Laser Pace - Granfalloon (Takoma - 1974) Wow!

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Yeah, extra-special thanks to Colin, Scott and Maria!

Myonga Vön Bontee, Monday, 12 November 2007 23:29 (thirteen years ago) link

Everything about this reminds me of Annette Peacock. The slow, bluesy funk rock. The moog - especially on Sky Fell, that tone. And while her voice doesn't exactly sound like peacock's, her singing through effects does.

jaxon, Thursday, 15 November 2007 17:47 (thirteen years ago) link

Howdy! This is John "Chris" Christensen from Laser Pace. I've really enjoyed watching (and listening to) your dialogue about our album Granfalloon. If you have any questions about the group or our music, I can be contacted at:

Thanks for keeping the music alive!


John Christensen, Friday, 16 November 2007 18:44 (thirteen years ago) link

Whoa, hey there! Glad you could find us.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 16 November 2007 18:58 (thirteen years ago) link

Yeah! (having those Laser Pace tracks posted makes me paranoid about downloading, though--visions of black vinyl helicopters landing on my bank statements--visually hep, otherwise not so much)

dow, Friday, 16 November 2007 19:26 (thirteen years ago) link

Great stuff, John! You rock!

scott seward, Friday, 16 November 2007 19:45 (thirteen years ago) link

I wonder if John knows what happened to Maureen. And what he thought of her guitar playing.

scott seward, Friday, 16 November 2007 19:50 (thirteen years ago) link

Sky Fell

Cat Stevens, Friday, 16 November 2007 19:52 (thirteen years ago) link

Black vinyl RIAA sky!

dow, Friday, 16 November 2007 19:53 (thirteen years ago) link

Maureen and I are still in touch. I ran into her and Doug aka: D. Distorto, at the NAMM Show last January. We joked that if we had about ten more fans we might stage a reunion tour!! We have heard that the album is supposed to be a minor cult classic in Europe, although it would hard for us to know for sure.

As to Maureen's guitar playing, I appreciate it a lot more in retrospect than I did at the time. I always thought that she was a brilliant lyricist, and her chord vocabulary and their use in composition were amazing. At the time I was much more impressed by her abilities as a rhythm player, which were extraordinary. I've always been disappointed that we didn't actually write some songs together, although the three of us did all the arranging together. Granfalloon was very much a group effort. Looking back, I can see that our individual approaches to lead guitar playing have more than a few similarities.

John Christensen, Saturday, 17 November 2007 00:22 (thirteen years ago) link

Everything about this reminds me of Annette Peacock.

^^^ OTM.

C0L1N B..., Saturday, 17 November 2007 00:25 (thirteen years ago) link

John, if you want me to take down the mp3s, just let me know.

C0L1N B..., Saturday, 17 November 2007 00:27 (thirteen years ago) link

Thanks for the info, John!

One more question, if you don't mind. What inspired the use of electronics? What were you guys listening to at the time that might have contributed to the sound of Laser Pace. I can hear different jazz and progressive rock elements in the sound, but not everyone at the time was rocking the synths/electronics like you guys were.

scott seward, Saturday, 17 November 2007 00:31 (thirteen years ago) link

Please don't take the clips down!

I actually sent out a bulletin from my Myspace ( telling people where to find the links. Right now, I'd just like to have more people hear it. The record hasn’t been heard much in the last 35 years except for a few playings here and there on alternative/college radio stations. Granfalloon isn’t currently in release, so I don’t really see a conflict. If it were out there legitimately, then it would be a little different.


John Christensen, Saturday, 17 November 2007 00:45 (thirteen years ago) link

Good question Scott!

I think germ was actually planted in '66.

Doug, his brother Brian, and I were in a band called Opus 1. We recorded for Bob Keane (Ritchie Valens, Bobby Fuller, Barry White, etc.) on Mustang Records. The Deckers father was James Decker, a world class french horn player and studio musician, supposedly Stravinsky's favorite musician.

One day Jim (James) called and said that we had to come to this rehearsal of Stockhausen music he was going to perform in Ojai. At the rehearsal we met either Beaver or Krause, I can’t really remember which one anymore. They were working with one of the first Robert Moog synths. We were knocked out! I know Doug was profoundly affected by it, and so was I. From then on I was trying to incorporate tape effects etc., into my own music in an attempt to get that sound, which of course didn’t work!

In about ‘71 or ‘72 Doug bought a Buchla synth from Morton Subotnik. It was the one used to record “Silver Apples of the Moon.” We already knew even before we started writing songs for Laser Pace that it would be all over our as yet unnamed record. The Buchla would be played by Jim Divisek (who had studied with Subotnik), Doug (the rock and roller synthesist) and pianist Larry Parsons, who really didn’t program it, he just played it while Doug did the various processes. I think Maureen may have played some stuff on it as well, but I don’t really remember for sure.

We all listened to everything. Our tastes were diverse to say the least. I was (and still am) a huge Crimson fan, and was always bringing these records around for Doug and Maureen to listen to; some Airto, some Miles, Cathy Berberian, etc. At first they were a little bugged, and then once they got into it, they responded by ‘buying stock’ in Tower Records! The really good thing about Doug and Maureen back then was that they, like me, were influenced by what they heard, but they NEVER tried to copy it. We also hated it when Synths went from being synths, to being used to copy other instruments. That really was the death of synthesis, the way we saw it.


John Christensen, Saturday, 17 November 2007 01:30 (thirteen years ago) link

Thanks again for the information and the memories! I love hearing stuff like this. I'm wondering if the album would have found a bigger audience if it had been on another label. Takoma was mostly known for acoustic/folk records(experimental acoustic/folk records to be sure - and don't get me wrong, i'm certainly glad that someone put it out),but here's this wildly creative progressive/experimental rock record...well, you get what I'm saying.
In any case, all these years later, thanks for the music! It's an inspiring listen. And certainly unique.

It would be great if someone like Anthology Recordings put it out there for more people to hear. It definitely deserves to be heard by more people.

scott seward, Saturday, 17 November 2007 02:09 (thirteen years ago) link

This is really good stuff!

But none of the links above have included "Scatter" yet. Scott's first link matches up with "Endless" from Colin's upload, and the 2nd link matches up with all of Side 1 from ditto. So "Scatter" is the track that hasn't been put up yet. The speed/pitch differences betw. Scott's uploads and Colin's are pretty pronounced, which is closer to "correct"?

Rock Hardy, Saturday, 17 November 2007 02:11 (thirteen years ago) link

Holy shit, I suspected that had to be a Buchla or something equally exotic, so bizarre were those sounds! Not that I really know what the hell I'm talking about; but I completely agree with the "death of synthesis" sentiment.

Anyway: Cool record, JC! Thanks for getting in touch.

Myonga Vön Bontee, Saturday, 17 November 2007 02:18 (thirteen years ago) link

so, wait, that link up there that says side 2 is all of side 1? oh god, i'm so confused. i thought it was all of side 2. i don't know what the heck we were doing.

as far as pitch and all that, i have no idea. i have a brand new turntable. it sounds good to me. we put it right into the computer and into audacity.

scott seward, Saturday, 17 November 2007 02:28 (thirteen years ago) link

I think it's side 2! I thought I heard all eight songs.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 17 November 2007 02:38 (thirteen years ago) link

okay, it is side 2. and it ends with scatter. phew. i just downloaded it again.

scott seward, Saturday, 17 November 2007 02:39 (thirteen years ago) link

About the Buchla. It played in Quadraphonic Sound! Too bad it had to be tracked in stereo. Doug still has the multitracks from the sessions. I always thought it would be really cool to remix the album 5.1 in surround sound.

Also, Sky Fell (Too) is one of my two vocals on the record. I think I began the composition of that song while I was in Vietnam in ‘68. I know it was finished while i was serving in Germany in 1970. D. Distorto got co-writer credit for the improvised bass solo at the beginning of the song that he played reluctantly (and brilliantly) at my urging. D: “Was that what you wanted?” JC: “Absofringinlutely.”

John Christensen, Saturday, 17 November 2007 17:33 (thirteen years ago) link

Yeah, great point about synthesizers aren't meant to imitate other instruments; Brian Eno also said in the 70s that he was determined to stay away from that (and also from the synth as just one more instrument, which was why he sat behind the sound board at Roxy concerts and used the synthesizer to texture the overall mix), and I think it was Chick Corea (or maybe Herbie Hancock) who said he finally realized he had to give up treating it as piano or organ, and start from scratch, which is what Miles was trying to get him to do.

dow, Saturday, 17 November 2007 18:39 (thirteen years ago) link

In about ‘71 or ‘72 Doug bought a Buchla synth from Morton Subotnik. It was the one used to record “Silver Apples of the Moon.”

!!! wow

dmr, Saturday, 17 November 2007 21:49 (thirteen years ago) link

I loved what Herbie Hancock was doing with the band "Sextant" when he had Patrick Gleason doing all the synth stuff. It was textural and environmental, not necessarily tonal. Catching that band live was like the best psychedelic experience you could ever have without drugs! That's the stuff we loved!


John Christensen, Saturday, 17 November 2007 22:24 (thirteen years ago) link

Patrick Gleason! Yeah, forgot about him--wonder what else he's done...also that guy, Roger Something? who did the album Cosmic Furnace, and worked with Todd Rungren, I think.

dow, Sunday, 18 November 2007 04:20 (thirteen years ago) link

And speaking of Silver Apples Of The Moon, Chris, did you listen to the band Silver Apples? Or United States Of America?

dow, Sunday, 18 November 2007 04:22 (thirteen years ago) link

who's chris?

is the roger you're talking about Robert Margouleff of TONTOS Expanding Headband (with Malcolm Cecil)?

jaxon, Sunday, 18 November 2007 08:53 (thirteen years ago) link

That would be Roger Powell. And "Chris" is presumably Mr. Christensen.

Catching that band live was like the best psychedelic experience you could ever have without drugs!

Sextant is pretty good WITH drugs too!

Myonga Vön Bontee, Sunday, 18 November 2007 09:25 (thirteen years ago) link

And speaking of Silver Apples Of The Moon, Chris, did you listen to the band Silver Apples? Or United States Of America?

No, I don't know Silver Apples, but I bought The Unites States of America when it was originally released; I still have my copy of it. Was it Joseph Byrd that was in that band? I know Doug and he became friends years later........ something in the back of my mind says he did something for Takoma, American Band Music, or something like that... Music Box? Shit! Things are getting cloudy in here!

And yes, Sextant was good in an altered stage of consciousness as well........

JC Aka: "Chris"

John Christensen, Sunday, 18 November 2007 09:41 (thirteen years ago) link

I think there is still some confusion over what's been posted. if someone has all eight tracks can you reup them as a zip file? this music is incredible.

best as I can tell from comparing titles with the tracks Colin posted, the file Scott put up labeled Side 2 contains Closet Casualty, Avatar, Whoever You Are You, and Sky Fell

the 4-minute file labeled Side 1 is only the song Endless

and then Colin also posted Oh Yeah and Redemption ... no Scatter

(so either Colin's titles are all wrong or the stickers on Scott's LP are on the wrong sides, basically ... both totally possible. hope this helps get things straightened out. sorry if I am just being dense.)

dmr, Sunday, 18 November 2007 18:20 (thirteen years ago) link

Was it Joseph Byrd that was in that band?

yep Joseph Byrd was in USA ... not sure if he ever recorded for Takoma but he did a post-USA record for Columbia called "The American Metaphysical Circus" under the name Joe Byrd and the Field Hippies

dmr, Sunday, 18 November 2007 18:22 (thirteen years ago) link

dmr, the full side i have posted up there is definitely the 2nd side. disregard any tags or anything. so, if you just download colin's first four songs and my second side, you'll have the whole album.

scott seward, Sunday, 18 November 2007 19:39 (thirteen years ago) link

Not if Colin's first four songs are mislabeled! The four songs in the full side you uploaded match the songs that Colin has labeled with side 1's song titles.

Are the track times on the LP anywhere? If you could post them, that would help with the confusion.

Rock Hardy, Sunday, 18 November 2007 20:13 (thirteen years ago) link

i have to join the admirers crowd.amazing.
the first song sounds to me like an underground,progressive,more eccentric version of steely dan .

Zeno, Sunday, 18 November 2007 21:02 (thirteen years ago) link

all right, let me put it this way, this is what i actually posted:

side 1

closet casualty (maureen o'connor)

side 2

endless (maureen o'connor)

oh yeah? (w.g. christensen)

redemption (maureen o'connor)

scatter (d.distorto)

scott seward, Sunday, 18 November 2007 21:10 (thirteen years ago) link

i mean, that's what you'll hear if you download those links. you'll miss three songs on the first side after closet casualty.

scott seward, Sunday, 18 November 2007 21:12 (thirteen years ago) link

The four songs that you have listed as Side 2 are the same as the four songs that Colin has given Side 1's song titles. Do you have the track times?

Rock Hardy, Sunday, 18 November 2007 21:31 (thirteen years ago) link

only 158.50 $ on ebay

Zeno, Sunday, 18 November 2007 21:43 (thirteen years ago) link

thanks guys for the uploads; not feeling this except for "Sky Fell", and the odd groove here and there between the wankery, but i'm hung over so who knows. i'll listen to side 2 later.

tremendoid, Sunday, 18 November 2007 21:48 (thirteen years ago) link

xpost John introduced himself as John "Chris" Christensen and that's the name on his myspace, so that's why I addressed him that way. How did this get on folkiecentric Takoma, did Fahey sign yall up? (Since some of his own 60s-70s albums featured electronic experiments, I thought maybe--?)

dow, Monday, 19 November 2007 04:00 (thirteen years ago) link

$124.01 from Vinylstorage in Italy!

Myonga Vön Bontee, Monday, 19 November 2007 05:14 (thirteen years ago) link

Laser Pace was invited to be on Takoma by John Fahey.
John and Doug Decker worked together on a lot of projects with Doug as his engineer of choice. There is a letter that I wrote to Acoustic Guitar Magazine a while back that details the revolutionary way that Doug approached recording Fahey's guitar. Anyway, they were compadres! When Doug told Fahey about our project he wanted to hear it. Fahey described it as "Running through an electronic jungle."


John Christensen, Monday, 19 November 2007 17:55 (thirteen years ago) link

love this record! far too few people used the Buchla in a rock / songs context. the only other band I can even think of that did was Chrome, and that was later.

Milton Parker, Monday, 19 November 2007 19:04 (thirteen years ago) link

some non ILMer tried to DL this from me on slsk last night. the word is out.

jaxon, Monday, 19 November 2007 19:11 (thirteen years ago) link

ILMer? DL? I think DL must be downlaod.... Translate please?


John Christensen, Monday, 19 November 2007 19:34 (thirteen years ago) link

that's d-o-w-n-l-o-a-d. Where's my spellcheck!

John Christensen, Monday, 19 November 2007 19:37 (thirteen years ago) link

Geez, ILMer= I Love Music. Pardon my geezerness!

John Christensen, Monday, 19 November 2007 19:39 (thirteen years ago) link

Joseph Byrd put out a record on Takoma called Yankee Transcendoodle. It's solo synthesiser classic Americana. It doesn't measure up to the rock band records, imo.

Trip Maker, Monday, 19 November 2007 19:53 (thirteen years ago) link

The mp3s I uploaded were from soulseek, so dmr is probably right that they're mislabeled. Sorry for any confusion!

C0L1N B..., Tuesday, 20 November 2007 00:25 (thirteen years ago) link

Picked up a copy at Cheapo today
What an amazing, demented record

Good job on the liner notes skot

The Desus & Mero Chain (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 27 April 2018 23:11 (three years ago) link


scott seward, Saturday, 28 April 2018 15:02 (three years ago) link

oh shit i gotta pick one of these up just for scott's notes

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Saturday, 28 April 2018 15:06 (three years ago) link

i mean also for the record itself

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Saturday, 28 April 2018 15:06 (three years ago) link

i was chatting a little with byron coley at his feeding tube table at wfmu. he said the reissue did really well -- he sold them all out. so grab one from a record store if you see it.

Thus Sang Freud, Saturday, 28 April 2018 23:51 (three years ago) link

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