Newsletter February 2004

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We’ve had to combine months due to pressure of studio work bringing up so much new music. Normal service will be renewed soon…..

Digging out from ten inches of overnight New York snow, we complete the present Carmel site series with an interview with the singer herself, Carmel Mc Court. Conducted by phone between Mike Thorne in New York and Carmel in Manchester, England, it ranges widely over the influences absorbed and embraced by the group, particularly African music and culture, racial prejudice in the British early-eighties music business, and reasons for singing. A couple of times, it’s interrupted by her dog going barkingly berserk for no obvious reason. That fits, somehow.
Together with the interview with Johnny Folarin, the group’s Nigerian conga player for a long period, and the collection of articles about the production of several of their ambitious and distinctive records, we now have a cohesive view of this volatile and adventurous act of the eighties which is now in the process of reforming. Although little-know to US site visitors, the opinions and reminiscences are never short of being entertaining in their own right. And you can hear long-deleted tracks in RealAudio.

In our recording world, we can finally declare Thorne’s ‘The Contessa’s Party’ CD finished. Eight tracks lasting a total of 75 minutes. Dancing is involved. More follows when we know a release schedule.

Also done is the Universe. Charles Ives’ symphonic one, that is. God was relieved to join in and crack out the champagne in mid-February, after more than two years of careful recording involving 74 instruments of the AFMM Orchestra in a first realization of Johnny Reinhard’s new, approved performing version. Again, we’ll keep you up on the release schedule. It’s now nearly eight years since the single live performance at New York’s Lincoln Center on June 6 1996.

We’ve posted scans of a few pages from the working, handwritten score. It’s pretty substantial. And certainly both heavenly and earthly, as you can see from Ives’ own comments on one page.

Other CDs coming (slowly) from us are ‘Dancing At The Stereo Society’ (for which you can sample a few as free mp3s in our Downloads section) Lene Lovich’s newest (a track from which was included in a one-off CD sold at her New York Halloween 2003 show) and a crisply edited CD of short versions of the eight tracks on the Contessa’s Party.

Apparently we’re now supposed always to tell you that you can unsubscribe from our E mail newsletter. The US government has realized that it can pass a law and spam will disappear, just like that. If our missives are getting to you, justhit reply and just tell us if you think we’re that dismal. Alternatively, you could forward it to lots of other people and tell them to come visit. We’d like that.