Posts by Ethan Simonoff

To my great surprise, I learned that Ace Frehley, lead guitarist of Kiss, wrote the original version of this track. The cover comes from Australian composer and multi-instrumentalist Oren Ambarchi. The track is taken from his most recent album, Audience of One, which was released on Touch Records this year.

Ambarchi has performed with John Zorn, Otomo Yoshihide, Keiji Haino, Jim O’Rourke, Sunn O)), and countless others. Ambarchi first began playing music in the ’80s as a free jazz drummer, but most of his work since then has involved experimentation with the guitar. Ambarchi also plays in Gravetemple with Stephen O’Malley of Sunn O)), and in Burial Chamber Trio with the other half of Sunn O)), Greg Anderson.

[Discogs]
[Touch]
[Website]

Robert Fripp and brothers Michael and Peter Giles formed the group Giles, Giles & Fripp in Bournemouth in 1967. The band was active for 2 years, releasing only one album on Deram Records. This track is an outtake from that album, The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles & Fripp, first included on its 1992 reissue. The album did poorly; Robert Fripp has stated that the original release only sold around 500 copies. The group broke up not long after, though Michael Giles and Fripp found better success with their next project, the group King Crimson.

Fripp had an extensive solo career, including several collaborations with artists like Brian Eno and Andy Summers (of The Police). Fripp’s lover, poet Joanna Walton, coined the term “Frippertronics” to describe his innovative use of tape delay and tape looping in the production of his and Eno’s album, No Pussyfooting, in 1973.

[Discogs]
[iTunes]

Logic System was the musical vehicle for Japanese programmer Hideki Matsutake. Matsutake first got involved with music after hearing Walter Carlos’ Switched On Bach at the 1970 World’s Fair in Osaka. Shortly thereafter, 19-year-old Matsutake became the apprentice of Japanese music programmer Isao Tomita and performed on the Moog III-P.

Matsutake was also a frequent contributor to Yellow Magic Orchestra, doing sequencing and music programming for them for their first five studio albums. As Logic System, he released three amazing albums from 1981-1982: Logic; Venus, from which today’s track is taken; and Orient Express. Matsutake also serves as chairman to the Japan Synthesizer Programmers Association, whose goals are as follows: 1) to contribute to progressing music and the music business, and 2) to promote better recognition of synthesizer programmers and elevate their status in the music world.

[Discogs]
[Official (Japanese)]
[Unofficial (English)]

Penguin Cafe Orchestra, fronted by British guitarist Simon Jeffes, first released Music From The Penguin Cafe on Brian Eno’s Obscure Records in 1976; the record was also produced by Eno, as well. Obscure Records released only 10 albums between 1975 and 1978, including works by John Cage, Harold Budd, and Eno himself, among others.

Jeffes, born in 1949, was classically trained in guitar from age 13 and was involved in music recording at an early age. His early work included producer Rupert Hine’s solo albums Pick Up A Bone in 1971 and Unfinished Picture in 1973. In addition to these, he also collaborated with Hine on music for The Kenny Everett Video Show.

After Jeffes’ death in 1997, the band still continued to perform under the names Penguin Cafe and The Anteaters, including Simon’s son, Arthur Jeffes, in their lineup.

[Discogs]
[iTunes]
[Website]

The Caretaker is James Kirby, who apart from this project is probably most famous for his work as V/Vm, and who has been releasing music since 1996 under several different monikers including “Leyland Kirby” and “The Stranger.” His music is primarily sample based, often involving reworked versions of pop songs, but he is also known for his more industrial-sounding electronic music.

This track is taken from the 2008 album Persistent Repetition of Phrases, which took its inspiration from the haunted ballroom scene from The Shining. Kirby’s music often deals with the experience of memory; his 2005 album was entitled Theoretically Pure Anterograde Amnesia, and his other works explore different elements of amnesia and dementia. Most recently, Kirby recorded the soundtrack to a documentary about German author WG Sebald, Patience (After Sebald), and his release of An Empty Bliss Beyond This World last year saw widespread critical acclaim.

[Bandcamp]
[Discogs]
[V/Vm Test Records]