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Damo Suzuki, former lead vocalist for the massively influential krautrock band Can, has famously retired from studio recording. However, he continues to perform live concerts made up solely of compositions improvised entirely on the spot. These bold and fearless performances have enthralled audiences around the globe and brought new found attention to Suzuki’s incredible talent. Purple Pyramid Records is proud to present a new chapter in Suzuki’s ongoing musical explorations, a stunning collaboration with a German quartet of Can neophytes, going by the very Can-esque name of Jelly Planet. After performing live with Damo, the band was able to coax the singer into their studio for a fully improvised full length recording. Unlike previous Suzuki recordings, the studio setting gave the performers full control over every aspect of the recording ensuring that every nuance, inflection, and dynamic could be heard. The result is an album of incredible sonic quality and an authentically mind-blowing exploration into the outer edges of space rock! The self-titled album, Damo Suzuki & Jelly Planet, will be available on CD, vinyl (as a double LP set) and in digital formats starting February 2.
Damo Suzuki & Jelly Planet – Damo Suzuki & Jelly Planet (CD, Purple Pyramid, Improvisation/progressive)
Although he has been involved with numerous projects over the course of his lengthy career, Damo Suzuki (whose real name is Kenji Suzuki) remains primarily known as the lead singer for the German experimental band Can from 1970 to 1973. The band’s impact has grown considerably over the years which is interesting because when Can was in existence they were relatively obscure in the big scheme of things. Damo has retired from the world of studio recording, but he continues to play live concerts. As such, this is an important release because–after playing live with Suzuki–the guys in the band Jelly Planet were able to entice him into a studio to record these two lengthy tracks. These completely spontaneous recordings are interesting and intriguing on a variety of levels. Suzuki’s vocal work is miraculous in many ways. Unlike some who sound like they’re making stuff up on the spot, his unintelligible improvised vocal work sounds very much like it was created in advance and rehearsed (?!!). The man has an incredible knack for making the abstract seem very concrete and real. Jelly Planet provides the perfect foundation for Damo’s vocal stylings. The band is comprised of Felix A. Gutierrez on bass, Stephan Hendricks on keyboards, Jens Kuchenthal on drums, and Alexander Schonert on guitar. Recorded by Guido Lucas at Blubox Studio in Germany in 2005, these tracks are bound to please Can fans and just about anyone who loves cool and credible improvisational music. A wild ride from start to finish.
For the 10 years between 2002 and 2012, cosmic nomad Damo Suzuki made annual trips to Australia, zigzagging across the country to perform improvised set with constant rotation of unacquainted sound carriers. While most of these limitless jams only existed in a passing flash, one special document exists – The Swiftsure Session.
Recorded deep in the Melbourne suburbs at Corduroy Records in 2004, these 48 minutes of free energy were cut direct to vinyl in real time. No overdubs or editing. Nothing but live tension. Duelling guitarists Emil Sarlija and Oren Ambarchi (later of hysterical prog group Superstupid) wandered blindly to a rhythm section anchored by Angie March’s Davey Williams and Edmond Ammendola, while Damo exercised his voice as an instrument, often indecipherable, inviting listener to create their own stories. In this room, every sound carrier is equal, opting out of any cues or direction. The only direction is UP!
Damo’s spirit comes with one consideration – audience members must be present as playing to cold studio machines restricts the communication. To bridge a feedback loop, 20-30 friends and fans banded around shared space.
Engineer Harry Williamson, who has his own psychedelic history as a member of Nik Turner’s Spynx and Mother Gong, manned the controls, ready to flip the acetate.
Rushed to press to beat the plant’s imminent closure, the original short run of the Swiftsure Session stretched 2LPs with a clank side. Here it is boiled down to a single disc, maximising the listening experience.
Part 1 23:58
Part 2 23:55
Sound Carriers :
Oren Ambarchi (Guitar)
Edmondo Ammendola (Bass)
Emil Sarlija (Guitar)
Damo Suzuki (Vocals)
Davey Williams (Drums)
Damo Suzuki in performance with Château Laut, recorded at Ausland, Berlin, 30.iv.2010 by Stephan Laackman. Mastered for cassette format by Mark Van Hoen.
Château Laut’s Stefan Fähler writes: “I contacted Damo in 2009. He didn’t reply immediately and at one point I just forgot about it… So, it was a huge surprise when he replied, exactly a year to the day later, explaining his email’s calendar was weird and he had only just now received my mail. Quickly, we arranged all details for our concert-to-be.
We first met a couple of months later, at the airport. We picked him up in the morning and were stoned just an hour later in our kitchen. The energy for the whole day was so peaceful and warm. On the way to soundcheck we saw barricades and police vans on the streets in readiness for 1 May – a date famous in Berlin for rioting and protest. We joked about this “predictable riot”, marked in calendars for all to see.
The gig at Ausland proceeded organically. We shared many beautiful moments, both on and off stage. Damo was so much into the atmosphere and the crowd that, after our main set, we went on-stage a second time. Afterwards, we crashed at our place, downing a couple of whiskeys before going to sleep, happy.
We kept in touch. He became something close to a spiritual mentor for me. He gave us contacts around the globe for travels and put me in touch with many nice people. He once said to me, one of the most important things in life is to travel. We were glad he stopped by our place on his journey.” – Stefan Fähler, Berlin, 23.viii.2017
Floating Element 76:55
(For Double LP : Floating Element : Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, Season 4)
Damo Suzuki’s Network featuring Elysian Quartet, special guests : Adem and John-Paul Gandy
Damo Suzuki (Vocal)
Elysian Quartet :
Jennymay Logan (Violin)
Laura Moody (Cello, Vocal)
Vince Sipprell (Viola)
Emma Smith (Violin)
Special Guests :
Adem (Harmonium, Percussion)
John-Paul Gandy (Piano)
Recorded live at the Purcell Room, London on April 2 2007.
Special thanks to Gerald Jenkins: Without his support this project has never happen.
Gerald is from New Zealand, knows London music scene from his work as photograph. Over seven years we made many things together, I create time and space of the moment with ever changing sound carriers. He’ve got an idea to arrange Elysian Quartet and me. They brought two special guests Adem and John-Paul. This is 2nd half of the event.
Sadly Vince passed on January 30th 2015 didn’t see this album. R.I.P : Vince Sipprell (May 8th 1979 – January 30th 2015)
Also thanks to John Lappen contacted me Cleopatra, and Matt Green who give us chance to release very special, non category music like this.
Best way to listen this material is put your headphone, put your volume high.
Limited edition of 500 copies packaged in a heavy duty gatefold sleeve. On a long hot summer night in 2012 a meeting of minds happened in Liverpool, England. Damo Suzuki visited the city to play a show with MUGSTAR. After a flurry of e-mails Damo requested MUGSTAR not to practice or figure out any music prior to the performance, as he believed it should “Start from Zero”. Leaving the whole performance to be entirely improvised on the spot. It proved to be quite a night: the shamanic presence of the legendary Damo Suzuki immersed in the full-on, intense, sound of MUGSTAR – one of the leading bands currently exploring fresh and uncharted areas – as they forge forward through the deep space of kraut/psych. The music that emerged that evening moved through driving, head-spinning double wah-wah attacks, eerie ethereal passages and on to an extended motorik coda, all powered along by thunderous bass and drums. Damo settled in immediately, a master of his own unique art. Surging along with MUGSTAR as “sound carriers”, absorbed in the energy and atmosphere through to the shows exhausting end. It’s a great pairing.
Sound Carriers :
Damo Suzuki – Vocals
Peter Smyth – Guitar, Keyboards
Neil Murphy – Guitar
Jason Stoll – Bass
Steve Ashton – Drums
1. Waken to the Night
2. Subway Sound
4. Zero Coda
Recorded Valentine’s Day 2013 at the Dragens Hule club in Copenhagen, Denmark, this live set consists of the entire concert in the order it was played. On this night the OSC lineup was Nick (The Univerzarls) and Nicklas (Papir) on guitar, Mikael (SKL, Agusa) played guitar on two tracks, Pär (Sgt. Sunshine, Carpet Knights) on bass, Birk on drums, Dr Space, Mogens and Rasmus on keyboards and synths, and the great Damo Suzuki on vocals. Read more:
Krautrock pioneer Damo Suzuki, vocalist of Can, has influenced generations of creative musicians. This enigmatic singer has continued the journey, traveling the globe to perform improvised music with a unique collection of musicians. The lucky few that perform with him he calls his Network or Sound Carriers. Canadian Sound Carriers have included members of Black Mountain, Broken Social Scene and Do Make Say Think, among many others.
On a warm night in June he set down in Nanaimo, BC for an epic night of long heavy space rock jams in front of a rabid sold-out crowd at the historic Globe Hotel. The result is a sprawling, transcendent, seamless soundscape. Damo’s vocalizing feeds off the energy and dynamics of the band. A strangely hypnotic and melodic repetition of phrases and countered with low gutteral growls delivered in his own language. The legacy of Can is always evident. The auditory capture was superb and the result obvious. It must be shared. David Read of Vinyl Record Guru immediately decided to release it as a co-production of NoiseAgonyMayhem Records and Lance Rock Records.
“The title, Seven Potatoes, is Damo’s translation of Nanaimo in Japanese,” Read explained. “The release date is timed for Damo’s return to Nanaimo on May 11, 2014 at St. Andrew’s Heritage Church in the Old City Quarter.”
The recording captures Damo’s memorable performance last June with a psychedelic rock orchestra assembled from Nanaimo’s thriving independent music scene featuring members of Clumsy Lovers, Colliding Canyons, Moths & Locusts, and Wolf Parade. Two synth stations, fuzzed-out guitars and three drummers coalesce behind Damo’s commanding presence.
The physical edition of Seven Potatoes is available on extremely limited beautiful black vinyl records and can be ordered via Bandcamp (http://sevenpotatoes.bandcamp.com).
To see some footage from the 2013 show check out the appropriately lengthy promotional video: