This review was originally posted on the first Toorak Times web site where publications ceased on that site in March 2017. The old site will be permanently closed in 2020 and these reviews are being re-published in order to preserve them on the current Toorak Times/Tagg site.
This is number twenty five in the series of albums I’m featuring as part of an on-going retrospective of vinyl albums in my personal collection.
The series is called, “Cream of The Crate”, and they represent vinyl albums that I believe are of significant musical value, either because of their rarity, because they represent the best of a style or styles of music or because their is something unique about the group or the music.
I remember back in 2004 there was a new release by Ryan Adams, and in an interview regarding its release he said, “I fuc*ing don’t even like my own record“!
It really struck me strange to put all that energy and creativity into something of your own, and to end up hating it.
I can only love my own work!
In 1978, with my musical partner David (aka The Mojo), we bought out our first album. A limited edition of 399, each was hand numbered. The album was titled “Dance Of The Spheres” (DOTS) and I loved it then, and it still has pride of place in my collection today. So with retro-review #25, I am examining this this album!
Released in 1978 on our own indie label (Fission Chips FNC001) and featuring a gate fold cover, the music was recorded between June 1977 and June 1978 at the ‘Lectric Loo’ studio in Woolloomooloo, NSW.
The studio was owned and operated by David. Our group was then called Rainbow Generator, later to become The Generator. Finally in 1980 it became known Krozier & The Generator, before reverting back to The Generator after Geof Krozier passed on in 1981.
It was very experimental in its day, and around 2007 the National Film & Sound Archive indicated that Rainbow Generator was most likely Australia’s first true experimental Electronic Music Group.
Largely an ‘Underground’ Group, the Generator spent a majority of its time in the studio experimenting, but did play some of gigs in Melbourne in 1976/77, and a number of gigs in and around Sydney and the ACT between 1978 and 1980 including “Down to Earth Confests”. Later as Krozier & The Generator we played an intense 6 months of gigs in and around Melbourne prior to moving to the ‘Lectric Loo studio to rehearse and record with Geof. Sadly he dies about 6 months later – in 1981.
The album featured 11 tracks and the album cover was actually silk screen printed with the artwork largely being done by David and Bill Dunn.
1. Polyploid aSpex
2. Quiblings Query
3. Wandjina *
5. Embryonic Eye
6. Essence **
1. Shockwave Rider
2. City of the Sun ***
3. D-Lirium ****
4. Rainbow Raga
In regard to the record labels: Side 1 & 2. had no distinguishing text or numbers, the rear cover duplicated the labels and provided the information necessary to identify which side was which..
- Artwork By [Graphics & Design] – Bill Dunn, Char, Mop
- Mixed By [Mixmastered] –Archie Wah-Wah
- Mixed By [Assistant] – Manual Nobs
- Performers – David Mow(now Labuschagne) & Rob Greaves
- * Features Didgeridoo by Damien Burnett
- ** Featured words & vocals by Naomi Leago
- *** Featured words & vocals by Tor Davis
- **** Featured the voice of Marie
“Mixmastered/Mutated at Electric Lunacy, Woolloomooloo, Sydney” by Archie Wah Wah assisted by Manual Nobbs
Numbered limited (399).
The opening track, “Polyploid Spex” won the 1978 Roland International prize for the most ‘Original’ Electronic track of the year.
This track was quite unique because although it involved the use of a number of synthesisers, it was the capacity of David to use his fender Strat as an “Electronic” instrument that was indeed, most unique.
This ability to use the electric guitar in a manner unlike anyone else had used, featured on a number of tracks on this album (and indeed in subsequent compositions), however in Polyploid Spex, it starred!
Incidentally, the judge was International master of electronic music, Isao Tomita.
The next track on this album that I would comment on, is “Wandjina“.
The ‘Wandjina‘ are the supreme spirit ancestors of the Indigenous people of the Kimberley and was named very carefully with appropriate due respect.
The Didgeridoo was played by Damien Burnett in the very early hours of the morning.
Processing the ‘Didg’ in real time was not an easy task given the incredible propensity of it to produce very low tones.
It was processed in real time as Damien played it so that not only did the processing play an important part in appropriately supporting the sound, but became an instrument in its own right.
This is an incredibly unique track and while the use of this ancient instrument became popular in the following years (particularly with Gondwanaland), we may have been among the first groups to record and use it in this manner.
Its uniqueness resulted in commercial interest in later years. in March of 2013 I was approached by Warner Australia to discuss the licensing of this track for a forthcoming Australian compilation CD, titled ‘Amorphous Androgynous ‘A Monstroz Psychedellic Bubble – The Wizards of Oz’
There is in fact one track on DOTS that is not an ‘electronic composition’.
That track is “Essence“!
Essence is a collaboration between David, Rob and Naomi Leago. David and I were playing around with a catchy musical phrase, when Naomi went up to the microphone and started to spontaneously sing.
The result startled us all, as this certainly was not electronic but it grabbed us. So while we worked out the music structure, Naomi worked on the lyrics.
“Essence” is exactly what it suggests, it is the song of the essential element that binds us together, and is certainly very much an essential element of “The Dance“
“Empty your mind of its preconceived notions,
let it be moved, let it sail on new oceans
open your heart, to the light that is living
until all you are, is the essence of giving.
All that you are is a wave on an ocean,
breaking on the shore, crying waves of emotion
something that’s real, its all that’s worth having
until all you are, is the essence of living.
Know who you are, your time is not for saving,
forever’s a long time, a long time for living
we’ve met here before, distant time distant places,
yet inside us all, we’re one, the same.
Open your heart, to the light that is living,
until all you are, is the essence of giving!
The final track that will examine is rather a more bizarre track.
It’s title is “D-Lirium” and this track has a real story behind it.
In regard to the music, it is an interesting juxtaposition of multiple synths and David on guitar.
It is based around a straight forward oscillator pulse that has a simple but strange synth line going across it.
The idea is to provide a feeling of unease while at the same to suggest an element of delirium. However, it is the spoken female voice that truly creates a feeling of unease, and so it should.
We could hardly call it a ‘song’, it is a spoken word. However it is spoken with a strong element of someone not quite ‘on this planet’. Marie, whose voice you hear, really wasn’t on the Planet the night of the recording!
One of the key features of working in your own studio, is that you are free to play and record what you want without any judgement of its validity or indeed the compositional format, by either a Producer or Engineer.
In fact thereby lay the strength of our playing and indeed recording. Nothing was ever judged as silly, wrong, breaking the rules of composition or indeed, even the rules applying to musical keys were not so much broken, as totally ignored.
In this regard the recorder if not constantly running, was always ready to ‘go’!
So it was late one evening that a visitor the ‘Loo’, Marie, had a full blown psychotic attack.
However she was safe inside the solid brick walls of the building. So David simply hit the record button and recorded her ‘journey’.
This was later used as the ‘muse’ for the track “D-Lirium” and indeed to the listener, the recorded music and Marie’s recorded psychotic attack became indistinguishable in terms of what caused what! W
When you listen remember, this is truly experimental in so many ways.
It isn’t easy doing a retro-review of an album you put so much into.
I cannot claim that I am not biased, although I have tried to be honest. The album is seminal in that there was nothing like before it was recorded and very unlikely anything like it since.
The playing and compositions while simple at times, are still unique in that it is unlikely that there were any other electronic musicians in groups at this time in Oz.
Certainly there were groups that used synthesisers, such as Cybotron, but they were more commercial focused and the instruments were largely played as keyboards, often played to emulate sounds of other instruments.
Rainbow Generator explored the potential use of these electronic instruments as instruments in their own right, a mechanism for exploring the world (the Galaxy) of Sound.
“Dance Of The Spheres” an attempt to shape the sounds that represented the essence of our experiences, as individuals, with each other and the world around us – and thus take the ‘Music of the Spheres’, and make them DANCE!
The recordings were all done on 4-track, with very little overdubbing, and while the production might be judged some as crude by today’s standards, in 1978 much of it was ground breaking.
It is quite remarkable just how many ‘hits’ can be found when Rainbow Generator/Dance Of The Spheres, is Googled. Here are some comments that came up.
5 comments from the web site: Mutant Sounds
Amazed to find this. I got this for nothing from a community radio album chuck-out. Really great stuff on this, very complex in parts, nice and droney in others. The cover is lovely too, individual silk-screened jobs. Get this.
April 3, 2007 at 4:34 AM
Wow, what a trip. Really great stuff indeed. Many thanks to the mighty Mutant Sounds for exposing another gem for the world to hear and enjoy.
April 3, 2007 at 11:59 PM
Saw them live at Paddington Town Hall, Sydney 1981. Hairy hippies smoking endless reefers. They were better than the supports (Quantum Mechanics and a Numanesque solo performer called Voltage). Not bad.
April 12, 2007 at 1:13 AM
Hi. The heading says they’re from New Zealand, but the text says Australia.
Completely different countries.
Thanks for all the great music October 24, 2008 at 8:24 AM
Rainbow Generator are definitely from Australia.
March 23, 2012 at 5:43 AM
The group continued recording as Rainbow Generator, The Generator and when, in 1980 they joined forces with the Bizarre magician, Geof Krozier, they became Krozier & The Generator, reforming as The Generator 12 months later after Geof’s untimely death in 1981.
The last release by TheGenerator was a CD titled, “About Time”, in 2007.
Vinyl copies Dance Of The Spheres are a genuine rarity, and in 2008 a copy sold on Ebay in Europe for $900Au. There are in fact a few brand new copies still available for true collectors, but they are not cheap. CD copies are available for $25.00 plus postage, through email@example.com
"Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you, won't you - Join the DANCE"?
There are live performance videos of the group. There are a couple of audio only videos put up by album buyers.
Previous Cream of The Crate Albums:
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