Tag Archives: Moog

LP 294: Simon Park – Venus Fly Trap (EMI, 1975)

8 Sep

Side 1
01 Venus Fly Trap
02 I Can’t Stand The Rain
03 This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us
04 Soul Sarabande
05 5.56 Boogie

Side 2
06 Tides
07 Lay Lady Lay
08 Oh, You Pretty Things
09 Remember When
10 (There’s) Always Something There To Remind Me

Venus Fly Trap is Simon Park’s follow-up to Something In The Air and emerged on the EMI label during 1975.

The title track is one of four self-penned numbers. It features contrasting light / dark moog sounds with some furious percussion and organ work. 5.56 Boogie (just over four minutes long) continues this edgy vibe with an organic proto-1980s synth melody beloved of industrial documentaries. On the other hand Soul Sarabande is a gentle shimmering flute-glider that should have been used for romantic scenes in Crossroads. The dramatic keys of Tides complete this most satisfying quartet of tracks.

Other treats in store for you include a most atmospheric stab at I Can’t Stand The Rain and a suitably manic cover of killer Sparks number This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us. Squelch! Lay Lady Lay is transformed into a drugged-up six minute odyssey of sparse electronics and fractured chords while the surprising Bowie cover is from Hunky Dory – Oh, You Pretty Things – nice violin work. I’m led to believe that library supremo Roger Webb penned Remember When – a beautiful romantic number that’s wonderfully melodic and should really have closed the LP instead of the workmanlike version of (There’s) Always Something There To Remind Me .

Comments and feedback are welcome.


LP 289: Gil Trythall – Country Moog: Switched On Nashville (Festival, 1971)

28 Aug

Side 1
01 Foggy Mountain Breakdown
02 Folsom Prison Blues
03 Last Date
04 Harper Valley P.T.A.
05 Cattle Call
06 Gentle On My Mind

Side 2
07 Wildwood Flower
08 Orange Blossom Special
09 Walking The Floor Over You
10 Little Green Apples
11 Yakety Moog

Back in 1970 Gil Trythall was composer and faculty member at Peabody School of Music. As a native Tennessean, he was a big country music fan and combined this with his electronic expertise to create this unique LP under the supervision of Rick Powell.

After a sped-up and insane Foggy Mountain Breakdown the LP settles down happily with melancholy moogy twangs as Folsom Prison Blues and Last Date boom out of the speakers. Other highlights include Cattle Call – a spooky and almost mournful piece calling to mind rural isolation – and a slowed down Little Green Apples that’s just creepy.

Hillbillies in space…


LP 273: Simon Park – Something In The Air (EMI, 1974)

6 Aug

Side 1
01 Funeral For A Friend
02 He’s Misstra Know It All
03 I Am The Walrus
04 Cowboy
05 7.48 Stomp

Side 2
06 Something In The Air
07 Palamino
08 The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
09 Sunbird
10 Honky Tonk Women

It’s hard to believe it nowadays but Simon Park had a UK Number 1 in 1973 with Eye Level, better known as the theme from Van Der Valk (the detective show set in Amsterdam and starring Barry “Frenzy” Morse). Take a bow record public.

The follow LP was called Something In The Air and is an altogether different beast. It starts with a malevolent surge of doom-laden electronics before a pummelling cascade of moog, bass guitars and mental percussion takes over. The track is Elton John’s Funeral For A Friend. A lush antitode in the form of a sublime He’s Misstra Know It All is next – a sweet concotion indeed which contains a wholesome taste of flute.

A crazed organ psych version of I Am The Walrus comes afterwards before an odd choice – the moody and downbeat Cowboy (originally written by Randy Newman). To round off this entirely magnificent opening half Simon treats us to one of his own compositions – the epic speed lounge that is 7.48 Stomp which comes complete with epic prog breakdown halfway through.

After a decent bash at the title track it’s time for a Jack Trombey tune. Palamino’s the name – and shades of Morricone’s the game. With a pinch of deranged wah-wah classical for good measure. Another Park goodie is the brief but memorable sundown moog groove of Sunbird. On the final lap it’s another treat – a tasty and lengthy Honky Tonk Women.

Comments and feedback are welcome.


LP 265: Hugo Montenegro – Love Theme From The Godfather (RCA, 1972)

26 Jul

Side 1
01 Medley: Baby Elephant Walk / Moon River
02 Norwegian Wood
03 Me And My Arrow
04 Air On The G String
05 Quadimodo

Side 2
06 I Feel The Earth Move
07 The Godfather Waltz
08 Love Theme From The Godfather
09 Pavanne
10 Stutterology

Along with Moog Power, Love Theme From The Godfather remains one of the high points in Hugo Montenegro’s catalogue. It’s a Quadradisc – a whole new world of sound – for no more money.

It begins with a blast of movie Mancini – the hypnotic medley of Baby Elephant Walk and Moon River. This is carried through to a heady and lush version of Norwegian Wood. The fairground swirl of Me And My Arrow maintains this feeling exotica while Montengero’s take on I Feel Earth Move is a lively groover of electronic mayhem.

The remaining tracks can be paired off as follows:
Classical – wonderful and atmospheric renditions of Air On A G String and Pavanne.
Godfather grooves – a nicely arranged Waltz followed by the menacing and synth-driven title track.
Homegrown – John Montengro contributes the quirky rhythms of Quadimodo while Hugo finishes the LP with the sinister xylophone-meets-strings groove that is Stutterology.

Comments and feedback are welcome.


LP 260: Mort Garson – Mother Earth’s Plantasia (Homewood, 1976)

19 Jul

Side 1
01 Plantasia
02 Symphony For A Spider Plant
03 Baby’s Tears Blues
04 Ode To An African Violet
05 Concerto For Philodendron & Pothos

Side 2
06 Rhapsody In Green
07 Swingin’ Spathiphyllums
08 You Don’t Have To Walk A Begonia
09 A Mellow Mood For Maidenhair
10 Music To Soothe The Savage Snake Plant

Mort Garson’s final album is probably his strangest in a long line of weird but wonderful LPs. Mother Earth’s Plantasia was released on the Homewood label just as the long hot summer of 1976 was coming to a close. If you were living in southern California and were lucky enough to purchase a Simmons’ mattress from one of their local stores then you may have been given a free copy of this album with your bedding.

The premise is “Warm earth music for plants and the people who love them”. The title track is a forlorn and evocative soundscape of shimmering melodies while Baby’s Tears Blues would make the perfect soundtrack for a child’s monitor – all tinny synths and bonkers keyboards. Ode To An African Violet is more minimal in delivery with a moody refrain pulsating under a delightful arrangement. Think of Warp records and Plone.

The second side of the LP finishes very strongly with the edgy melancholia of A Mellow Mood For Maidenhair before the downbeat strains of Music To Soothe The Savage Snake Plant come crashing in. All of this madness is accompanied by a very detailed and descriptive plant care booklet which makes for compelling reading.

Comments and feedback are welcome.


LP 259: Andrew Kazdin and Thomas Z Shepard – Everything You Always Wanted To Hear On The Moog (CBS, 1973)

17 Jul

Side 1
01 Chabrier: España
02 Lecuona: Malagueña
03 Bizet:
(a) Carmen: Prelude To Act I
(b) Habanera: Introduction To Act I

Side 2
04 Ravel: Bolero

Don’t be afraid to ask…

Take two CBS producers from their Masterworks department and hook them up with oscillators, filters and amplifiers. A Moog cookbook with four classics as the recipes.

The material is uniformly strong but the true high points are the grooved-up Habanera and meandering yet hypnotic side-long Bolero.

Comments and feedback are welcome.


LP 246: John Keating Incorporated – Hits in Hi-Fi 1 (Studio 2 Quadraphonic, 1974)

28 Jun

Side 1
01 Love’s Theme
02 Touch Me In The Morning
03 You Are The Sunshine Of My Life
04 Eye Level
05 Dreaming

Side 2
06 Never Never Gonna Give You Up
07 You’re So Vain
08 The Show Must Go On
09 Vado Via
10 Where You Lead

The blurb on the back:

This unique record is truly contemporary. The songs are all from the 70s and are performed entirely (with the exception of the rhythm section) on electronic keyboard instruments, some of which at the time of recording were prototypes.

Hits in Hi-Fi 1 was released between the two volumes of Keating’s Space Experience. It’s a lush listening experience which reinforces the record’s reputation as prime “stereo demonstration” material. Two Barry White tracks are featured – the smooth Love’s Theme and the spacey moog sounds of Never Never Gonna Give You Up – while Stevie Wonder’s You Are The Sunshine Of My Love is like floating candyfloss.

I’m particularly fond of the fat synths on Eye Level (theme to Van Der Valk) made famous by The Simon Park Orchestra in 1973. Watch out for a couple of Simon’s LPs coming to Spiral 2 over the next couple of months. The eerie Dreaming appears to be a Keating composition – credited to “M and K Keating”.

Leo Sayer fans should dig a catchy rendition of The Show Must Go On, complete with wonky synths while it’s always a pleasure to relax to Vado Via. The version here is as good as the one on Percy Faith’s Corazón. The LP finishes with another Carole King number (I Feel The Earth Move had kicked off Space Experience) – the cluttered-sounding Where You Lead.

Comments and feedback are welcome.