Thursday 2 July 2020

John Carpenter ‎– "Assault On Precinct 13" ( Death Waltz Recording Company ‎– DW 018) 1976/2003

Never meant for release,this proto-minimal synth masterpiece finally saw the light of day in the 21st century. John Carpenter somehow became the accidental king of minimal dark synth. This could have been a Gary Numan number,but it came before the young Gary had even thought of Tubeway Army.
It also bares a striking similarity to Kraftwerk's "Trans Europe Express", but without the pretentions.John just popped into the studio and knocked out a menacing soundtrack on the in-house mini-moog for his zero budget violent thriller,saving himself a large fee to pay some over-rated soundtrack composer.....who needs those schmuks?
I only saw the the Movie once,and that was enough,but the soundtrack was groundbreaking.More for the 'Pop' world rather than movie history, but rather effective I think you'll agree?


1 Main Title
2 Napoleon Wilson
3 Street Thunder
4 Division 13
5 Ice Cream Man On Edge
6 Wrong Flavour
7 Emergency Stop
8 Lawson's Revenge
9 Sanctuary
10 Second Wave
11 The Windows
12 Julie
13 Well's Flight
14 To The Basement
15 Walking Out
16 Assault On Precinct 13


parmalee said...

Not strictly an electronic score, but in a film about an electronic music composer--with a VCS3 prominently featured--is the soundtrack to the excellent film, The Shout, by the King of Punk himself--Mr. Tony Banks! Also featuring Mr. Michael Rutherford, for added "street" cred. Never properly released (though I've probably got a homemade tape somewhere back there with my diy Wicker Man soundtracks from before it was properly released), but it ain't bad:

I thought of this 'cuz it was directed by Jerzy Skolimowski, whose style is not dissimilar to Tarkovsky's.

parmalee said...

I'm feeling a sudden compulsion to defend my Tony Banks: King of Punks thesis. OK, here goes... First off, forget anything after 1980. Now, consider Tony's weird ass keyboard rig: no proper piano--or even electric piano--for Tony, he used the RMI Electrapiano! Not even velocity sensitive--just imagine playing the intro to Firth of Fifth on that piece of crap (actually, he only did it live a couple of times, 'cuz it always bombed); no B3/C3 for Tony, he used the Hammond T-102; and, finally, no Arp Odyssey or anything of the sort, he used the Arp Pro-soloist--because the _presets were just fine by him_. Now, I said forget the 80's, but there the matter of him no longer touring with an organ--he actually managed to eke out a passable tonewheel organ sound from a Prophet 10 (the specifics for this major accomplishment are detailed here: ). Just let that sink in: synthesizing additive synthesis solely with subtractive synthesis. And the fact that he thunk it up before Hugh Banton did... of course, Banton wouldn't dream of performing without a proper organ in the first place, but that's beside the point.

I think I've made my case.

Jonny Zchivago said...

The soundtrack to 'The Shout' sounds like they just picked a random album out of the keyboard section at a library. It seems like two separate things, The Movie, and the Soundtrack.....but I liked it...i did.
the movie looks great,...Suzannah York's muff, a cricket scene,and some silly goings on involving the dark arts.The three things I look for in any movie.
Hats off to the blank face acting of Alan Bates,looking like he wanted to be somewhere else.....probably in bed with a bloke instead of the lovely Suzannah York. Love 70's brit flicks,the cheapness of it all,the mauve, past its sell-by date film stock, the soundtrackx.....even this one.
This is the kind of stuff we had on kids tv,but without the sex.....a bit like real life.....real life is like real life but without the sex.....ask Alan Bates.

Tony Banks doesn't qualify as a 1978 punk, because he never denied his inherant posh-ness,which was obligatory from 76-78. He never banged on about socialism and/or anarchy either. And he played keyboards...Punks don't play keyboards......the moustachioed Dave Greenfield excepted (RIP),although he was a progger anyway,but with better kit than Tony Banks by the sounds of it.And marginally better dress sense.

But,granted, by 2020 retropunk standards Banks is as Punk as Fuck in my Little Punk Book.

parmalee said...

In my first band (~1990) I played an 80 dollar, beat up Farfisa Compact Duo, through diy effects. As keyboards in bands were a rarity, I made acquaintance with the keyboardist in the band in the neighboring storage unit. He had a freakin' Fairlight CMI--computer monitor and everything. We didn't really hit it off. Ever since, my mission has been to convince the world that keyboards are hardcore--so long as they don't cost 20 thousand dollars. Though I think they've always been somewhat more "accepted" in the US because used keyboards can be had for next to nothing--actually, even new stuff is way cheaper than in the UK/Europe.

Incidentally, all of VDGG (except for Hammill, I think) were in debt for equipment, studio time, etc. well into the late 1990's. So Banton's punk too--and he was never the "gear head" type: he just built crazy mods _into_ his organ (he actually built all the Farfisa Professional circuitry into the Hammond B3, which is an insanely collosal feat (won't go into the details, but there was no matrixing, multiplexing, and so forth back then--just thousands and thousands of wires)), he didn't just buy new, fancy shit.

And there's a scene in The Shout in which a naked Suzannah York "mimics" a Francis Bacon painting. A definite must see.

parmalee said...

Oh yeah, as a kid I only got to see the British stuff on PBS--and I watched plenty of it. I specifically recall watching a program with Felicity Kendal in which she wore _the exact same shirt_ for days on end--just like real people do!--and thinking, "This lady's awesome!" The downside was that I grew up thinking that all British women looked like Diana Rigg or Barbara Steele. It was a real let-down when I discovered that was not the case.

Jonny Zchivago said...

Circuit bending they call it now.....tut,kids huh?
I built a synth in about 1980 from a couple of cassette players.noticing that if i touched certain parts of the circuit board it'd make a weird noise.In metal sculpture class,the same class i got my career from, i made a steel keyboard,so this thing was touch sensitive. I got an electric shock from one of the keys,but it made the best noise,so i had to put up with it.My fingers started to develop wart like callous's but hey, this was the post-punk era, i needed a synth. When i left school, i had enough welfare money to buy a Korg MS20 for 125 quid. What a machine!?....then i sold it for precisly 23quid to a thrift store a few years later to go digital!...what a twat!!!!?

ALL of VDGG are punks.....when you compare that with the sex pistols who only had one punk (Rotten...VDGG fan incidently) that means that VDGG were 275% more punk than the sex pistols!..hows that for science?

I gotta see "The Shout" now....francis Bacon, naked Suzannah (my childhood fantasy alongside Suzi Quatro)....i think i'm gonna cry!

Jonny Zchivago said...

PS...yeah I grew up thinking all american women looked like Suzi Quatro/Leather Tuskadero.....the US equivalent of Diana Rigg as Mrs fact I demand to know WHY All women aren't like Suzi and Mrs Peel?..I certainly went through a 'Stead' stage....suit and tie,umbrella and tilted bowler.It was a winner with the ladies,none of which looked like Emma Peel,or Suzannah fact more like Vicky Pollard from 'Little Britain'...'cept she was called 'Thursday Club' by my chums for obvious reasons.Dirty cow.

parmalee said...

The idea of vintage keyboard procuring/repairing/selling brings out the loathesome capitalist in me. 125 for an MS20? That ain't bad. But selling it for 23, I might infect myself with Covid over that. I got an Arp Odyssey once for 60 bucks, restored it to mint, and idiotically sold it on Ebay for 6 or 8 hundred (an acquaintance/friend got an ARP 2600 for 40 bucks at this flea market we used to go to at 4 a.m.). That Compact Duo also went on Ebay for a thousand. And countless others passed through my hands. Fuck! Why do I do this? (Well, I know why: I needed money badly at the time.)

Now they've got reboots of a lot of that stuff. The MS20 (and the miniaturized one) and the like are cool, and true to form--exact replications of the analog circuitry. But the combo organ "replicas" are lame, and based on physical modeling. I don't know why: the tone generation and modulation circuitry can all be replicated faithfully, while the control stuff can be updated with CMOS ics or even microntrollers, and you'd still have a cheaper, lighter weight, but _authentic_ sounding machine. Seriously, Korg and Behringer ought to be employing me, to do it right (I have no complaints with Arturia though).

I'm even cool with the miniaturization aspects, just keep the sounds as they were. In fact, my present "rig" is mini--for reasons of economy, portability, and 'cuz it looks cool: Indian harmonium w/ simple foot pedal mech to operate bellows, all diy effects and drones, and diy "semi-intelligent" analog drum machine. It all fits into a large suitcase. I came up with the ultra-pared down idea first, but it's also presently influenced by the incredibly awesome 75 Dollar Bill:

Those guys rip! Cajons and Cajon-like instruments are kind of a "thing" now, owing to some lame-ass shitheels, but Rick Brown totally owns it. He even plays in 25/8. If I could find someone who knew how to rock on a wooden crate, I'd pursue that, but I only have dog friends these days (and some foxes, bears, moose, and chipmunks).

Spacious Specious said...

I'd like to propose "Punk Keyboardist" status upon Martin Rev of Suicide and Damon Edge of Chrome. For extra sauce, "Virtuoso Punk Keyboardist" for Barry Andrew's impressive playing on early XTC and Fripp's "League of Gentlemen." I'll let someone else argue the virtues of Shriekback as I never connected with any of it.

Jonny Zchivago said...

Of course Rev and Edge are probably the ultimate 'Punk' keyboard players in terms of one or two notes a tune. And lets not forget that at the first 'punk' gig i went to, Suicide were the main support,so punk with no drums or guitars......they retreated under a volley of missiles.This impressed me,ultimate punk act...don't give them what they want and leave after 20 minutes under a hail of bottles....then The Clash came on.....not so impressive.
XTC went less good once they lost Andrews, but his songs were crap lets face it. Love XTC does me.

Jonny Zchivago said...

@ Parmalee...didn't reply to your hefty missive.....75 Dollar bill....was prparing to slag off as a mumford and sons aborted son-child, but ending up listening to it all!?....A certain Henry Flynt vibe going down there i suggest.
I once told a audience member that we played the last improv in 25/8 and they believed was 4/4 at a stretch.

You have a Moose as a friend?.....wilderness livin' I'm me.I have Vulture friends,but no mooses. we have reintroduced Wolves,and bears in the Pyrenees, but as yet, no Mooses!

parmalee said...

I always forget about the conspicuous absence of large animals in Europe. That's one of the few things America's got going for it: big animals--not Africa big, but bigger than other places. Mooses are the best. Weirdly, wild animals don't fear me (a possible benefit of nearly a lifetime of veganism?), so I can walk right up to em and shoot the shit. And there's this strange sort of reserve and wisdom in them that I don't get so much from other varieties of deer. According to The Man, there are only coy-wolves and wolf-dogs around here, but I saw an actual proper wolf once--Ilsa. The dogs and I literally slowly walked right past her, and no one reacted in any way. She was en route to her underground lair, where she was torturing Lina Romay, who was pretending to be Jewish.

Rick Brown (75 Dollar Bill) played with Charles Hayward and Guigo Chenevier in Les Batteries and has played a lot with Fred Frith, so he's got the resume--or, as Trump would say, he' right out of "central casting." I don't know Che Chen's other stuff, but he added extra frets to his guitar so he could play microtonally--only the finest sorts do that sort of thing, I'm told.