Various: I’d Love To Turn You On Volume 2 – album review

Various – I’d Love To Turn You On Volume 2 él Records 4CD/DL Released 22 October 2021 Second in the series subtitled Classical And Avant-Garde Music That Inspired The Sixties Counter-Culture, which gives one a fair idea of just what to expect. Artists as diverse as Richard Burton, Bela Bartok, Dave Brubeck and Cole Porter […] The post Various: I’d Love To Turn You On Volume 2 – album review appeared first on Louder Than War.

Various: I’d Love To Turn You On Volume 2 – album review

Various – I’d Love To Turn You On Volume 2
él Records
4CD/DL
Released 22 October 2021

Second in the series subtitled Classical And Avant-Garde Music That Inspired The Sixties Counter-Culture, which gives one a fair idea of just what to expect. Artists as diverse as Richard Burton, Bela Bartok, Dave Brubeck and Cole Porter contribute, as their work gave influence to The Beatles, Robert Fripp, John Cipollina and Marianne Faithfull respectively. Ian Canty switches on to sounds from inner space…

This is the second album of a series begun last year by el Records, the remit of which is to examine the contribution of some of the artists that held sway over the 1960s explosion, away from the obvious rock & roll and blues forbears. The first edition of I’d Love To Turn You On featured many of the same musicians/composers that are presented here, but there are some new faces too. In the accompanying booklet you can learn through direct quotes and stories just how their influence came to inform The Beatles, Ray Davies, Syd Barrett and others of the era.

I’d Love To Turn You On Volume 2 starts with the ominous tones of Gustav Holst’s The Planets: Mars, the Bringer Of War, which apparently a young David Bowie in his band The Lower Third used as a rave-up outro to their stage performances. This stirring piece of music is followed by To Begin At The Beginning, an excerpt from Richard Burton’s classic reading of Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas. This disc is big on spoken word and also includes Oscar Wilde’s The Picture Of Dorian Gray Scene One, The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe and Paul McCartney’s girlfriend Jane Asher voicing the main character on a recording of Lewis Carroll’s Alice Through The Looking Glass.

John Coltrane’s riff on old standard Greensleeves gives the nod to the cool jazz that inspired the early modernists and later on this disc Albert Ayler and his Quartet and Ornette Coleman push hard bop sounds into the stratosphere with the squawking sax attack of Spirits and Excerpts From Free Jazz respectively. The playful keyboard sound of Sun Ra’s Advice To Medics forms a chilled come down after that blaze of intensity.

The BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s Delia Derbyshire was a key figure in the development of electronic music and the otherworldly drones of Time On Our Hands are a good example of her unique vision and talent. John Cage and Cathy Berberian’s odd mix of operatic voice, dogs barking and musique concrete entitled Aria with Fontana Mix could even weird-out the fringes of 1970s post punk, never mind psychedelia. Sandwiching the aforementioned Lewis Carroll piece are two brief but atmospheric soundscape items from Pierre Schaffer. This disc concludes with Spike Milligan’s glorious nonsense song I’m Walking Backwards For Christmas – The Fab Four were massive fans and there were certainly touches of Goonery in their film work.

Disc two of this set commences with Carlos Montoya with his flamenco guitar exploration Malaguena, something that you can hear might well have been influential on Quicksilver Messenger Service’s ace John Cipollina, before The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s Take Five, a late 1950s hit single, swoops in. After that we are back in more orchestral waters for the main part of this section of I’d Love To Turn You On 2, beginning with Igor Stravinsky’s jazz-flecked Ragtime For Eleven Instruments. Strauss’ operatic arias Four Last Songs come in a near-twenty minute clump, which highlights some supreme singing by soprano Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, chockful of heart-rending emotion.

A couple of elegant Edward Elgar works Aubade and The Wagon Passes are then ably performed by The London Philharmonic and this is followed by the eight short pieces that make up The Gordian Knot Untied Suite by Henry Purcell, Zimmerman catalogue number Z.597. These shimmer with stately grace. Steely Dan weren’t actually formed until 1971, so the inclusion of one of their favs is a moot point. But as Debussy’s La cathédrale engloutie solo for piano is so sensitively performed by Walter Gieseking, I’m about to start complaining.

In the sleeve booklet Ray Davies confesses to an enduring interest in the work of Australian Percy Grainger, a early 20th century composer/folk music historian. The warm gentleness of his My Robin Is To The Greenwood Gone is joyful to behold. The Ensemble Of The Bulgarian Republic weigh in with Vetcheryai Rado and Polegnala E Todora – two choral items that not many people enjoying Eight Miles High by The Byrds in the 1960s would have necessarily seen a connection to, but they were apparently favourites of David Crosby. A 1936 string quartet recording of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia On A Theme Of Thomas Tallis, a homage to the Renaissance composer, ends a disc that I found it pretty entertaining. But if you struggle with classical music, you may well find it being too much to bite off in one go, bar Dave Brubeck.

We get underway on disc three of I’d Love To Turn You On with the 24 minute suite The Soldier’s Tale by Stravinsky, which is split into nine segments. Marche Royale finds violins and brass jousting playfully, while strings and percussion build a sense of urgency on Premier Tableau. Flutes busily tickle along, marking the progress of Danse du diable and the sedate Grand Choral is a work of restrained beauty.

Then The Chicago Symphony Orchestra play Arnold Schonberg’s Five Pieces For Orchestra. Summer Morning By A Lake was picked out by Frank Zappa and the whole suite is fused with an almost mocking, sinister atmosphere which is somewhat akin to The Mothers. We then are granted respite from orchestrated works for a while and instead journey towards Turkey, Iraq and India with four selections from Music On The Desert Road, a set of 1950s field recordings by folk musicologist Deben Bhattacharya.

There’s authentic vehicle sounds, before the fast-picked string dance of the Turkish tune Central Anatolian Dance. A vocal emerges about a minute in and the effect is hypnotic. We journey next to Iran, where a whistle and drum mimics locomotive noise effectively on Rhythm Of A Train. From then on, we’re in India for the sitar heaven of Raga Zila From Varanasi and the chimes of Temple Bells And Drums Of A Bengali Kali Temple, which for some reason made me think of No Limits by 2 Unlimited.

The lively plucks of Bela Bartok’s String Quartet No. 4 follow and after that we get On The Road writer Jack Kerouac reciting San Francisco Scene (The Beat Generation) in hepcat speak from the late 1950s. We have a dollop more of flamenco six string from the master Sabicas with Bronze Gitano and then this disc ends with Ravel’s Bolero. A very well known piece of music, which apart from being a Grace Slick pick also must have impressed Jeff Beck, not to mention Torvill and Dean.

An extract of Bach’s work Mass In B Minor gets the treatment from the Munich-Bach Orchestra And Choir to open up the final disc of I’d Love To Turn You On. Rod Argent Of the Zombies was a fan and you can detect the kind of breadth of vision his band was inspired by, something they must have keyed into later on in their career. I was very much pleased by the appearance of Ali Akbar Khan and his sarod, who is introduced here by Yehudi Menuhin. Carlos Santana calls his music “the sound of singing water”, which is as concise a description of its transcendent wonder as I could come up with. The nearly 20 minutes of Rag Sindhi Bhairavi is serenely reflective and divine.

Hilaire Belloc’s comic poem Matilda directly influenced Pink Floyd’s Matilda Mother and a short section is included here. As Belloc’s estate didn’t at the time want his work to be associated with a bunch of long haired layabouts, Syd Barrett had to hastily rewrite the lyrics for inclusion on The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. The musical West Side Story called out to youngsters in the UK just beginning to map out the teenage dream, and Oscar Peterson’s version of The Jet Song from the soundtrack truly swings. A cool and bluesy sound gives Oscar ample opportunity to flesh out with his keys.

The near half hour of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 in D Major by the Columbia Symphony provides depth and grace, before Cole Porter singing his own song You’re The Top, from way back in March 1928, brings the curtain down on this boxset. As I believe they used to say back in the 1960s, it’s been a trip. I’d Love To Turn You On Volume 2 ties each selection in with the 1960s face that it impacted on as part of the running order. This may confuse the unwary listener when David Bowie or Frank Zappa don’t actually put in an appearance.

I would have to admit that there were times when a little more variety could have helped this collection become more accessible to the interested outsider. The first disc I enjoyed greatly, because it made the most of putting contrasting styles together in a way that seemed natural. This helped me to join the dots between these disparate sounds and the 1960s movers and shakers. The other discs didn’t quite manage to turn that trick so well, something which did hamper the impact. Other than these trifling complaints, I’d Love To Turn You On Volume 2 is a fairly well-targeted voyage of discovery for anyone adventurous enough to take the plunge into a world of sound far, far away from rock music.

~

All words by Ian Canty – see his author profile here

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Ella Eyre: O2 Ritz Manchester – live review

Ella Eyre O2 Ritz Manchester 19th October 2021 Ella Eyre staked her claim to be the queen of British pop with a set full of absolute bangers at Manchester’s O2 Ritz. Paul Clarke joined the party and Melanie Smith took the photos. Once upon a time, Ella Eyre was the go-to voice for dance acts […] The post Ella Eyre: O2 Ritz Manchester – live review appeared first on Louder Than War.

Ella Eyre:  O2 Ritz Manchester – live review

Ella Eyre
O2 Ritz Manchester
19th October 2021

Ella Eyre staked her claim to be the queen of British pop with a set full of absolute bangers at Manchester’s O2 Ritz. Paul Clarke joined the party and Melanie Smith took the photos.

Once upon a time, Ella Eyre was the go-to voice for dance acts like Rudimental and Sigala and she released her debut solo album Feline way back in 2015. Apart from a few singles, Eyre had been pretty quiet since, but tonight she staked out a claim to be the queen of British pop.

Eyre had been unlucky with the pandemic as this tour was cancelled twice, and her long-awaited second album had also been delayed, but she still managed to attract a sell-out crowd for her comeback tour. And what a crowd. It had the feel of a particularly raucous school prom mixed with a Club 18-30 pub crawl in Ibiza as a bunch of shirtless lads strutted around in just beach trunks. It was a typically grim Manc night outside, so you had to admire one hardy soul who wandered around in a bikini.

From the moment Eyre bounded on stage in a transparent blue coat, snazzy trousers and long braids she looked every inch the star, and that must come from the belief you possess one of the best pop voices around.

Ella Eyre 16 @ O2 Ritz Manchester 19/10/21

There can be a lot of snobbery around pop acts as if they are somehow inferior to tired old punk acts regurgitating their ‘hits’ for a load of bald blokes. And, of course, that nostalgia has a place, but so does Eyre who created a riotous house party for fans, some of whom were in junior school when she had her first number one hit with Rudimental.

She had the crowd from the first note her well-drilled live band hit, as they blasted into recent single Answerphone Eyre bounced around the stage and was clearly delighted to be back, as the obligatory wall of phones recorded her every move. Crowds like this can be very different to other gigs as the five young women in front of us were not only singing along, but created a live Instagram feed as the show progressed. It’s rare to be interrupted mid-gig and be asked to take a picture, but such is the relaxed atmosphere generated by these wonderfully polite and spirited young music fans, you don’t mind.

Ella Eyre 7 @ O2 Ritz Manchester 19/10/21

And acts like Eyre actually engage with their audience and understand people (and in many cases their parents) had paid good money to be here, so talking to an audience was hardly the chore some acts find to be. That energy and connection came right back in the numerous singalongs throughout the show.

Like many of her competitors including Anne-Marie (who took over vocal duties in Rudimental and Mabel), she sang driving pop songs based on her own emotional ups and downs, which clearly struck a chord as the audience kept joining in. Comeback was a wonderful smack down to a cheating boyfriend, (who always crawled back after being a dick). Eyre jogged on the spot at the top of the white stairs of a simple but effective setup. Another recent single, L.O.V.(e), proved to be another positive song that aimed to empower her fans.

Ella Eyre 8 @ O2 Ritz Manchester 19/10/21Ella Eyre 15 @ O2 Ritz Manchester 19/10/21 It was a brave decision to put Rudimental’s smash Waiting All Night in the middle of the set, but no matter as the place erupted. The venue’s famous dancefloor took a hammering as the whole crowd decided to bounce up and down in time to a timeless banger. Things slowed down a bit for the ballad New Me as Eyre really let rip, that voice soared to smack down another idiot, before ripping into Business, even the backing singers got sassy. She closed with a massive Came Here For Love to a forest of arms. She really owned that collaboration with Sigala, as she should because it was her voice that made all those songs such big hits.

She came back for the encore with just her keyboard player, Eyre offered the empowering We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off, which given the age profile of the crowd was an important anthem in the age of #MeToo. Their parents would have been delighted that a song about having respectful and loving relationships was delivered with real passion. Another collaboration with Sigala, Just Got Paid, sent this good-natured crowd home with a big smile on their faces.

It’s strange that such a quality performer isn’t regularly topping the charts in her own right, so she needs to get that second album out ASAP. With a decent festival season next year, Ella Eyre should be challenging Dua Lipa, Anne-Marie and Mabel for a pop crown she most definitely proved she has the pipes to win.

Photo gallery:

Please note: Use of these images in any form without permission is illegal. If you wish to contact the photographer please email: mel@mudkissphotography.co.uk

You can follow Ella Eyre on Facebook and Twitter.

~

Words by Paul Clarke, you can see his author profile here.

All photos by Melanie Smith – Louder Than War | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Portfolio

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