Saturday, 15 July 2017


Ernie Fischbach and Charles Ewing "A Cid Symphony"

The first pop triple album, although it is pop only in the sense that it was recorded by young American musicians. This conglomeration grew out of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement aligning musicians, artists, poets and print makers. The input from the visual media is significant because overall the album is nicer to look at than it is to listen to. Each of the three records is pressed on different coloured vinyl with square labels and coloured inners in a brightly coloured bag or box with additional inserts. It is a nice memento of the early days of the Californian hippie dream of peace and love, making music and living in a tent.  

The music is played entirely on acoustic instruments such as dulcimer, guitar, harmonica, hand-held drums and bells. It is mostly instrumental with a small amount of spoken word material. Much of the album is taken up with modal improvisations on guitar and dulcimer accompanied by percussion. These are reminiscent of the version of "La Golondrina" as played in the movie "The Wild Bunch" only they never arrive at a fixed melody. There is a tonal centre to these improvisations and they never slip out of tune but the melodies never develop anywhere interesting but just circle around each other. This impression is not helped by none of the tracks having individualised names but are just numbered sequentially depending which side of the records they are on.

The album does feature an impressive recording of a printing press in full operation, so that is something.

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