Thursday, September 24, 2009

"Denizens of the Deep" - Ferrante & Teicher

Art Ferrante of Ferrante & Teicher just died at age 88, following the death of his musical partner last year. And so ends the lives of one of the very first avant-pop bands. Decades before The Beatles, The Velvet Underground, Brian Eno, fused pop music with experimentation, the two pianists were crossing the aisle. The academic avant-garde was way over on this side, and the mainstream popsters were all the way on that side - two groups that scarcely knew the other existed.

But in 1950
Ferrante & Teicher went into a New York studio to start recording this album, playing short catchy piano instrumentals with whimsical titles that unlike, say, Lawrence Welk or Montavani, also used all manner of Space-Age studio effects, and a John Cage-like "prepared piano" technique, inserting objects within the piano strings to produce unusual sounds, tho they claim that they came up with the idea on their own.

They abandoned that session, but went on to record similiar albums in the '50s like "Soundproof," "Blast Off!" (courtesy of Mutant Sounds) and "Hi-Fireworks" (courtesy of Music You (Possible) Won't Hear Anyplace Else.) By the '60s they had largely dropped the weird stuff in favor of a hugely lucrative EZ career, but a half-century later they rediscovered the tapes of the 1950 sessions and finished the album you now hold in your hands (as they used to say in the days of record liner notes).

It's moody (dare I say 'ambient'?) stuff.
At a mere 27 minutes long it hardly wears out it's welcome. Track 11, "The Loch Ness Monster Stomp," is a particular fave - an alternate-universe '50s sock hop classic.

Ferrante & Teicher "Denizens of the Deep"

1. Underwater Expectations
2. Things to Come at Sea
3. Whiptailed Stingrays
4. Barracudas on the Chase
5. Spinning Steelheads
6. Floating Manatees
7. Plunging Sharks & Diving Swordfish
8. Crafty Bowfin
9. At Sea Watching Voracious Piranha
10. Searching the Seas
11. Loch Ness Monster Stomp
12. Electric Eels
13. Treacherous Octopi & Devilfish
14. Manatees & Dolphins
15. Sneaky Spiny Sturgeons
16. Ink of the Giant Squids
17. Underwater Reflections
18. A Whale of an Aquarian Finale at Sea


Greg Bishop said...

Wait a darn second. Didn't they record "Loch Ness Monster Stomp" as "Man From Mars" on 1955's "Soundproof" album?

Thanks for the post! Throw out a date for your reappearance on Radio Misterioso and we'll do it. I now have a portable mp3 recorder so we'll have the show all ready to to go out on the podcast the next day.

Mr Fab said...

Wow, well spotted Greg! Just played 'me both back to back - same tune, somewhat different production.

My calendar seems to have finally cleared up somewhat, so I was thinking about talking to you about another show. Oct 11 or 18?

Greg Bishop said...

Oct 18th would be a good date. Howzaboutit?

Mr Fab said...

Sounds good!

So there ya go folks - another two hours of musical mirth and mayhem coming soon on Radio Misterioso.

J-Unit 1 said...

Catching up on my blog reading. This is great. The Man From Mars/Loch Ness Monster Stomp connection is a good catch Greg :)

I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of their "Star Wars" album as we speak. I need set things up so I can rip vinyl sometime...

Until then, thanks so much for this upload Fab. I didn't have this one :)

Alain said...

Great stuff. RIP F & T