23 August 2013

Graham Sparks-Gurus are Fucked- Fringe benefit Cassette 573, 1983

Not much Australian music improvised or otherwise on I.S so far, Here's something by a friend of mine.. who was active on the small experimental, and free improvised music scene in Sydney from roughly 1978-9 to the mid 80's...

A genuine rarity,100 copies released on what was John Rose's LP/and Cassette lable until he sold the enterprise in the mid or late 80's , to someone who has done absolutely nothing with it since..
I met Graham in the late 80's ,just before he pawned his Alto , he had fallen on tough times, and i was close to being on skid row myself...

This album is a mixed bag , as was the experimental scene in the 80's a fertile time during which outside of AM radio,there was lots of cross pollination of genres,one could go to a pub and see 5 completely different sets in one evening with occasional  unrehearsed jams in between...Post Punk bands were experimenting , and improvising extensively , the Slug Fuckers, Mad room and numerous others playing completely unscripted sets, something which just wouldn't happen today.. besides which by the early 90's poker machines, had already killed off all but the most mainstream venues , today there isn't  a  single Jazz club in Sydney where you will see free improvised music of any kind or what most of us think of as free jazz.
where improvised music takes place publicly it tends to be in Art galleries or tiny warehouses, or special festivals one or two weeks a year such as the Now Now.

Stylistically here echoes of Don Cherry are evident in the flute pieces, the group pieces being basically long Jams , AACM influenced ethno freak outs with an electrto acoustic element..the electronics being oscillators built by Graham

For my money the best and most individual pieces are the 3 Alto solos... some startling soulful original playing there....
Graham didn't even have a copy of the tape.and was surprised to see it resurface.. thanks to Juke for lending me his Copy !
which despite Grahams comments is not that bad sounding at all , no worse than many cassette releases of the time.

Here's Graham in his own words on "Gurus are Fucked"  ..

"It was a surprise to hear from my friend Sotise that he'd come across a copy of 'Gurus are fucked'.
I made this recording thirty years ago , most of the work being done in a hall near circular quay.
It is not my best work ,and quite frankly I was glad it was behind me and forgoten ,but there you have it,
All our deeds both good and bad are recorded for eternity in the fabric of the universe.

I was about 24 years of age and this was probably recorded with a Selmer balanced action alto.
The other members of the band were Alan Corne and Paul Huntingford.
Alan is still playing drums but I don't know what Paul is doing.
The recording quality poor because the trashy tape recorder , which I purchased from a pawn shop,had a very heavy compression function and consequently ironed out all of the dynamics ,which really crapped me off because I like to play with a lot of light and shade.
The title 'Gurus Are Fucked', is a rebuke for "spiritual teachers of all flavours who claim to know God and his plans and who perceive that taking money , time ,and energy from their customers is a valid occupation.
So many of my friends were sucked in screwed and ripped off by these charlatans.
Although thirty years has passed I still think that gurus are fucked.,but time has made me more erudite and the manipulation of language in poetry is like a fine telescopic site on a canon.

Although I never found a way to make money from music or art ,and gave up music twenty five or so years ago in order to purchase food and not sleep in squats , I have always managed to assuage my creative urges and have recently purchased a beautiful 1943 Beuscher Big B alto,and have taken up painting again.
Please find attached some poems pertinent to my continued views on gurus.
Thank you"
Graham Sparks.


SOTISE said...

Flac , Pics , documents

corvimax said...

I'm very curious to hear it, thank you SOTISE

Vinylust said...

Thanks Sotise. Not sure if i ever saw Graham, but I have many vague happy memories of sneaking into the Trade Union Club enjoying what was considered music on that particular night in Sydney! Any and all Fringe Benefits releases are greatly appreciated.

Marcus said...

Wild! Many thanks!

Purple Bat said...

Hello, Could anyone repost this indie gem please?