Peter Blegvad — Downtime Etc.
(East Side Digital ESD-81192, 1989/2001, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2002-09-01After Peter Blegvad’s first two solo albums (The Naked Shakespeare in 1983 and Knights Like This from 1985) failed to make much money for his record label, the former Slapp Happy songwriter found himself without a source of money to finance his next recordings. He managed to slip in cheaply at short notice during bits of time when a recording studio near his home found itself unbooked, thus the title of his 1989 release, Downtime. Like his earlier albums, the songs are witty and full of wry observations of life, probably a bit too literate for mainstream acceptance, but he strips down the instrumentation to a bare minimum. He is joined by John Greaves, Chris Cutler, Kristoffer Blegvad, Jakko Jakszyk, Tony Maimone, Phil Shaw, and Mick Hobbs for rather simple, loose arrangements that leave his guitar, voice, and words to shine. These songs are full of wonderful turns of phrase that really make me smile, like “I passed a man the other day, twice my age and half as drunk as I was” (“Strong, Simple Silences”), or the finale of the original album’s songs, “Crumb de la Crumb”: “The planet’s condemned, from sultan to skid row bum, from the crème de la crème to the crumb de la crumb.” For this rerelease, three tracks have been added, two of them (the piano and spoken word “Actual Frenzy,” which reminds me of Kew.Rhone, and the percussion with chanting of “The Green Boy”) stranger than the original songs, one that fits right in.
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more