"There is so much groovy music here..." WHERE TO START???

I recommend to
start with the HLFP-Samplers (especially HLFP 04).
Here you will come to know many of the bands/musicians featured in this blog. If you like what you hear, you may check out more of their music later on.
(You may also click on the picture on the sidebar and you will find the original post with download links.)

There is also a "FOCUS ON..." section. Here you will find albums that in my opinion are absolutely great (***** = "five-stars-recordings") and that are essential listening and strongly recommended for download.

Please don't send me any more music submissions

and emails until further announcement!

I TRY to RE-UP some stuff that has been down from time to

time, but I still don't have enough time to

listen to/post much new stuff.


IMPRESSUM: see here!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Karen Cooper Complex - Shinjuku Birdwalk (USA 1981)


When I heard the first few seconds of You Can't Have It... I was already blown away by this amazing band. What was that? Sounded like a mixture of CAN early/mid-70s pre-punk-krautrock and YOKO ONO, but with a more Wave/Post Punk approach. Anyway: What makes this band so fascinating is that you think of a hundred different bands when you listen to them, but at the same time KAREN COOPER COMPLEX sound like noone else. They are loose and than all at once sound heavily structured... And quite far out anytime!

We refer to it as "Analog Music from a Lost World" — previously unreleased post-punk experimental rock from 1981, unlike anything else recorded before or after. (Bill Altice)

Great band!

"The Karen Cooper Complex line goes all the way back to Big Naptar, a six-piece band featuring two sax players, formed in 1970 here in Richmond, that Frank Daniel, Steve Bernard and I all played in. In those days, we were attempting to force a marriage between elemental rock and free jazz. At the same time, Wm. Burke (aka Key Ring Torch) and Bo Jacob (aka Bo Janne Valvoline) were playing with local oddball legends, the Titfield Thunderbolt. Jacob eventually left to go on the road as a sound man for Parliament/Funkadelic and Burke later went solo, calling his act, Wm. Burke's Hideous Truth.

In the late 70's Steve Bernard and a rotating cast of musicians and non-musicians who called themselves I Saw a Bulldozer, recorded a series of private party tapes, organized around three or four female vocalists who wrote Surrealist-style "Exquisite Corpse" lyrics and chanted them in unison in front of a band, coming across something like a female, beatnik version of the Last Poets, who were more interested in art than politics.

Frank Daniel then plucked Karen Cooper out of the Bulldozer lineup and made her an integral, impulsive instrument in a band that played loosely structured, improvisational rock that was more "Bitches Brew" than Grateful Dead, if that makes sense. From my perspective, all these years later, Karen sounds like an unbridled outsider artist who's simultaneously sending and receiving while the band churns around her. This isn't jazz, and it wasn't intended to be, but we were obviously listening, responding and playing off of each other in the same way more technically proficient improvisers do.

Four of us were also DJs on a local independent radio station and when I listen to this music now, it sounds to me like we'd clearly digested enough influences that I won't try to list any of them in particular — at the risk of omitting as much as I could include.

After the first sessions, Burt Blackburn stepped in for Steve Bernard, who was already living 200 miles away in the foothills of the Blue Ridge, and Bo Jacob, who'd gone back out with Randy Newman, was replaced by the first drum machine in town.

Just as things really began to gel, Karen, who was married to Les Smith, informed us that she was expecting — and the band never played live — in fact, from that point, it never played again at all.

Frank Daniel died of complications of Type I diabetes in 2004 and I've collected and digitized this volume as a salute to his memory and in hopes that someone out there will listen to this music and say 'Good work, Frank. Thanks.' "

(- Bill Altice, Feb 2010 – quoted from: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Karen_Cooper_Complex/ )

Favourite tracks: You Can't Have It/Shinjuku Birdwalk; Heads (In the Other Room); Beeswax; but that whole thing is truly amazing

(USA 1981)
(mp3-zip, 10 tracks, 48 min, 108,4 MB, fr. cover artwork incl.)
Get it here or here or here!


oledapra said...

very very great!

mike-floyd said...

Thanks for commenting!

mike-floyd said...

Got a mail from Bill Altice commenting on the short review. And he has the good news that SHINJUKU BIRDWALK will be released on vinyl soon.
Here's what he has written:


Thanks for the great review -- it was brief and completely on-target.
We've had more than twenty other write-ups from bloggers around the
world and no one else has written anything as concisely accurate as
your post.

Academy LPs in NYC is going to release "Shinjuku Birdwalk" on vinyl as
a double-LP sometime later in the year and I'm currently working on
Side 4, which is going to consist of "remixes" or new pieces built
partly on unreleased sections of the original tapes. I'm working with
former members of the Orthotonics, who recorded for Fred Frith in the

I'm also curating a section of WFMU's Free Music Archive and you
should check my link there occasionally to see if I've added something
you might like, including the above-mentioned Orthotonics, whose four
records should be up in the next month or two:


And since you're a writer with an interest in psychedelia, I urge you
to read (if you already have not) Bruno Schulz's "Street of
Crocodiles" (1934). It's a short book you may read through and find
yourself wanting to start over again immediately.

Thanks again for everything,
Bill Altice
Richmond, Virginia

Richard There said...

What a great album!!
I´m enjoying so much!
Thank´s for the review, Mike, and thank´s for the music!

mike-floyd said...

Thanks, Richard, for taking the time to comment!
By the way: You got a very interesting blog!

Richard There said...

Thank´s, Mike. Nice that you take a look on that! Did you hear the new music there?? I´m working on a new album now. Do you remember that I sended you an EP some mouths ago??

mike-floyd said...

Hi again, Richard,
I did not forget you, I got you in the waiting line and I definitely will post your music, though again: it may take some more time...

Hollie said...

This is gorgeous!