HARDHOUND

Miles Davis and John Coltrane – The Complete Columbia Recordings 1955-1961

Author: Colin | Published: 27/5/12

Miles Davis and John Coltrane

Miles Davis and John Coltrane

Miles Davis and John Coltrane

Miles Davis and John Coltrane

Miles Davis and John Coltrane

Miles Davis and John Coltrane

Miles Davis and John Coltrane

Miles Davis and John Coltrane

Miles Davis and John Coltrane

Miles Davis and John Coltrane

Artist Miles Davis and John Coltrane
Title The Complete Columbia Recordings 1955-1961
Label Columbia
Year 1999
Design Art direction and design: Arnold Levine and Frank Harkins
Music Jazz
Notes The last of my son’s three middle names is Miles (named both for Miles Dewey Davis III and because my parents almost christened me Miles). My cat is called Davis. I used to dance my baby daughter round the living room to 70s Miles to get her to sleep – I too have no idea why I thought that was a good thing… I don’t know how many Miles Davis bootlegs I’ve burnt to CDR, but it’s a lot. I could go on, but won’t.

I long had reservations about Columbia’s complete sessions box sets, of which this is the first, preferring to experience the albums as they were released in Miles’ lifetime. I received the first box, the Complete Bitches Brew, at my own request as a present some years ago and was disappointed by the quality of the unreleased tracks. As a consequence, it took me a few years to buy the next one, the complete On The Corner, which I enjoyed much more. I now own all nine (there are in fact eight, but there’s also the the Cellar Door 1970 in the same format) in their original boxes. If you’re a Miles fan, the rereleased versions are available currently at an incredibly cheap price – for example, the book version of this release is currently £11.99 from Amazon – that kind of price is almost a crime for 6 CDs of such amazing music, beautifully remastered.

Some of the boxes have their problems and inconsistencies which I’ll mention as I cover them over the coming months. Tracks are ordered by date and recording sessions and so Kind of Blue’s songs are in a slightly different running order than the album itself. Some refer to the exploitation of gullible fans through the release of so many versions of Miles’ music. I don’t hear the same complaint levelled at the huge number of different books and documentaries about, say, Van Gogh. I’m with Duke Ellington who referred to Picasso as the Miles Davis of art. Miles was one of the great artists of the twentieth century and deserves all the coverage he’s accorded and more. I for one can’t wait for the second volume of the Bootleg Recordings flagged to be released this year, but okay I do struggle with that replica trumpet case version…

Anyway, I’ve really come to appreciate these boxes and feel tremendously grateful for the insights they provide into Miles Davis’ art. For the most part I like the design of each box which is distinct in terms of layout, materials used, re-interpretation of the original designs, etc. The red and black of the Miles and Trane box here makes for something pleasingly dramatic to these eyes and I love the contrast of the metal container with the linen cover of the booklet.

Also Miles Davis – On The Corner
Miles Davis – Tutu
Miles Davis – Agharta
Miles Davis – Pangaea
Listen Columbia are hard on copyright infringement so it’s a) hard to find music to embed and b) this video will probably disappear – something here to do with shooting themselves in the foot…

aus(r)asten – chfs

Author: Colin | Published: 21/5/12
Previous Kraftwerk – ephemera Next Miles Davis and John Coltrane – The Complete Columbia Recordings 1955-1961

ausrasten

ausrasten

ausrasten

ausrasten

ausrasten

ausrasten

Artist chfs
Title aus(r)asten
Label in-dust.org
Year 2011
Design Christian F. Schiller
Music “for Bassdrum + Piano”
Notes Hard Format likes to celebrate designs large and small and aus(r)asten tends very much towards the latter. It’s a 3″ CD with a small booklet. The motif on the cover could never claim to be ‘emblazoned’, that would be an exaggeration, it’s a small stick figure dissolving into dust. On the reverse, the figure’s arms are gone. Inside, a slender tree trunk without arms (branches) thrusts upwards while its roots hang skeletal-like in mid-air. Everything is black against white. Google translates ausrasten as ‘go ballistic’ which plays against all the other signs nicely.

Kraftwerk – ephemera

Author: Colin | Published: 12/5/12
Previous Hard Format on The Guardian’s blog jam Next aus(r)asten – chfs

Kraftwerk ephemera

Kraftwerk ephemera

Kraftwerk ephemera

Kraftwerk ephemera

Kraftwerk ephemera

Kraftwerk ephemera

Kraftwerk ephemera

Kraftwerk ephemera

Kraftwerk ephemera

Kraftwerk ephemera

Kraftwerk ephemera

Kraftwerk ephemera

Kraftwerk ephemera

Kraftwerk ephemera

Kraftwerk ephemera

Kraftwerk ephemera

Kraftwerk ephemera

Artist Kraftwerk
Title n/a
Label n/a
Year 2004-9
Design Undisclosed
Music Kraftwerk
Notes I’m mad about Kraftwerk, but I’m not a completist. I don’t need to own every variation of every release. I have, however, listened to them more than any other artist since I signed up to last.fm in 2004, by quite a long chalk.

I do wish I still had the ticket stub to the 1981 Computer World-era concert I attended in full-on New Romantic garb (including homemade tartan trousers) in 1981 at the Hammersmith Odeon.

I danced my socks off throughout their 2005 concert in Holland and grinned from ear to ear for much of the time too. After that concert Fritz Hilpert kindly signed the postcards for my children.

I was thrilled by the appearance of the English cycling team at the Manchester velodrome. My kids still say it was one of their best ever experiences (well they’ve long lives ahead of them I hope).

Unlike some, I’m very glad they’re still performing and would be overjoyed if they chose to play their retrospective concerts at, say, Tate Modern, to a much larger audience than was able to see them at the recent NY MOMA series.

I first heard Kraftwerk at age 8 when Autobahn was released and my dad uncharacteristically purchased the LP.

I continue to appreciate the group’s humour as well as their music’s humanity, pathos and beauty.

Also Kraftwerk – Expo 2000
Kraftwerk – Autobahn (non-UK version)
Kraftwerk – Autobahn (UK version)
Kraftwerk – Minimum Maximum
Kraftwerk – Neon Lights 12″
Kraftwerk – Pocket Calculator
- Concert review: Kraftwerk, Brixton, 2004
- Concert review: Kraftwerk, Tilburg, 2005
- DVD review: Kraftwerk, Minimum Maximum
- CD review: Kraftwerk, Minimum Maximum
Kraftwerk, an overview
Listen

Kraftwerk, Brixton Academy, 2004

Kraftwerk, Manchester Velodrome, 2009

 

Hard Format on The Guardian’s blog jam

Author: Colin | Published: 6/5/12
Previous Tyneham House Next Kraftwerk – ephemera

Read a short interview on the Guardian’s website…

Tyneham House

Author: Colin | Published: 6/5/12
Previous Pop Will Eat Itself, Age Of Chance Next Hard Format on The Guardian’s blog jam

Artist Tyneham House
Title Tyneham House
Label Second Language and Clay Pipe Music
Year 2012
Design Illustrations by Frances Castle
Music Wistful, gentle, sad
Notes As featured on Creative Review’s iPad app.

I read ‘The Village That Died For England: The Strange Story of Tyneham’ (Amazon link) many years ago. It’s a sad tale of the abuse of power by the British army on a small English village. Read more on Wikipiedia. It finds a slight echo in my own experience wherein the beautiful Yorkshire moor above my parent’s old house was peremptorily closed to public access without explanation and has stayed that way in all the years since.

The music here is reedy with the memory of lost summer days and distant tragedy and reminds me a little of Paul Giovanni’s wonderful soundtrack to The Wicker Man. The musicians have chosen to remain anonymous. The design is a typical delight courtesy of this joint venture between Second Language and Clay Pipe Music.

The original run is sold out, but there’s talk of a small reissue – keep an eye on the labels’ websites – don’t hesitate to snap up a copy if you can.

Also Mark Fry/The A. Lords – I Lived In Trees
- Thalassing
- The Hardy Tree – The Fields Lie Sleeping Underneath
Minute Papillon
Klima, Serenades and Serinettes
Vertical Integration
Dollboy, Ghost Stations
Ghostwriter, The Continuing Adventures Of The Strange Sound Association
Listen