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Ernest Berk

Electronic Music For Two Ballets

    Extraordinary unreleased home made electronics from the late 1960s made by a pioneering ballet dancer and musician. With possibly the best name ever.

    HISTORY:
    There are very few Ernest Berk recordings. As a pioneering ballet dancer, instructor and electronic music artist he was surprisingly prolific. He made music for all sorts of uses – he even made library music – and of course this very album of his music for two of his ballets.

    Towards the end of his life Ernest Berk gifted his entire collection of works, tapes, documents and all to the Historical Archive Of The City Of Cologne. Tragically, in 2009, a large part of the archive collapsed (due to the construction of an underground railway) destroying 90% of the everything. Berk’s tapes have tragically never been recovered. They are assumed lost forever.

    So these two recording – issued privately circa 1970 – remain precious to say the least. There were no masters, this new pressing was simply transferred from the original copy held by his family. We have done our best to restore the sound. I have also reproduced the original notes, and from what I can gather this album may well have been pressed and given away as promotion for the Dance Theatre Commune.

    The original album came with a small piece of paper with a geometrical squiggle stuck on the front. We have constructed something a little more complex to give a hint of Berk’s life and important work.

    Sleevenotes for the original press:
    Ernest Berk was born in Cologne, Germany and cams to England just before the war. He started a dance company in London and wanted a sound especially suited to his experimental dance style. This he found in electronic music.

    Berk feels that electronic music is able to express the feelings of contemporary society in a more potent and communicative way than conventional forms of music. This is not to say he disregards traditional forms of music, rather, he blends the best elements of both, creating a new and exciting sound.

    Over the years he has gained an international reputation as a composer of electronic music. His works have been heard in Berlin, Cologne, Florence, Edinburgh, United States, to name a few. He has scored a number of films, plays and ballets.

    Ernest and his wife, Ailsa, opened a new studio at 52 Dorset St, W1, in April, 1970 where they give tuition in modern dance, electronic music and percussion. They also teach at the Guildhall School Of Music And Drama and at ILEA Institute (Stanhope). The studio is headquarters of the Dance Theatre Commune which the Berks created in order to combine their work in dance and music with those already working in similar spheres.


    Basil Kirchin

    Worlds Within Worlds (RSD19 EDITION)

      THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2019 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

      Worlds Within Worlds (Part I and II) is one of the most important improvised jazz-based recordings of all time. Released in 1971 it sold just a handful of copies, but has become a keystone in the development of experimental and ambient sounds - originals now fetch £1000+.A perfect released for RSD, this will be the first time this exceptional, unique and highly desirable record has been repressed. Built up using layers of treated and slowed field recordings with Derek Bailey and Evan Parker improvising, WWW offers listeners a mesmerizing sonic experience that remains years ahead of its time. This pressing features a new gatefold sleeve (Kirchin hated the original sleeve), with images of Kirchin, his original field recording tapes and notes by WWW fan Thurston Moore. There are just 1500 being pressed with 250 on gold vinyl, which will be mixed randomly in with the 1250 black versions. There will be no way of telling which colour is which as all LPs will be sealed. The LP will not be repressed. Tracklist:Side One - Part One - Integration (Non-Racial)Side Two - Part Two - The Human Element

      Vernon Elliot

      Clangers - Original TV Music

        Out of print since 2001, a classic trunk records release gets a rare repress. Naïve and pastoral space music at its very best!

        As a TV obsessed child, the Clangers was my favourite programme on the box, so you can imagine how excited I was when this came in!

        What an unbelievable recording. The entire unreleased score for the entire Clangers TV series - that's music for all 26 episodes. It grows organically (as does the series) from small and simple phrases to complex passages of pure pastoral space music. It all climaxes with the awesome "Harmony Of The Spheres". The running order is exactly as it ran with all 26 episodes and includes some SFX, Tiny Clanger and Oliver Postgate's timeless introduction. This CD also comes with the unique and sweet "Clangers Opera" compiled by Oliver Postgate, an adventure on the Clangers planet starring the Iron Chicken. The CD booklet includes rare photos, early Clangers Sketches and a Libretto for the Clangers Opera written by Oliver Postgate. 

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Ltd LP Info: Vinyl repress!!!!

        Jim Wilson

        God's Chorus

        The Extraordinary ambient / minimal masterpiece made just using the sounds of crickets. Sounds like heaven. Or beautiful death. Or angels singing. Or a choir in the worlds most amazing cathedral. Well let’s hear what Tom Waits has to say: I heard a recording recently of crickets slowed way down. It sounds like a choir, it sounds like angel music. Something sparkling, celestial with full harmony and bass parts - you wouldn't believe it. It's like a sweeping chorus of heaven, and it's just slowed down, they didn't manipulate the tape at all… …and there's something to be said for slowing down the world. A few years ago (2014 to be precise) I was alerted to a strange recording on-line. I think it was on Mixcloud, but it might have been Soundcloud. I can’t remember exactly which cloud, but I do remember other more important things: the recording was called God’s Chorus and millions of people had listened to it. And thousands of those millions of people had left comments. Some had praised the mesmerising, angelic sounds, (“OMG it’s actually angels singing!”) some deciding that this may indeed be the music you hear as you die and your soul rises to heaven. Others more cynical thought it was a total hoax, all made up, just a musical con. Some had their own theories about how it was made and why it sounded so incredible, some had educated ideas and many just didn’t care as they loved it so very much. There was also a name associated to the creation of God’s Chorus; Jim Wilson. I listened. I listened more. I found myself immediately intrigued. And within a couple of days had licensed the recording. I believed it would really suit being on vinyl and not just on a cloud waiting for more comments.

        The story behind the God’s Chorus recording is short and simple. It begins with the aforementioned Jim Wilson, a song writer, musician and enthusiast for Native American sound, nature, ambiance and the new age. Jim had recorded the crickets. He then recorded more crickets. He then took one of these cricket recordings, slowed it right down (just like Basil Kirchin would) and then simply played the slowed down recording over the top of the normal speed version. If you want to get technical “the sound created is a simple diatonic 7-note scale chord progression and melody with a multi-layered structure.


        Alec Cheer

        Night Kaleidoscope – Original Soundtrack

        An incredible 'modern electronic-based score to underground psychedelic detective vampire indie drama' composed by Alec Cheer.

        There is little history here as this is a new release – but this is simply an amazing modern score to a film you may never have heard about (one directed by Grant McPhee). What sets this score apart is its clinical post-modern feel - with influences including Mica, John Carpenter, Brian Eno, Goblin, Fabio Frizzi, even with whispers of the 1980s, as well as a musical feel a little like the classic "Drive" soundtrack.

        Yet with all these influences composer Alec Cheer somehow manages to create a new work that sounds unlike any other. It’s dark, bewitching, mesmerizing, ear-catching and even quite banging in parts. Look, it must be good, otherwise Jonny Trunk would not be pressing it. And with a spelling mistake too. 


        David Shire

        The Conversation – Original Movie Soundtrack

        This is the first time the complete score to The Conversation has been released on vinyl. The film itself was originally released in 1974 and a 7” demo of the theme was sent out as promotional material by Paramount (PAA-0305), but a USA stock edition was never issued. In Japan the same music was also issued on a 7” at about the same time (JET-2273), with a picture sleeve, but until now nothing else has ever been pressed on vinyl.

        Jonny Trunk’s little obsession with this music began after I’d caught the film, late night, sometime in the mid 1990s. Musically it’s an exceptional example of the “new minimalism” in film music of the period, marking a departure (for some) from big scores to smaller, more economic ensemble sounds.

        The film was written, produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and is still a thrilling journey into sound, mind and murder. Heavily influenced by Antonioni’s Blow-Up (and not, as some thought, by Watergate), Coppola wanted to fuse the concept of Blow-Up with “the world of audio surveillance”. The story centres around Harry Caul (Gene Hackman), a mac-wearing professional wire-tapper and clandestine bugger who gets unusually consumed by a conversation he’s been paid to record. Caul is a loner, an obsessive-compulsive character with numerous neuroses that play out brilliantly throughout the film. And as he slowly pieces together the conversation fragments and forms his own story around it, his world falls apart.

        Sonically this movie – all about sound - is groundbreaking in many ways, with actual “sound design” provided by the legendary Walter Murch - the man who actually invented the term in the first place.

        For the music, Coppola wisely chose a young David Shire, his brother in law. Shire’s deceptively simple piano theme (composed because of no budget for big orchestra) is one of tragic beauty, brilliantly capturing Caul’s loneliness, his slightly disturbed nature and this trip into darkness. The melody has both sweet and sour tones, feeling a little like a slow ragtime, which both develops and retreats throughout the film; there are even trips into avant-garde territory with electro-acoustic flourishes and concrète. The solo, agitated figure of Caul, wearing his distinctive transparent mac, is made all the more raw and poignant by the score - the sparse and curiously emotional compositions are unlike any others I can think of from the period.

        The soundtrack for The Conversation proved to be a major break for Shire, his career really taking off from this musical point. His next score was to be the underground classic Taking Of Pelham 123, followed up later ironically by All The Presidents Men - a thriller about the Watergate scandal.

        The Conversation went on to win several awards and nominations, and has become a classic of the “New Hollywood” movement. Hopefully now this music may become part of the renewed interest in old film soundtracks.


        Volume five of the killer Britxotica! series, looking this time at 16 super rare and briliantly bonkers latin and percussive pop cues from the wild British Isles!

        Britxotica! (pronounced “Britzotica”) neatly describes an odd and yet undocumented pre-Beatles British musical scene where famed UK composers as well as unknown singers and bandleaders threw convention on holiday and went wild wild wild! Put together by Jonny Trunk with DJ / tastemaker and Smashing nighclub legend Martin Green, these groundbreaking new compilations shine new light on lost and forgotten corners of British culture and sound.

        For this, Part Five of our planned Britxotica! series we head to lively latin tinged dancefloors where Brits could cha cha cha to the KIrchin band, “Jump In The Line” with Frank Holder and Mambo with Ido or Don. This killer collection of British dance obscurities brings us lively sounds from the rarest UK record bins, including this time an amazing cover version of the legendary loungecore hit “House Of Bamboo” plus the stunning “Jonny One Note” by Ted Heath, the track that originally introduced John Craven’s Newsround. To sum up, this is another exciting, wild and occasionally bonkers compilation by Jonny Trunk and Martin Green, two of the UKs most wild record collectors. Also, there are men in underpants on the sleeve, What’s not to like?


        Ted Dicks

        Virgin Witch - The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

        Unreleased baroque jazz horror score to controversial lesbian sex cult witchcraft exploitation drama from 1973, composed by the man who wrote the Catweazle theme! Hell yeah!
        Ted Dicks is not that well known as a composer these days, but back in the mid 1960s he was composing library music as well penning some of the greatest comedy songs of the era, including “Hole In The Ground” and “Right Said Fred”. His work was performed by Kenneth Williams, Petula Clarke, Bernard Cribbins, Topol and more. But until now, little has been known of his brief flirtation with film music.
        Virgin Witch was his first brush with film scoring – one of only two score he wrote. The film was produced by legendary wrestling commentator Ken Walton (under his Sexploitation pseudonym of “Ralph Solomans”), with the help of Hazel Adair, a woman famed for co-creating the long running UK TV soap Crossroads. Virgin Witch was a racey film, turned down at least once for certification by the BBFC, passed uncut with an X for release just in London, then cut and passed for general release shortly afterwards.
        The score itself is a unique and quite beautiful pop baroque work, utilizing the cimbalom, an instrument more than likely played here by “Ipcress file” musician John Leach.
        This is a very limited release of a most unique 1970s pop horror lesbian witch score. Get it before they are all sold and you start moaning you didn’t order it in time. 


        STAFF COMMENTS

        Patrick says: Trunk take us back to the readers' wives vibe of their early days with this strictly limited reissue of Ted Dicks' (Arf) score to softcore lesbo horror froth "Virgin Witch".

        Zwartjes

        Tapes 1

        This LP represents the first ever sound recordings from the archive of cult Dutch film director Frans Zwartjes. The sound is unlike anything you maye have heard - dream-like, disjointed, peculiar, unexpected and totally unique. Frans Zwartjes is famous for his art-house films (look him up on YouTube). A Dutch underground auteur, his prolific output dates from 1968.

        A unique talent, Zwartjes produced, directed and edited his own films (his last work was in 1991), but more importantly he created and improvised the soundtracks too. Zwartjes is still alive today and his large body of work is only now being recognised by a wider, more international crowd, with screenings at the NFT and other important art-house cinemas across the world. The recordings on Tapes 1 were mixed directly from the Zwartjes soundtrack tape archive.

        They were assembled directly and in real time by Zwartjes archivist Stanley Schtinter and were originally issued three years ago on cassette, in an edition of 50. Don’t bother trying to find one of them. The music, sound and speech have been put together as two long, seamless sequences; they are dreamlike, peculiar, plugged-in, prescient and unlike any other soundtrack we have heard.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Patrick says: Shifting between kosmische synthscapes, abstract tape experiments and experimental jazz, this collection of self composed scores from Dutch auteur Frans Zwartjes is batshit, beautiful and brilliant all at the same time.

        Jose Prates / Miecio Askanasy

        Tam...Tam...Tam...

        In August of 2014 a request was sent out by Gilles Peterson for someone to issue the incredibly rare Brazilian LP 'Tam…Tam…Tam…!'

        This is because it’s an extraordinary album, only issued once in 1958 as part of Mieco Askanasy’s 1950s touring “Braziliana” show. It’s so rare not even Gilles Peterson has a copy (and let's face it, he doesn't just have a Record Room, he has a whole Record House...).

        The original music was written and produced with José Prates and as an album it stands out as a keystone in the development of the Brazilian sound that was to explode around the world in the decade to follow. This is the first time this landmark LP has been issued since 1958. An original, if you ever found one, would cost you in excess of £1000.

        The reason Gilles Peterson wanted this album reissued is because it is so extraordinary. Musically it works on a number of levels – firstly that the solid blueprint of 1960s Brazilian music runs throughout it. For example, if you listen to Track Three Side One “Nānā Imborô” you will hear “Mas-Que-Nada”.

        Secondly, the infectious rhythms, melodies and exotic sounds that emanate from this album are deep, raw and totally engaging. And the more you listen to 'Tam…Tam…Tam…!' the more you hear its importance and influence.

        This rare reissue comes at a crucial time, when in our connected and information saturated world few important things have escaped attention and reappraisal. Finding anything new and genuinely incredible is a rare feat.



        One of the rarest, weirdest and most brilliantly odd soundtracks of all time, written and performed by one of the most fascinating underground characters ever.

        Described by Jello Biafra as “a disco lounge lizard from hell”, Palmer Rockey and the Palmer Rockey story have to be read to be believed, and even then you might not believe it.

        And this album has to be heard properly to understand the madness, weirdness and total passion brought to the studio sometime in Texas in the mid to late 1970s. Palmer Rockey was a remarkable con-artist. He made this one record, the soundtrack to his one weird movie. It’s incredibly rare, only one copy surfacing in the last decade. Once heard you may fall deeply for Palmer’s charms, it’s strangely moving and all wrong, like something straight out of the world of David Lynch.

        The edited Palmer Rockey story goes something like this: after a difficult childhood but an interesting education, Palmer Rockey became obsessed by the movies. So obsessed that he travelled to the UK and tried to get a film script to Boris Karloff in Shepperton. Unsuccessful, he returned to Texas to make his own film. To do so (according to legend) he conned rich Texan housewives out of money. When he got money, he shot film, then fell out with the cast and crew. He then conned more money from different women, shot more film with different cast and crew, then fell out with them too. This continued for years. The “finished” film, It Happened One Weekend was only shown once (ironically just once, one weekend), at the premier in Canyon Creek, Sunday October 11th,1974. In fact the photo on the front of the album was shot by his wife the night of the premier. The film was written, produced, edited, directed and starred Palmer Rockey (as twin brothers of course), with all music by Palmer Rockey. The plot was apparently demonic and “beyond the room of terrifying evil”. Also included was a “Sunday Surprise Ending”. I believe the surprise that Sunday was that people laughed all the way through, and even walked out. It was a total disaster on every level, apparently nothing in the movie made any sense at all. But undeterred by such poor reaction he continued to tinker with the film – sure that it would eventually bring him an Academy Award. He released it again and again in several different versions over the next few years, firstly with the title It Happened One Sunday, which played briefly in Denver, El Paso and also at drive-in theatres. The film then disappeared, was recut with new scenes and appeared again in 1980, as Rockey’s Style, Scarlet Love and also Scarlet Warning 666. All the while Palmer Rockey was battling debtors, having already been sued in the 1960s by his uncle for non-payment of loans. There’s not a great deal of information about his career and life in the 1980s, but we do know he passed away in 1996, leaving behind very little apart from debt and this unusual self-pressed album. There is no sign or trace of any version of the film anywhere. And boy, are people looking for it.

        Palmer wrote all the music for the film(s), and there are, as far as we know two private issues of the soundtrack from the same period - 1980. There’s Scarlet Love, which was followed (or it’s possibly the other way around) days or weeks later as he’d decided to change the name of the film again, to Rockey’s Style. Both have the same original catalogue number and subtitle of “Movie Album”, and both have track titles that do not match the albums. You will observe we have kept the original and incorrect tracklisting on the album sleeve, but kept the correct ones on the album and CD labels.

        Musically it’s beautifully played and oddly performed, with a bizarre sense of passion and surprising honesty. It’s an unusual album in that once heard it sticks like glue to your brain. You may well find your self getting slightly obsessed by it. We certainly have. Sleevenotes include an intro by Jon Brooks of Ghostbox, who not only remastered the album but also quickly became consumed by the music and the Palmer Rockey story. And now this incredible and unique outsider album is released we have to wonder if anyone will ever find the missing Palmer Rockey movie…


        Various Artists

        Dawn Of The Dead - Unreleased Soundtrack Music From George A Romero's...

        This is a truly fascinating record, the holy grail for any self-respecting horror movie buff; the never-before-released soundtrack music from George Romero's classic 1978 zombie flick. Apart from the original score by Italy's Goblin, the film included many pieces of incidental cues and muzak moments. These were collated by Italian director Dario Argento and culled from various sources, concentrating on European music libraries and passing off some as the muzak of the Monroeville Mall in Pittsburgh where the movie was shot. Jonny Trunk and Joel Martin have sourced many of these rare pieces and issued them for the first time here. From the quirky march of Herbert Chappell's "The Gonk" to the Kinks-ish beat stylings of "Cause I'm A Man" by Electric Banana (AKA The Pretty Things!), this comp provides all the "Dawn Of The Dead" music you could possibly ask for. The perfect soundtrack for mall roaming, Zombies ice-skating, rednecks a-hunting and motorbike gangs getting eaten!


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