Alastair Riddell & Space Waltz: New Zealand’s answer to David Bowie were a teen sensation in 1974
10.16.2017
10:02 am
Topics:
Tags:

Space Waltz
 
Haling from Auckland, Space Waltz were a New Zealand glam band, fronted by singer/guitarist/songwriter Alastair Riddell. After a major TV appearance that shocked the country, Riddell and Space Waltz were overnight sensations, but their success was short-lived.

Riddell formed Space Waltz in 1973, though they were originally called Stewart and the Belmonts. After deciding to focus on Riddell’s songs rather than the cover material they were playing, they changed their name to Space Waltz in 1974. Once the group solidified, Riddell’s bandmates were Greg Clark (guitar), Peter Cuddihy (bass), Brent Eccles (drums), and Tony Raynor (keyboards)
 
Early lineup of Space Waltz
An early version of Space Waltz.

Looking to get the most eyes and ears on their new group, Space Waltz determined they should try out for the Studio One—New Faces TV talent contest. Their subsequent audition was a success and soon the group would be seen by a national audience. With a panel of judges and a variety show format—largely consisting of schlocky middle-of-the-road performers—the program was American Idol meets The Ed Sullivan Show. On the August 21, 1974 episode of Studio One—New Faces, Space Waltz were the final act of the evening. Performing Riddell’s “Out on the Street,” the unit—especially their singer—made quite an impression. As Riddell later put it, adults across the country were “shocked and appalled” by his band.
 

 
Global Glam and Popular Music: Style and Spectacle from the 1970s to the 2000s is a 2016 collection of scholarly essays concerning the glam genre. In the piece “Spotting the Rare Sequined Kiwi: Three Approaches to Glam Rock in 1970s New Zealand,” author Ian Chapman writes about Space Waltz’s TV debut and how it impacted New Zealand’s youth:

The younger members of both studio and television audiences reacted to “Out on the Street” with unbridled enthusiasm, while Riddell’s energetic stage presence and unique appearance found similar favor. Performing in make-up and lipstick and wearing a flamboyant costuming, Riddell’s vocals were highly affected while his strutting, posing, and general air of commanding confidence engendered a wide range of reactions, again largely depending upon the age of the viewer.

Space Waltz were instantly famous in New Zealand, with EMI signing the band before the TV competition even ended. At the time, David Bowie was one of the most popular glam artists in New Zealand and Riddell was viewed as the country’s version of Ziggy Stardust.
 
Out on the Street poster
 
“Out on the Street” was rush-released as a single, in order to coincide with Space Waltz’s second television appearance, which would be the Studio One—New Faces finale. The group did another Riddell original, “Beautiful Boy,” with Mike Chunn from Split Enz on bass. Ultimately, they don’t end up with enough votes to win the New Faces contest, though it hardly mattered. Before the vote tally, one judge on the panel exclaims, “My mother hates them!” But he also praises the unit, predicting “Out on the Street” will be a hit.
 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Bart Bealmear
|
10.16.2017
10:02 am
|
Every crate digger’s nightmare: Record store has ‘Whipped Cream and Other Delights’ and nothing else
10.16.2017
01:32 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
If there’s one thing all record collectors have in common, it’s the experience of running into Whipped Cream & Other Delights by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass innumerable times…. like literally, every time you go into a record store you haven’t been to already. If you’re flipping through the A rack or the H rack (different stores do it different ways), then at some point you’re quite likely to flip past the familiar green image of a comely lass (Dolores Erickson was her name) wearing nothing but an impossible quantity of a cream-like substance (it was actually shaving cream, and she was pregnant at the time).

Released in 1965, Whipped Cream & Other Delights was the fourth album Alpert put out, and it was one of the most massive successes of pop music history—which explains its ubiquity in today’s used wax market—everybody’s parents had the fucking thing. (Knowledgeable music fans will know that it appeared on A&M Records, primarily because the “A” in A&M Records stands for “Alpert.”)

According to Wikipedia, more than 6 million copies of the album were sold, and unlike later eras there was no question about what format it appeared in—for many years it was vinyl or nothing…. It’s the National Geographic of albums, every record store owner comes across it all the time. Hell, even Maude in The Big Lebowski owns a copy.
 

 
Last week Dave Taylor, who runs Weirdsville Records in Mt. Clemens, Michigan, on the northern edge of Detroit, pulled a funny kind of prank when he decided to switch up the visual look of his store for an hour or two. You can see the results above and below—a full wall of Whipped Cream & Other Delights and Whipped Cream & Other Delights fronting every bin! (Yes, in case you were wondering, the unseen albums in the bins are not all Alpert’s masterpiece, they’re just regular albums.)

Anyone who would name his store Weirdsville and would transform it into a shrine to Herb Alpert is OK by me. I reached out to Taylor and got him to discuss the stunt. His amusing opening salvo went like this: “Every day we get records in. There will be AT LEAST 2 of these in every stack! 9 out of 10 households had this record! It’s a great record and who can’t love this cover?”

One of the most interesting aspects of the display is that Taylor went out of his way to make sure customers understood that the copies are not for sale. Taylor says that he has about 75 copies of the album, and sheepishly admitted that he is “stockpiling the Herb.” A couple years ago DM introduced readers to Rutherford Chang, who is quixotically trying to corner the market in the Beatles’ White Album, and Taylor has seemingly cemented his status as one of the world’s leading Whipped Cream & Other Delights collector—although in this case many used record store proprietors might have a head start in terms of catching up to him!
 

 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
|
10.16.2017
01:32 am
|
Exquisite Corpses: Polly Morgan’s sculptural taxidermy
10.13.2017
10:06 am
Topics:
Tags:

01pollymmyocardialinfarction.jpg
‘Myocardial Infarction.’
 
Polly Morgan is an artist who specializes in taxidermy to create works of disturbing beauty. Morgan describes her craft as “as part butchery, part sculpture.” While her work may not be to everyone’s taste, it should be noted that all of the animals used by Morgan either died from natural causes or had unpreventable deaths. She has a long list of suppliers, from zoos, vets, farmers, and even family members, who supply her with a range of dead animals.

It wasn’t a straight path to her chosen career. Morgan tried her hand at a variety of jobs before deciding on following-up on a long-held interest in taxidermy. She was raised in the English countryside in a household filled with a menagerie of animals. As a child, she had wanted to keep the bodies of her pets that had died. Morgan now sees her work as “an opportunity to freeze that moment.”

It was while working in a bar that Morgan started her studies in taxidermy. She had asked a friend where she could find a piece of taxidermy for her apartment. Her friend suggested rather than buying one she make one herself. After scouring the Yellow Pages, she eventually contacted George Jamieson, a taxidermist based in Cramond, Edinburgh. For around $200, Jamieson instructed Morgan on the basics of taxidermy. Jamieson gave her a pigeon to work on, which she completed within a day. This was in 2004. Since then, Morgan has exhibited her taxidermied sculptures to considerable acclaim across the world and has been fêted by the likes of Banksy and Damien Hirst.

You might think all this working death and dead animals would make Morgan a tad morbid and even overly downhearted. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Morgan thinks it silly to have an emotional attachment to something that is dead. It’s just decaying flesh. Instead, she believes what she is doing is very positive by making something beautiful out of death.

See more of Polly Morgan’s work here.
 
02pollymlovebird.jpg
‘Lovebird.’
 
03pollymjustassudden.jpg
‘Just as Sudden.’
 
05pollymrestalittleonthelapoflife-Rat.jpg
Detail from ‘Rest a Little on the Lap of Life.’
 
More of Polly Morgan’s exquisite work, after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
|
10.13.2017
10:06 am
|
Jozef van Wissem buries the dead in his new video ‘Virium Illarum,’ a DM premiere
10.13.2017
07:16 am
Topics:
Tags:


The composer with holy book, custom lute and Thoreau essay

Writers usually describe Jozef van Wissem as a composer who plays the lute, which might create the mistaken impression that his music sounds like the English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble. It’s closer to stoner rock. Some DM readers will know his collaborations with Gary Lucas of the Magic Band, Zola Jesus, and Jim Jarmusch. His excellent score for Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive won the Cannes Soundtrack Award in 2013.

Van Wissem says his new album, Nobody Living Can Ever Make Me Turn Back, is “a follow up of sorts” to music he wrote for the National Gallery in 2008 to accompany Hans Holbein the Younger’s painting “The Ambassadors,” an image “famous for its anamorphic skull.” Everything on this record is a reminder of mortality, from Cindy Wright’s cover art to the 13 ringing minutes of “Our Bones Lie Scattered Before The Pit.”

Though the album’s title sounds vaguely like something you might find inscribed in Latin on the walls of the Paris Catacombs, or in Greek in an Orphic temple, it’s actually the penultimate line of “This Land Is Your Land”:

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

Van Wissem seems to ask, What about the dead?
 

Cindy Wright’s cover art for ‘Nobody Living Can Ever Make Me Turn Back’
 
In the video for the album’s first track, “Virium Illarum” (Latin for “of those powers”), van Wissem and Jacopo Benassi find a use for their set of matryoshka coffins. Director Federico Pepe explains what they’re up to:

A single moment can make a life, a simple shade of a happening can become stone in our memory, a voice once heard can be guidance for a lifetime. That means that they all deserve to be categorized or “buried” in our minds and souls with the same importance.

More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Oliver Hall
|
10.13.2017
07:16 am
|