So last night we had another gathering of the “Music Salon” crew out in Malvern. It’s hard to describe the proceedings; basically it’s a group of music lovers sitting around listening to records — and last night we were lucky to be hearing music on a system built by Geoff Daniels, the evening’s host. He’s built his own turntable and these speakers that might be the most accurate I’ve ever heard. Their sound is rich, complex, pure thrills with nothing in the way. Everyone involved brought great music to share, and even things we’ve heard a lot — Springsteen’s “Jungleland” — really resonated in that atmosphere.
I never bring vinyl, mostly because I don’t have much left. But in a long-overdue attic cleanup my wife found a copy of Fireballet’s Night On Bald Mountain, a 1975 record by a short-lived American prog-rock band in which they do a spot-on synthesizer-heavy rock version of the Mussorgsky symphonic classic. I’ve had it since my prog phase from high school, and hadn’t seen it in easily 20 years, so it was interesting to share both the surprisingly faithful rendition of Night On Bald Mountain and also a lovely original, “Atmospheres.” As the cover was passed around, one of our founding members, Arthur Mann, shook his head because for many years he worked with Jim Como, the lead singer and drummer of Fireballet, at Ryko. They’re still in touch.
What are the chances, really? A record I lost track of after high school from a band that was known marginally (though remains much beloved within a small circle of American progressive obsessives) turning up at a gathering in 2011, where a personal connection to one of the musicians is discovered?
If you’re curious, there are several Fireballet offerings on YouTube. Here’s a link to one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9dbPq8JkEo.