Vapor Canadian
Doorway Into Summer
Melodic Energy Commission - Moon Phase Compendium (Migration of the Snails) - Vapor Canadian
Later material before the hiatus... the group worked on a third album which would have been called M=E/C2 ("melody over energy equals consciousness, squared"), but it was not released. The Melody is Energy single dates from 1981 and features two songs that would have appeared. For this single the line-up is Xaliman / Raine-Reusch / McDonald, plus Ed Van Benthem and Rod Booth.

The song "What Would You Say" also appeared on a compilation called Vancouver Independence. This track features four of the original six members.

Not Like Dominoes was recorded live in studio in the same period. Same personnel as the Melody is Energy single except without Raine-Reusch. They did a celebrated show opening for Captain Beefheart around this time.

"Crossing the Sacred Sea" appeared on the 1982 compilation Stitching Small Tears, which I featured on the show a few weeks ago. Only Xaliman and George McDonald are credited as composers.
Melody is Energy
Melodic Energy Commission - Melody is Energy - Energy Canadian
Not Like Dominoes
Melodic Energy Commission - . Canadian
Night Rhythm
Melodic Energy Commission - Melody is Energy - Energy Canadian
Crossing the Sacred Sea (within the royal almond garden of the king)
Melodic Energy Commission - Stitching Small Tears - Alien Replicant Canadian
Time is a Slippery Concept (2004). Hinted at in the Aural Innovations interview, this was the unfinished business release, compiling recordings from 1988 through 2004. All the original members appear except Dettmar, as well as Van Benthem and Booth. Newcomers include Azul Salvaje on violin among many others, although it should be emphasized that this is a loose grouping of musicians over 16 years, with the primary unifying theme being Xaliman's drive to archive and release the music.
For Sure
Melodic Energy Commission - Time is a Slippery Concept - Energy Canadian
Moon Surfing
Melodic Energy Commission - Time is a Slippery Concept - Energy Canadian
Figure It
Melodic Energy Commission - Time is a Slippery Concept - Energy Canadian
Underground Summit
Melodic Energy Commission - Time is a Slippery Concept - Energy Canadian
Wave Packet (2013). Entirely instrumental. "Space jazz" and no small amount of world music influence. The line-up for this album includes Xaliman, Raine-Reusch, McDonald, Paul Franklin, Thom Evans, and Salvaje, with numerous other musicians appearing on at least three tracks.
Evening Layers
Melodic Energy Commission - Wave Packet - Energy Canadian
Tidal Nomads
Melodic Energy Commission - Wave Packet - Energy Canadian
Molecular Reorganizer
Melodic Energy Commission - Wave Packet - Energy Canadian
New and not yet released. On the Beach (2015) features Xaliman and the two Franklins.

The Holey Trilogy is new (2017/2018) and the first two parts have been released on Youtube. Musicians include Xaliman, George McDonald, Thom Evans, Andrew Kim, and Camillia Frey.

There are apparently 2 CDs worth of material that have been recorded in the last couple of years. Hopefully we will see it soon!
On the Beach
Melodic Energy Commission - . Canadian
Hole in Timeless
Melodic Energy Commission - . Canadian
Hole in the Box
Melodic Energy Commission - . Canadian
For more information about the band, or to buy their music, you can check out their website here: http://melodicenergy.com/
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