An Evening of Ambient Trance Classics

I had a quiet evening to myself, and I took advantage of the free time and finally sat down to explore Klaus Schulze and Pete Namlook’s Dark Side of the Moog 12-disc series.

Each of the track titles play off of classics from Pink Floyd’s catalog, such as “Wish You Were There,” “A Saucerful of Ambience,” “Obscured by Klaus,” and “Careful with the AKS, Peter.”

From Dark Side of the Moog I moved on to Pete Namlook’s solo efforts and quickly discovered that he had founded a record label, Germany’s Fax +49-69/450464 (and yes, that is his fax number.) Nearly 450 releases premiered on the label from 1992 until his death in November of 2012, and additional research revealed that Namlook, himself was performing with the ~40 artists and under various monikers which comprised the label’s catalog. FAX earned a reputation for ahead-of-the-curve, timeless electronic ambient music, which still sounds fresh today unlike many of the 90s fad electronic artists who came and went over the decade.

Unfortunately, Namlook released only 500–1000 copies of the majority of the titles on his label.  Then I found a 17 LP retrospective of FAX’s finest work called the Final Vinyl Collector’s Box Set. Sadly, there were only 25 copies produced worldwide.  The set was meant to be officially released, but at that time Fax changed to a non-vinyl distributor and so the boxsets have never been officially released. However, Pete Namlook confirmed that this is an original Fax release. The last copy to surface sold for $550 in 2010.

While scouring the web for more information, I cued up what I had of Namlook in my library, beginning with his 4CD set performing as “Air” from 1993-1996, which was released as a box set in ’97, and then on to 2003’s Ten Years of Silence – a 5CD set of his tribal ambient work as Silence.

Most of my experience with 90s electronic music had been limited to the major downtempo releases from the decade, and the Air Collection inspired me to look deeper into the psychedelic ambient genre.

I quickly found two noteworthy compilations on Namlook’s label titled The Ambient Cookbook volumes I and II.

The first was a 4-disc box set from 1995 which highlighted various artists from the FAX archive.  The second volume, released in 2002, introduced four more discs demonstrating how the ambient genre had evolved over the decade.

If you’re exploring Fax +49-69/450464 Records for the first time, these collections are an excellent place to begin.

Moving onward, ambient trance music led me to psytrance, which I then narrowed further to the psybient subgenre. This was the 90s incarnation of slowbeat space music, described by a RYM user as “Gas on uppers.”

I entered the term “psybient” into youtube and several 1 – 10 hour playlist results populated.  The first track I heard was Russian artist, Cell’s “Audio Deepest Night.”

I loved the minimal beats and sparse, echoey vocal samples. Looking up the artist, I found that the track appeared on disc 4 of a 7-volume series called The Fahrenheit Project on Ultimae Records, released between 2001 and 2011.  The series featured various Russian and French deep techno artists and was released simultaneously in both countries.

I am working my way through the series and enjoy everything I’ve heard thus far.

So ended a productive night of exploration.  The 36 discs described above will keep me busy for the rest of the weekend.  I welcome any recommendations for further listening that you may have to offer.

Additionally, two more rare LPs arrived in the post this week.  Stay tuned for details.

Non-Commercial Highlights of the Week

This month I’ve picked up some absolutely outstanding non-commercial releases (which I prefer over “bootlegs,”) and I wanted to take the opportunity to differentiate between the two terms.

When I hear the word, “bootleg,” I picture a DVD-R in a paper sleeve with the word, “TITANIC” written in black sharpie across the disc.  Bootlegs are what people try to sell you for a fiver in a gas station parking lot.



When instead I use the term “non-commercial” or “unauthorized”  release, I have in mind something much different.  A wonderful example is the KLF Recovered & Remastered Ltd Ed EP series I highlighted in my last entry.  These are painstakingly and skillfully remastered works engineered by dedicated fans who fill the void left when the official label has left recordings ignored and unreleased for decades.

Two such LPs just arrived in the mail yesterday.

Crown Records issued unauthorized versions of Kraftwerk’s first two (sadly, forgotten) albums, I and II in 1994, albums which had not been available on vinyl since 1970 (other than a short run by Philips Records’ Japanese division in 1979.)  What made the Crown releases even more fun was that for the first time these LPs were issued on red and green wax matching their Warhol-esque cover art.

Crown - Kraftwerk I

Crown - Kraftwerk II
These two albums sound nothing like the electronic wizardry of their better-known recordings.  Here is a sample of side 1, track 1 – “Ruckzuk.”

But then, this week, I got my hands on an absolute gem – a remarkable example of a proper fan-produced album.

The Syd Barrett – Have You Got It Yet? box set produced by The Laughing Madcaps is a work of art.

This 22-disc box set includes over 200 rare and unreleased audio tracks with a total running time of over 13 hours.  But it doesn’t stop there.   The set is complete with deluxe fan-designed packaging and 8 bonus VCD discs including Syd’s First Trip from 1966, TV promotional footage from Sydney and Belgium, a complete collection of video interviews, the VH1 Legends special, a disc of rare photo galleries, PDF scans of books like The Pink Floyd Songbook, and so much more.

Box for A3 printing
Each disc comes with matching artwork and detailed production liner notes.  Many of the tracks are presented as OOPS (Out Of Phase Stereo) mixes.

From the liner notes:

These are fan-created remixes and NOT session outtakes. OOPS is a process by which a home user can remix a stereo track, thus revealing musical details that were less evident in the commercial mix.

Furthermore, every OOPS and mono track on discs 8-10 was rendered as a dual-signal expansion: one channel is a mirror image of the other. For the listener, this means a richer sound field and a more natural ambiance than could be expected from pure mono, yet without any obvious attempt at a stereo result from a mono source.


The spines of Volumes 1 – 10

For the Pink Floyd fans out there unfamiliar with the phrase, “Have You Got It Yet?” the story goes like this:

Initially, the song, “Have You Got It Yet?” seemed like an ordinary Barrett tune. However, as soon as the other members attempted to join in and learn the piece, Barrett changed the melodies and structure, making it impossible for the others to follow.  For the chorus, Barrett sang, “Have You Got It Yet?” while the rest of the band answered “No, no!”.

Roger Waters was later interviewed about the incident and said that upon realizing that Barrett was deliberately making the song impossible to learn, he reportedly put down his bass, left the room, and never attempted to play with Barrett again.

Waters called it “a real act of mad genius”.

I will not endorse buying bootlegs.  But fan-remastered and remixed recordings of rare and unreleased 40-year old archival material?  Fine by me.

Psychedelic Sunday

I had a fantastic day antiquing with friends today!

You come across some unique characters at flea markets and antique shows and today I learned that the man I always see with a table full of archived science fiction radio broadcasts is a good friend of Mark Evanier and has personally met Sergio Aragones on numerous occasions!  This man has encyclopedic knowledge of all his archived programs including all 26 seasons of Doctor Who.  When I asked him if he had any of the rare merchandise of the 1960s The Prisoner series, he smiled and replied, “you mean the three paperbacks?  No… but the third one is the best.”  This blew my mind because few Americans I’ve met have heard of The Prisoner, let alone read the books.

But on to the records of the day…

A sealed limited edition colored vinyl landed on my doorstep last night.  After verifying the catalog number I promptly re-sealed the packaging and shelved it away until the end of June.  It’s going to be a little birthday gift to myself.   Stay tuned for my birthday post where I’ll unveil the album.

The first table I hit at the antique market was a routine stop, and this time I found not one but two Miles Davis LPs from his electric period.

The first, Big Fun is one I’d seen at the local annual record show just a week prior.  The copy at the show was $30 so I couldn’t pass up the double-LP for the $4 it was marked this time around.  Big Fun is a collection of outtakes, but as a Miles Davis record even the outtakes shine.  The standout track is the 20 minute, “Great Expectations.”  The Allmusic guide calls it a disc for fans, because it fills in the puzzle of what was happening between 1969 and 1970.

I was delighted when I read the closing sentence of their review which stated that others should look to Bitches Brew, In A Silent Way, Jack Johnson, or Live Evil as starting points.  This rang especially true for me as my in-progress introduction to Davis followed that precise path of albums, with Live Evil as the next on my list.

Miles Davis - Big Fun

The other Miles Davis record was one I’d been eying at the market for the past 4 weeks and luckily, no one had purchased it.  A Tribute to Jack Johnson is a wonderfully funky album.  Herbie Hancock had been passing through the building where the jam session was taking place and ended up sitting in on the Hammond organ.  I later learned that the first twelve minutes of the second side revolves around a single bass riff lifted from James Brown’s “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud.”

Before leaving the vendor’s booth, he noticed the album had a very minor seam split on one corner.  He taught me a great fix – you first place a 12″ fitted poly bag around the album jacket with the open end on the same edge as the open end of the jacket.  The tight fit holds the seam together rendering it unnoticeable and prevents further tearing.  You then slide it into a 12.5″ poly bag with the open end at the top of the album.  Finally, insert the disc and dust jacket vertically into the outer sleeve.  The disc can now be easily accessed and the album back cover is still visible.  Soon you’ll forget all about the seam split.  This is just one of the many reasons I love the markets I visit.

Miles Davis - Tribute to Jack Johnson

The cement statue vendor I was looking for was away for an estate sale this weekend, so I continued on to another booth where I found a table of LPs all in poly bags.  I instantly spotted Pink Floyd’s A Nice Pair which is a double album of their first two LPs.  The copy has the generic “dentist” sticker at the upper right instead of the original ” W. R. Phang’s dental surgery” photo, and the nude center image is covered by the round pink “A Nice Pair” sticker, so I believe this is the more common version of the disc.  Still, it is a temporary remedy for not owning a vinyl copy of “Piper…” so I picked it up.

I did however discover that there are a few differences in the audio between the original releases and the US pressings of A Nice Pair.  The most disappointing change is the substitution of the live version of “Astronomy Domine” from the Ummagumma LP instead of the original recording from Piper at the Gates of Dawn.  As that was one of the tracks I was most looking forward to, I will likely be putting this double LP up for sale once I secure an original pressing of their first album.

Pink Floyd - A Nice Pair

Pink Floyd – A Nice Pair (original cover uncensored)

Pink Floyd - A Nice Pair (Dentistry sticker)

Pink Floyd – A Nice Pair (Nude Sticker and Dentistry sticker)

I’ve also just ordered two Funkadelic recordings – one which has been missing from my P-Funk library for too long and the other will serve as a replacement for a copy I bought at a record show which has significant needle wear.

More to come, thanks so much for tuning in!

UPDATE: I made a few additional discoveries about the Miles Davis recordings which I would hate to leave out of this post.

In the year 2000, Columbia Records released a double CD version of Big Fun, catalog #C2K 63973.  This version featured four additional tracks which did not appear on any of the prior releases.  I researched the bonus tracks and discovered that originally appeared on the 1998 four CD set titled The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions (C4K 65570).

One of these tracks is a beautiful near-ambient piece titled, “Recollections” which nearly 20 minutes in length.  If you enjoyed a single moment of In a Silent Way, you should give this track a listen.

The other track I discovered is quite different from “Recollections.”   I had been further exploring Davis’ electric period and came upon a live album titled Agharta from 1975.  The lengthy opening track, titled “Prelude” was unlike anything I’d heard before.  The Allmusic Guide stated simply that Agharta is “the greatest electric funk-rock jazz record ever made — period.”

Turn your speakers up and check out Pete Cosey’s guitar solo.  Start viewing at the 7 minute mark of this clip.  During the next sixty seconds the band falls silent and Cosey goes absolutely wild.   Enjoy this outstanding minute of music.

I am already on the hunt for an original copy of Agharta.  I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks again!

Pink Floyd Yard Sale Mystery: Solved

The following info was compiled from the Pink Floyd RolO Database,, and various other Pink Floyd archive sites.  I’d like to post this as a “thank you” to Mr. Pinky, Historian of the Pink Floyd Vinyls throughout the world.  His site, the Ultimate Pink Floyd Vinyl Discography includes over 2600 recordings!  You can visit it at

Mr. Pinky confirmed my research and provided additional information about a mysterious live LP of The Wall I found at a yard sale for a mere fifty cents.  The blank white sleeve contained the unlabeled album in mint condition along with a 12″ print and a handwritten track list.

Pink Floyd - Earls Court Aug 6 Insert
Earls Court Aug 6 Setlist
Here is what I came to learn about the album.

Title:        Pink Floyd: The Wall Performed Live
Format:     LP
Catalog:    E.M.K.A. PROD  (EMKA = MCA = Universal)
Matrix:      (P-DA/PDF-B) ß Portable Digital Audio Tape
Source:     1980 London Earl’s Court, London 1980 August 6th

Sound Quality: Excellent Stereo

Comments: Italian bootleg with plain cover and paper insert with orange print. Pressed from the same plates as the e.m.k.a release on black and lilac vinyl with plain white labels. Later re-issued again with black & white xeroxed insert on black, green and lilac vinyl. A further pressing from these plates had yet another different insert and Avion record labels.

Rarity rating: **** (all issues)

Band: Roger Waters, Rick Wright, Nick Mason, David Gilmour

Pink Floyd never toured for The Wall, but only played between five and eight dates each at Los Angeles, New York, London, Dortmund, and again London during 1980 and 1981.

NOTE: Several live performances of The Wall are mis-labeled as this performance.

The following cd package is actually a recording from the Nassau Coliseum in New York on the 26th of February 1980.

Mis-labeled Pink Floyd - The Wall Live @ Nassau Coliseum in New York 02-26-80
Mis-labeled Pink Floyd - The Wall Live @ Nassau Coliseum in New York 02-26-80 (back)
Another show mis-labeled as Earls Court 1980 is noted at this site:  It is actually Earls Court London, UK June 17, 1981.

Mis-labeled Pink Floyd - The Wall Live @ Earls Court London, UK 06-17-81
Mis-labeled Pink Floyd - The Wall Live @ Earls Court London, UK 06-17-81 (back)
And finally, the widely available live DVD performance of the Wall is clearly marked as Earls Court, August 9th, 1980.  To the best of my knowledge, the August 6th concert has yet had no official release.

ADDITIONAL UPDATE: The master tape of this recording later appeared on the Siréne label on a released titled, The Warm Thrill Of Confusion (Siréne-063).  Collectors Music Reviews added the following note about the tape:

It first surfaced on vinyl as The Wall Live, Wall, and The Wall Performed Live (E.M.K.A. PROD) and on CD as Live Wall (Satisfaction Guaranteed SG 054/55 ), Live Wall (Part 1+2) on Silver Rarities (SIRA 47/48), The Show Must Go On and the fan based Digital Floyd Project roio The Wall Earl’s Court 6/8/80 Performed Live.

So that solves the case of the unmarked album.  Not a bad find for fifty cents.

More Floyd

Two weekends ago I checked out the massive Super Flea Market near my new apartment.  It’s the largest flea market I’ve ever seen.


Super Flea Market

Buffalo's Super Flea Market

Right away I found a record booth filled with pop/rock LPs in varying condition.  I ended up walking away with the early Stones’ LP – Out of Their Heads (the one that features “Satisfaction”) and two Pink Floyd albums.  The first was a copy of The Wall, an album I’d never gotten around to buying in the past.  The other was A Collection of Great Dance Songs, hardly an essential disc but it was thrown in for free.

After my visit to the flea market I looked it up online and discovered that it had been raided by police and immigration agents one day earlier. reported that more than $81,000 in counterfeit sports apparel was seized by a 16-member team at 10:30 am December 5th.

The Wall nearly completes my Pink Floyd vinyl discography, which began with an absolutely amazing find ->

At a yard sale a few years back I found a disc in a plain white jacket.  There was a 12″ x 12″ print and a slip of paper tucked into the sleeve.

Pink Floyd Live insert

Pink Floyd Live tracklist

I bought the white sleeve for a dollar and went home to research the set list.  It turned out to be an Italian bootleg of an unreleased performance from Earl’s Court, London from 06-08-80.  The recording is high quality stereo and it was listed as very rare.  Not bad for a buck.

Published in: on December 20, 2010 at 10:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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