AUDION MAGAZINE

Audion #5

July 1987 A4 32 pages

STEVE ROACH
KEN MOORE
ADN
RECOMMENDED RECORDS
ASMUS TIETCHENS
BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN: HUNGARIAN ROCK
NETWORK 23
HAMSTER RECORDS
SYNERGY
NIK TYNDALL
WOLFGANG HERTZ
Reviews
: Can, Klaus Schulze, The Land Of Yrx, Steve Tibbetts, etc.

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Example article extract

KEN MOORE
"Rock musician, avant-gardist, synthesist"

Ken Moore is something at an enigma for an American musician, not being bothered with trends or fashion, he has forged his own musical channel over the past 15 years, with a collection of over 20 inventive and varied cassettes. Maybe you haven’t heard of Ken before, it’s quite likely. Unless you were tempted to investigate his music by the mentions given in Eurock a few years back, the only other promotion he’s gained is via C.L.E.M., the cassette TO COME INTO BEING that Chris Furse (of Face Out -Ed.) passed around to a few friends circa 1981, or the track included on our own A CAGE WENT IN SEARCH OF A BIRD compilation. Anyone that’s heard these two examples of his work may be surprised by Ken’s other releases, as they are hardly typical of his music.

What I aim to do in this article, via my own descriptions and a letter interview with Ken, is to describe the various aspects of Ken’s music and also give an insight to the man himself.

Ken, what was your musical training, history, influences etc.?

‘When I was seven years old, the nuns at Catholic school (2nd grade) told us that they were to begin giving piano lessons at the convent. Anyone who had a piano could sign up for Saturday mornings. I went home that night and told my parents I wanted to take piano lessons, but we didn’t have a piano. To my surprise, they went out and bought a nice apartment sized baby grand, for their living room. I took lessons for about six years, but even though I could read music, I still liked picking out chords and melodies to popular songs by ear. My mother encouraged this, and often bought sheet music to musicals of the time (i.e. "Georgie Girl", "The Sound of Music" etc.). My teacher wanted to start me on the organ so I could play for Sunday services, but she got older and took ill, cancelling my lessons. The pastor there gave me a key to the church organ, and I wrote my own songs besides picking out Led Zeppelin and Vanilla Fudge tunes; I still have a tape made there once on my dad’s cheap recording machine.’

‘In junior high (9th grade) my best friend and I decided to form a rock band in music class one day. The band stayed together for three years, but I was the only original member left in the end. (This is why I don’t own a piano now - I sold the baby grand to buy a portable Lowrey organ). About that time, I began to write songs for the band, but they only did one of them because it was the only the singer could write words for. I continued to play my music for people who came over my home to visit. Most thought it was good.’

‘Before I left college, I took a course in electronic music. This event changed the course of my life. Until this time, I was deeply engrossed in (what I called) "organ rock": Deep Purple, Genesis Gentle Giant, Yes, ELP, Van Der Graaf Generator. To listen to Morton Subotnick on the Buchla synth was disappointing event. I had to relearn how to listen to music all over again. But I kept trying, and a bass player friend of mine (Mark Chance) turned me onto Tangerine Dream. I bought some early Klaus Schulze LP’s, a mini-Moog, and a 4-channel Teac and began to record my first approach to my own brand a electronic music (Steeple Church, The Dream In E/C) inspired by Schulze’s early works (for choir/organ).

As a rock musician, Ken is in a world of his own creating his unique style and identity.
His first such work dates from 1974 - SENSE OF RECREATION which explores many musical avenues: heavy organ rock akin to instrumental ELP, Nice or Trace (without the classical elements), more abstract/complex rock somewhat like Egg (but with synth) and some aggressive psychedelic styles. The little synth ditties/interludes acted as nice counterpoints for the energetic rock works.
Apart from odd tracks here and there, Ken didn’t produce another rock album until 1985 - PRISM EYE GLASS, which introduced a new more personal, rock style. Gone were the Keith Emerson style keyboard mannerisms, replaced by a style completely his own. This is an album of high quality European style rock, complex intelligent compositions that continually surprise. All comparisons here are very tentative, though I could give a few pointers - Goblin, Shylock, Artcane, Camel, S.F.F., Sensations Fix. Don’t take these as literal comparisons!
THE CHESS KINGDOM followed in similar style, though with more variety and experimentation (two tracks are for video game and tape manipulation!). The track Sensations Fix is undoubtedly a dedication to the band of the same name. My Unanswered Prayer is the only actual "song" to be featured on any of his tapes, and oddly comes across much like early Camel! The title track is brilliantly executed 15 minute opus, which while rattling along twists and turns in many complex directions. If you’ve heard CLEARLIGHT SYMPHONY you’ll probably know what to expect. Ken’s late rock work is with the guitarist David Wayne Myers but more about that later.

....

REACHING BEYOND THE SPHERE is indeed a brilliant album, scarcely have I heard rock powered with such emotion and energy without the need for being avant-garde or weird. Myers is indeed an exceptionally talented guitarist too, I thought such impeccable guitaring had been lost back in the 70's, but not so. Totally instrumental, this is what bands like Camel in their early days could only hint at, being tied down by record contracts undoubtedly does restrict creativity. The closest comparisons that come to mind here are Shylock’s LP GIALOGUES and occasionally Sensations Fix’s PORTABLE MADNESS, full throttle with guitars and synths doing overtime, Ken has certainly become an adept drummer too. In fact this music is so good, that actual words to describe it fail me.

etc....

Article by Alan Freeman

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