Aug 22, 2007

Amplified Emotion

"Νοσταλγώ μόνο δύο περιόδους στη ζωή μου: όταν ήμουν και στις δύο περιπτώσεις ένα άγνωστο πρόσωπο, και το στοιχείο της εξαφάνισής μου ήταν εντελώς ισοβαρές με την παρουσία μου. Την πρώτη ακριβώς μετά τον Πόλεμο, όταν μεγάλες ομάδες ξεχυνόντουσαν στους δρόμους κι εγώ ήμουν μια απίθανη μονάδα όλως ανυποψίαστη· και άλλη μια φορά, στην Καλιφόρνια, το 1968. [...] Θυμάμαι ακόμα τη λεωφόρο Κάνυον, τότε το '68, που έδενε τα βουνά του Χόλυγουντ, γεμάτη σπίτια νέων που συζούσαν, που το βράδυ έπαιζαν μουσική, μοίραζαν το Free Press, ενταγμένοι στο νεανικό κίνημα με την πρώτη πολιτική συνείδηση. Έγινα τότε φίλος με το συγκρότημα των Jefferson Airplane κι έφυγα μαζί τους, χάθηκα για 6 μήνες μες στο Λος Άντζελες, το πνιγμένο στα ινδικά αρώματα." (Απόσπασμα από τη συνέντευξη του Μ. Χατζιδάκι στο Στάθη Τσαγκαρουσιάνο, από το πρόσφατο βιβλίο του δεύτερου με τίτλο "Αντίο Παλιέ Κόσμε", που αποτελείται από '21 σπάνιες συνομιλίες με αξιοσημείωτους ανθρώπους').

* * *

[...]It's the late sixties. Three brothers, Doug, Daryl and Dennis Dragon are living in Malibu, surfing and gigging around the Los Angeles area and having their minds blown by the music of The Beatles, Hendrix and The Doors. The multi-instrumentalist sons of a symphony conductor and an opera singer, the Dragon brothers decide it's time to create their own psychedelic soul/rock masterpiece. A high school friend of Dennis, Donn Landee, is working as a recording engineer at Sunwest Recording Studios in Hollywood and they begin to go there to put tracks down in "off time" often working from 3am, when they finish their regular gigs, until morning.

They call the sessions "Blue Forces Intelligence" find themselves layering their instruments in new ways, adding deep, bassy vocal lines and then ramming them up against falsetto harmonies, adding organs and space age sound effects, recording spirituals and pop and crazy rock opera. The effect is increasingly spacey and weird, but also funky - a missing link between new directions others are exploring in jazz and soul as well as rock music.

Unfortunately, the suits at the West Coast offices of the major labels aren't ready, complaining that they don't hear a hit. After shopping the record, now called just "BFI", for a few months, the boys become disillusioned and focus instead on their session work.[...] Jump on 37 years. Strictly Kev/DJ Food, influential mixologist and designer for Ninja Tune and obsessive record collector - picks up a new batch of vinyl from a record dealer he knows. In amongst them is a 500-run private pressing of the soundtrack to a surf movie called "A Sea For Yourself". On it is a track called "Food For My Soul" by a band called the Dragons. Kev being a fan of all possible food-based puns and currently putting together the mix for his new "Solid Steel" mix cd for Ninja, drops the needle on the groove.

What he finds amazes him - a true psychedelic original from a band he's never heard of. Using his extensive contacts in the world of vinyl mania, he manages to track Dennis Dragon down. He emails him, asks him if he can include "Food For My Soul" on the mix. Sure, says Dennis. There's a whole album of the stuff if he's interested. Dennis checks. Donn still has the master tapes. He converts them to mp3 and emails them to Kev. Kev is blown away. He forwards them to Ninja Tune. Ninja Tune think it's a scam. But then they listen. And they listen again. And then, after nearly forty years sitting on a recording engineer's shelf, Ninja Tune decide to release "BFI".

The Dragons - Amplified Emotion

buzz it!

No comments: