Langley Schools Music Project â€“ David Bowie â€“ â€œSpace Oddityâ€
The Langley Schools Music Project was a sprightly idea culled from the mind of Hans Fenger, a man with a vision not to create a piece of art or collect piles of cash, but to find a way to captivate the young minds in his classroom. Recorded in 1978, on a sunny afternoon in a school gymnasium in British Columbia, Canada, the sounds of acoustic guitars, drums, bells and 110 childrenâ€™s voices float hopefully from the speakers, taking the listener further back in time to a place where optimism reigned and little attention was paid to the stresses of adult life. Fenger instilled a sense of virtue and discipline in these childrenâ€™s voices and hands, providing them with a lasting interest and confidence in a previously unexplored musical realm. A truly pleasurable listening experience throughout, it must be said â€“ there is something sanguine and spooky in the unprecedented juxtaposition of hearing a large group of kids sing David Bowieâ€™s interstellar breakdown, Space Oddity.
Tapping into our own latent, youthful capacities, Mike and I decided to retake Jack London Square. And it almost worked. We stumbled upon Home of Chicken and Waffles and admitted neither of us had ever indulged in such a combination. While we waited for our beers and chicken waffles, we talked about how maybe weâ€™re getting too old for this shit. We didnâ€™t specify what â€œthis shitâ€ stood for exactly, but we did take a moment to recognize time as a sensitivity; desire sans patience, repose within the finite. And beer. Where the hell was our goddamn beer?
Yamasukiâ€™s Le Monde Fabuleux Des Yamasuki is not susceptible to such bounded theories. A French/Japanese concept record, it has all the makings of an album that is way ahead of its time. Conjured in 1971 by French producers Daniel Vangarde and Jean Kluger as a language learning tool for Franco-children, the two learned Japanese before recording and enlisted the help of a black-belt judo master to conduct the french-fuzz/psych-rock opera.
The J-pop sensibilities are laced throughout, with the musical shoestrings double-knotted by a choir composed of French schoolchildren singing in Japanese. The results are a freaky-ass explosion that sounds something like a high school marching band cross-pollinated with a psychedelic hip-hop ninja whose penchants for sonic karate chops and funky theatrics are undeniably original. It should be duly noted that Daniel Vangarde is the father of Thomas Bangalter, one-half of the electronic duo Daft Punk; not a shock if you are familiar with the groupâ€™s lauded debut, Homework.
These youthful and supernatural moments â€“ as close or far-and-few between as they may arrive to any one person â€“ are what these two records manage to somehow suspend infinitely in time. They provide a light and carefree sound only children can help to convey. Within each of these albums, a warm innocence is magnified and projected into the ears of anyone who listens to them. I tried to inject some words into Mikeâ€™s ears while we played darts at the Albatross, but he was on his own trip: round, bubbly bass lines and Bob Dylan lyrics lingered across his face as I told him it was his turn. He snapped out of it, and for a split second I swore I saw him 20 years younger, ready to show the world how to throw a bullseye.
About Sade Sundays: Sade Sundays is a two-part monthly column written by Michael Tapscott and Joshua Rampage. A profundity has never slipped past the lips of a man who lives a life of quiet desperation. He has time for no such subtleties. So basically, Joshua and Michael have time on their hands. They spend it together one Sunday a month, dispensing boozy wisdom and violent, undefended revelries. You may listen, but you may also render their words as a call of the wild, a spear from St. George into the side of the dragon beast, or a meaningless squabble. Contact us: Sade.Sundays@thebaybridged.com