"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!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Vertigo Swirl - A New Swirled Record (2010)

I know that quite some of you have been waiting for this: a second VERTIGO SWIRL album - "A New Swirled Record". And what a great album it is again! This time Brian Andrew Marek brings on board his old mate "Manik" Myk Thompson, and together they present us quite a collection of fantastic songs - from the reflective "Loneliness Is a Choice" to more lighthearted tracks like "Got Yer Back". And we also get some jam based tracks like "Third Sun from the Stone". What else could we ask for - if not for: MORE, PLEASE!


"In late 2009, "Manik" Myk Thompson suggested we revive our long dormant collaboration with some recording of an experimental/psychedelic nature. I countered by suggesting that we do so with the goal of a recording a second album under The Vertigo Swirl identity. We began with a day of improvisation that yielded "Jeremy's First Flight", "Third Sun from the Stone" and the compositional beginnings of "The Megalith". I added my contributions to some tracks that Myk had begun at home ("We've Got Electricity", "Molehill Sherpa", "Loneliness Is a Choice" and "Got Yer Back") while he, in turn, added guitar to my own pet projects ("You Belong in Outer Space" and "The Megalith"), a couple of guest performers did their thing and, voila, we had a new swirled record - eight paths of excess trod by two psychedelic brothers in arms."

Q: How did you record "A New Swirled Record"? What has changed since your first VERTIGO SWIRL album?
B: This album was recorded primarily on a Tascam Portastudio 424 Mk. III 4-track cassette deck - a bit unusual for me as I've been head over heels for my reel-to-reel lately, but since Myk was bringing some partially completed tracks from home on his own 4-track, I figured I'd keep things consistent. An audio editing computer program called Goldwave was used for mixing, editing and superimposing additional tracks, but all the actual recordings were analog. As for what has changed, "Manik" Myk got involved and took things in a few new directions and made recording a slightly less lonely process!
Q: Who was involved? Who played what?
B: A fine Saint Louis saxophonist named Dominic Schaeffer (http://webpages.charter.net/dominicschaeffer/html/index/dominic.html) provided drone loops and solos on "You Belong in Outer Space". Myk's friend Andrea Busch (last heard on Rocket Park's Teenage Folklore album) contributed the disembodied telephone voice on "Loneliness Is a Choice". Beyond that, the only certainties are that I played all the kit drums and keyboards, as Myk and I shared guitar, bass, vocal and percussion duties.
Q: What's your favourite track on the album? Why?
B: "You Belong in Outer Space". I feel it's rather sadly majestic and, lyrically, I think of it as a sequel to the Flaming Lips' "I Want My Own Planet".
M: "Got Yer Back". It was inspired by hearing a Christian radio personality talking about how Charles Manson would tell potential recruits that he loved them and had their back, and it occured to me that whereas in 1967 all you needed was love, in 2010 you need both love and protection. I also enjoyed having Brian sing some very silly lyrics.
Q: Listening to the song "Vertigo Swirl" from the first VERTIGO SWIRL album two krautrock veterans, namely ACHIM REICHEL ("Grüne Reise - Green Journey") and MANUEL GÖTTSCHING from ASH RA come to my mind. Do you know those two artists, and was that song meant as a homage, or is the similarity in style coincidence?
B: A coincidence but probably not a total coincidence, as I've no doubt been inspired by other artists who were themselves inspired by those fellows! I am, admittedly, a bit of a babe in the woods as far as krautrock goes - Can and Neu! are about the only "pure" krautrock bands I can claim much familiarity with.
Q: Every regular blog reader will surely have noticed that you already have released quite a number of albums (under different names). So since when are you into recording music?
B: I've been doing something musical in the vicinity of a tape recorder since I was a child. The oldest recording I have in my possession is my first band Current Rage rehearsing three songs circa 1981, when I was 10 or 11. My first "professional" release was Rocket Park's Teenage Folklore in 1999. The big step forward, however, was when - inspired by both the homemade lofi psych blog and fellow travelers such as Drew "Full Dimensional" Aldrich, Walt Winston and "Manik" Myk himself - I raised my own personal bar for home recording and starting packaging and releasing the results in DIY form a few years ago.
M: I've been recording since I was 16 and am currently on my third four-track recorder (which I bought at a garage sale for $5 - it was one of the top twenty best days of my life).
Q: How many records did you already release? Please list them all in chronological order.
B: CASSETTES: O Joy, O Rapture, I'm Gonna Be Sick! (with Rastafarian Tweed, 1987), Angus Tweed (with Angus Tweed, 1988), Accept No Imitations (with Angus Tweed, 1989), This Is Your Brain on Drugs (1990), Not Actual Size (with Not Actual Size, 1991), et cetera... (with Angus Tweed, 1993), Fight for Your Right to Be Pouty (with Lemonade, 1994)
CDs: Teenage Folklore (with Rocket Park, 1999), The Effects of Eating Too Much Television (with Rocket Park, 2000)
CD-Rs/DIGITAL: Then! (compilation, 1988-2005), Dark Side of the Moo! (compilation with Angus Tweed, 1988-1994), Live at Hits (with Angus Tweed, 1989), Indulgence (compilation, 1993-1998), Popcorn & Other Delights (with Popcorn, 1997), Ghosts, Villains, Sirens and Superstars (compilation with Rocket Park, 1995-2003), Up Against Goodbye (with Rocket Park, 2003), A Lion in the Sun (2005), Three Song Demonstration Disc (with Bargain Basement, 2007), The Lair EP (2007), The Way We Feel Inside (with Kate Mittendorf, 2008), The Vertigo Swirl (as The Vertigo Swirl, 2009), Utopian Flying Machines (2009), A New Swirled Record (with The Vertigo Swirl, 2010)
M: CASSETTES: The Formative Years (compilation, 1980-1990), Subliminal Hearing Loss Tape (1991), She's So Alternative single (1991), Suburban Dream (1992), Song in My Ear EP (1992), Dysfunctional (1993), Beyond Dysfunctional (1994), Naked in Bohemia (1995), Christmas with Mike (1995), Celebrate Perversity (as Manik Myk & Friends, 1996)
CDs: Designated Drunkard (with Guitar Joe and the Angry Neighbors, 1999), Teenage Folklore (with Rocket Park, 1999), The Effects of Eating Too Much Television (with Rocket Park, 2000)
CD-Rs/DIGITAL: Dark Side of the Moo! (compilation with Angus Tweed, 1988-1994), Manik Digressions (compilation, 1991-1995), Popcorn & Other Delights (with Popcorn, 1997), Ghosts, Villains, Sirens and Superstars (compilation with Rocket Park, 1995-2003), Artist's Manifesto (compilation, 1999-2009), Primordial Soup Kitchen (with Riding the Riff, 2009), Me and the Devil's Favorite Campfire Songs (with Paul Stewart, 2009), A New Swirled Record (with The Vertigo Swirl, 2010)
Q: Any feedback for your VERTIGO SWIRL records (except for HLFP)?
B: Aside from a few uselessly nonspecific slights, the response has been pretty positive. The Swirl's music has been posted on a few music blogs, seen some intermittent radio airplay in far corners of the Earth, and inspired a fan video from Finland. Not bad for a couple of dudes in a basement with crapped-out old gear and a budget of zero!
Q: How do you write your songs? What comes first, words or music?
B: I have no formula except to have no formula. Creativity manifests itself however it chooses.
M: It just depends on what inspires me. In the past it was often the words, but lately I've been coming up with the music first.
Q: What’s the best song you’ve ever written?
B: I probably haven't written it yet!
M: The one I'm writing now.
Q: Favorite line from a song you've written?
B: "I forget sadness and I forget hate, I forget breathing and slowly suffocate" from "Satisfied Rainbows". Look for it on the THIRD Vertigo Swirl album!
M: "Subliminal phosphenes, oblivial haze, seems all the world's a passing phase" from "Four Finger Fantasy", an unrecorded song I wrote when I was 15.
Q: What are your main musical influences?
B: They vary with my ever-changing listening tastes, but some perennials are The Beatles, Pink Floyd/Syd Barrett, Beach Boys/Brian Wilson, David Bowie, Electric Light Orchestra, The Flaming Lips, Nirvana, Sebadoh, King Crimson, early Gong/Daevid Allen, Kevin Ayers, Robert Wyatt, Aphrodite's Child, The Nice, Jack Bruce, Camper Van Beethoven, Tyrannosaurus Rex/T. Rex and Hawkwind in no particular order with many glaring omissions that I will only notice later!
M: The usual suspects found on black light posters.
Q: Favorite band at the moment?
B: The Flaming Lips have brought me great joy since I first heard Oh My Gawd!!! at a record store in 1987, and I am currently rekindling my love affair with them.
M: I don't have a current obsession. I'm looking for one.
Q: What was the first record that really blew your mind?
B: I like to joke that my parents warped me for life by giving me The Beatles' 1967-1970 compilation ("The Blue Album") when I was five. How is a five-year-old supposed to know that "I Am the Walrus" is not "normal pop music"...?!?
M: When I was five years old I would listen to Jesus Christ Superstar and get so worked up over it that I would run around and smash things in the backyard, and my parents would have to take the album away for a while.
Q: From listening to some of your songs I suppose that you must be a great (early) PINK FLOYD/SYD BARRETT fan!? Which one is your favourite PINK FLOYD song/album?
B: "Astronomy Domine", simply because it is such a perfect melding of the opposing sensibilities of early Floyd - pop music AND improvisational insanity all in one package. The album I actually reach for most often is probably the soundtrack to More, simply because there's a certain looseness to it, a sense that the stakes are lower (i.e., it's not a "real" Pink Floyd album) and, resultantly, a sense of happy, stoned fun. {Also one of my top 5 Pink Floyd records!!! - mike-floyd}
M: "Free Four". I love the line "the memories of a man in his old age are the deeds of a man in his prime". It has been said that after the age of thirty, everything is commentary. Favorite album is a toss-up between The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall - Dark Side is the better album of the two, but The Wall came out when I was 13 and I identified heavily with it.
Q: Would it be ok, if people call the VERTIGO SWIRL music "neo psychedelic rock"? Or what "label" would you prefer?
B: I'm not a huge fan of the "neo" prefix when it comes to music, if only because of the disappointments it has often brought. Besides, I make no claim of bringing anything particularly new to the plate. But if people are calling it anything, they're talking about it, and that's good enough for me!
M: Whatever people call it is fine by me.
Q: What's your definition of "psychedelic music"?
B: Music that transcends the mundane and takes you outside your overly familiar environment and circumstances. To me it is less a genre descriptor than a measure of its transportational properties - a quality it is possible to hear in any genre.
M: I go with the Greek definition, which literally means "mind show". A good psychedelic record should put you in a state of altered consciousness to some degree.
Q: What are your five all time favourite psychedelic records? Why?
B: The Madcap Laughs by Syd Barrett (the most internal of all psychedelic albums - the weirdness is in the brainwaves more so than the soundwaves), Magical Mystery Tour by The Beatles (they may not have been rock's biggest drug users, but they could afford the best stuff and giggled all the way to the bank), Rock Bottom by Robert Wyatt (a genre-obliterating work - the sonic equivalent of an ever-shifting Salvador Dali landscape, but always fully invested in heart and soul), 666 by Aphrodite's child (to my ears, the only "concept album" where the music never suffers for the sake of the words - the band's native Grecian music traditions are seamlessly integrated into the soundscape, and Silver Kolouris' guitar work is simply stellar) and Smiley Smile by The Beach Boys (if this isn't the birth of homemade lo-fi psychedelia, what is? - the man of genius can give up and stay at home, but the genius itself just keeps going).
M: Are You Experienced? by The Jimi Hendrix Experience (I love it from the flattened fifth that begins it to the backwards guitar on the title track), Revolver by The Beatles (I consider this their first psychedelic album, and often one's first experiments in a genre are the strongest and most interesting), The Doors (I like their synthesis of jazz and classical ideas, and how they foreshadow punk while remaining psychedelic), Surrealistic Pillow by Jefferson Airplane (it sounds like a bunch of friends having fun together, and I love the songwriting of Grace Slick and Paul Kantner), and Bitches Brew by Miles Davis (I love the competence and imagination that went into it and the way that Miles Davis reinvents himself).
Q: Any plans for live gigs?
B: No plans, but that doesn't mean it can't happen. After several years of intense gigging with an ambitious rock group, I'm burned out on that grind and prefer to take intermittent gigs here and there just to keep things fresh. In the last couple of years I've played 4 or 5 gigs with totally different musicians and set lists each time! The Vertigo Swirl did play a one-off show in 2009 prior to Myk's involvement, featuring Kjle Risch on bass and Eric Moore on drums. Myk and I also played a show earlier this year which, though it was billed as The Popcorn Bros., did feature some very Swirl-like improvisations (Robert Hedges provided percussion).
Q: Website?
Q: The last five records you bought?
B: Pop-O-Anthology by Pop-O-Pies (digital), Camembert Eclectique by Gong (digital), Picturesque Matchstickable Messages from The Status Quo (CD), The Columbia Singles '65-'67 by The Byrds (new vinyl) and The Mandrake Memorial (new vinyl).
M: Anthology by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Valleys of Neptune (CD single) by Jimi Hendrix... who buys music anymore?
Q: Anything that you think is interesting, that you'd like to inform the blog readers about...
B: The concept of ownership over music is a very recent one in human history, yet those who profit the most from this concept (spoiler alert: it is rarely ever the actual artists) proceed as if copyright law was graven on Moses' tablets. In their zeal to assert their "rights", the powers-that-be have twice had this very album deleted from online servers, despite the fact that no persons or entities besides Myk and myself can make any legal claim to this work. Most likely it was simply because the album was posted on a blog and presumed guilty by association, but one can't help but notice the symbolism of profiteers obstructing free distribution of a free work...
M: I really appreciate all the work Mike Floyd does for our favorite music blog.
M-F: Thanks, guys. Been enjoying this interview a lot!

Favourite tracks: Molehill Sherpa and Loneliness Is a Choice and of course the "potential hit single" You Belong In Outer Space

THE VERTIGO SWIRL: A New Swirled Record (2010)
(mp3-zip, 8 tracks, 44 min, 101,1 MB, artwork + lyrics incl.)
Get it here or here!

Get the 1st VERTIGO SWIRL album here!

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