Exposé Online banner

Sigmund Snopek III — Virginia Woolf
(Music Is Intelligence WMMS 042, 1972/1994, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1995-03-01

Virginia Woolf Cover artWell, leave it to Peter Wustmann of WMMS to unearth something so totally obscure and unclassifiable that time had nearly forgotten about it. Sigmund Snopek III and the Bloomsbury People existed in the early seventies in and around Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Virginia Woolf was one of several equally obscure albums released by this assemblage, a bizarre yet compelling mixture of progressive rock, classical, pop, jazz, psych, beat poetry, and general avant-garde weirdness. The music here, to my untrained ears, sounds a bit older than it really is, as if from around '68, give or take a year. The basic band is a six-piece, led by Snopek on keys, electronics and backing vocals. Lead vocalist James Gorton doubles on 12 string guitar, and reminds me regularly of Jim Morrison in his mellower moments. The balance of the band features electric and acoustic guitars, bass, drums, and percussion. Additional musicians are brought in on saxes, flute, more guitars, and violins. The string arrangements and the way they are used tend to give the music the 'Left Banke' treatment (if you don't know what I'm talking about, go listen to the LB hit "Walk Away Renee" from the 60s). Overall execution gets a little sloppy at times, but overall the playing is tight when it needs to be. Of course, being an independent production from the early 70s, the recording quality is not so great, but par for the time. If this isn't enough, a couple bonus tracks have been added, including a seventeen minute piece "Lifencave Book Two," recorded in '73, mixing sound effects, VCS3 synth and Mellotron with harmonized group recitations of four pieces of poetry. Also included is a twelve minute version of "Orange/Blue" (second and third tracks on the original album), sans vocals, recorded in 1987. What? That's right, apparently these guys are still together and playing (although only Snopek and drummer Michael Lorenz remain from the original lineup). Despite its age or perceived age, this music is surprisingly captivating. I was a bit put off by the first couple listens, but after a couple of these tunes snuck into my subconscious and followed me around for a few days, I had to give it another chance. Glad I did. Probably not for everyone, though.

Filed under: Reissues, Issue 6, 1994 releases, 1972 recordings

Related artist(s): Sigmund Snopek III

Latest news

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more

2021-02-10
Chick Corea RIP – The sad news has reached us that Chick Corea has Returned to Forever, so to speak. The innovative keyboardist and composer died on February 9 at the age of 79. With a career that spanned from the 60s until shortly before his death, Corea touched many listeners with the incredible variety of music he produced in his lifetime. » Read more

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Emiliano Sicilia - Devotion Materialize – Now that we are in the era of cut-and-paste music, there are many more possibilities for bizarre juxtaposition of sounds and styles than back in the days of tape editing. Italian guitarist Emiliano...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues