Tuesday, May 17, 2005

this number is . . .

Costas Ferris wrote a concept book for the "666" album: Saint John’s "Revelation" (The Apocalypse as they call it in Greek), and this subject had to be seen through the culture of the sixties.

A big circus Troupe, giving a big circus Show, based on the Apocalypse. Acrobats, dancers, tumbelines, elephants, tigers and horses. Of course, the reference to the "Beatles" "Sgt Peppers" is obvious.

While the show goes on, light and sound effects in all their glory, something is happening outside the circus tent. It is the real revelation disaster going on, staged by God himself.

The audience believes that what is happening outside, is part of the show. But the narrator, who understands that something strange is happening, gets hysterical.

At the end the big tent disappears. and the two "shows" unite, in a great battle between Good and Evil, between the real Revelation-End-of the-World, and the its staged representation.

and that is the explanation given for '666', the 1971 concept album by 'aphrodite's child'. actually the record is all that and more. it is a sprawling 2 disc set of mind-jarring songs that blends musical styles, myths, cultures and religion into a dizzying ride of apocalyptic proportions.
the music was written by vangelis papathanassiou. the same 'chariots of fire' vangelis. but this is nothing like the sappy music he would make on his own after this.
it is catchy, disturbing, mesmerizing, mystical, silly, and above all still very ahead of it's time.
from the opening chant of 'we got the system to fuck the system' to the sonic assault of 'the four horsmen', the hypnotic 'aegian sea', the party feel of 'hic and nunc', the outright bizarre 5 min orgasm of 'infinity' and the whimsical 'break'. . . the album is a thing of beauty.

i first heard this album when i was 16. we used to hang out in this little record store in metry. we'd skip out and hang around all day smoking up 'frog's' pot in the back store-room and grab whatever music we wanted and listen to it.
this lp got played in its entirety the day it arrived. we were all knocked out by the end of the 4th side. it was a teenage moment that you know you'll remember all your life. it was music i had never heard, sometimes like the beatles, then genesis, (the gabriel kind), then jazz, then hawkwind or van der graff generator, then some arab-sounding stuff. it really was too much to take in at one listen. many a night we would sit in the old wreckroom, light candles and incense, and sit in between the speakers and wallow in the vastness of this record.

i still have the copy i bought, (i am sure it is hard to find on vinyl now). it got played to death and now i still play the cd very often, which is the way it should be.
over the years this has gotten a little more deserved recognition, and the wonderful diversity of the album makes sure it will always be something to cherish in this time of sameness.
the indie kids should take note. . . .

choice cuts from aphrodite's child's '666' (thru yousendit):
'the four horsemen' (highly recommended)
'the beast'
'hic and nunc'
buy '666'!

and a another banned cartoon:
tex avery - red hot riding hood


Blogger J. Marquis said...

I will have to pick up a copy, it sounds very cool.

My first big concept album was "Quadrophenia" by the Who. My friend had a really nice stereo with the speakers hung up on the wall and I was totally mesmerized by the ocean sounds on that record...not to mention the great songs!

4:08 PM CDT  
Anonymous Leo the Wop said...

was I there...

can't remember too well, but I think John Wayne was in it...

can't remember too well, but I think John Wayne was in it...

can't remember too well, but I think John Wayne was in it...

11:44 PM CDT  
Blogger sleepybomb said...

i do believe you were there leo, hanging in the parking lot, selling odd sundries to the innocents frequenting the establishment. or was that luigi?
i always got confused . . . still am, as a matter of fact.

8:44 PM CDT  
Blogger sleepybomb said...

hey j.
my first one was 'tommy', tho i think 'quad' is fuckin' excellent!
you really need to download these cuts before they are gone, then go buy '666', it really is amazing!

8:47 PM CDT  

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