Slapp Happy — Acnalbasac Noom
(Tapete TR356, 1973/2016, CD/LP)
by Henry Schneider, 2017-01-21:
After recording Sort Of, a second album emerged but Polydor pulled the plug and Uwe Nettelbeck signed both Faust and Slapp Happy to the burgeoning Virgin label in the UK. They re-recorded the music with UK musicians along with all the studio bells and whistles for the 1974 release Slapp Happy aka Casablanca Moon. The original tapes were buried in the vault, eventually seeing the light of day in 1980 as Acnalbasac Noom. 36 years later Tapete Records is reissuing this album as both an LP and CD with four bonus tracks on the CD. As with Sort Of, I believe that the Tapete reissue is the same as the earlier Voiceprint reissue. A big difference between Sort Of, where the vocal duties were equally shared across the disc, and Acnalbasac Noom is that Dagmar Krause sings lead on all but the bonus tracks. Dagmar’s voice is rightly noted as an acquired taste, but on Acnalbasac Noom her vocal stylings are still “mainstream” and easy on the ears, reminding me of Annisette Koppel from The Savage Rose. The songs on the album are a continuation of Anthony Moore’s take on the music of the time. The lyrics on some of the songs are so dense with words that they must have been extremely challenging to sing and be satisfied with the take. Once again there is a mixture of cabaret, Euro-pop, country rock, rockabilly, and prog rock. There is even a 16 second track of silence “Blank” that must be a reference to John Cage. The one track that seems really out of place is the bonus track “Everybody’s Slimmin’.” This is a pseudo-disco / New Wave / Hip Hop / Rap song with crazy twisted lyrics with a great dance beat, somewhat in the style of M and “Pop Music.” Of these two albums, Sort Of is the better. While not an essential album from the early 70s, any fan of Slapp Happy, Henry Cow, Art Bears, etc. would find Acnalbasac Noom a welcome addition to their collection.
by Jon Davis, 2007-03-01:Dagmar Krause’s singing tends to be one of those divisive factors in music. A lot of people really detest her voice, mostly due to what they’ve heard on later recordings like Art Bears. For those people, the good news is that she’s less extreme on this album. She does most of the singing on the tunes of Anthony Moore and Peter Blegvad, and I feel her intonation is a bit off at times, and her delivery sometimes awkward (not surprising given the often tricky lyrics and unusual melodies). But there’s something oddly appealing about the overall result. Admittedly that’s a very subjective statement, but this is after all a review, not a news item. The style here runs a fair gamut, from twisted cabaret to art rock to pseudo-bossa-nova and near-tango to what you could describe as 60s girl group parody. The instrumental parts are played somewhat sloppily, an intentional choice I expect. While this music is by no means epic, a lot of craft went into the compositions, which take established pop conventions and turn them on their sides. Four bonus tracks are added: the throwaway disco exercise joke “Everybody’s Slimmin’”; a pair of tracks that later ended up on Blegvad solo albums; and a single Krause composition, the odd and intriguing “Messages.” As a Henry Cow and Peter Blegvad fan, this album had been on my wish list for many years, and it’s nice to finally have a copy. Worthy if not essential.
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more