Friday, 10 August 2018

Ray Lynch - Deep Breakfast (1984)

Spied this the other week lurking in a 99p bin, and the album title and all that delightful salmon pink background made me grin and grab it.  On first glance looked either a bit jazzy or a bit synthy.  Turns out it's only one of the most successful electronic New Age albums ever produced, having initially been a private release, then reissued a couple of times including by Windham Hill, who kept it in print resulting in a platinum certification by 1994.

Ray Lynch was born in Utah in 1943, and after classical training and playing in a baroque group as a lutist, wound up in California in 1980 to switch to electronic music.  Deep Breakfast was his third album, and contrary to my thoughts of a bottomless bowl of Shreddies, the title and in fact many of Lynch's track titles came from a book by his spiritual teacher (and alleged dirty old letch) Adi Da Samraj, aka Da Love Ananda, Bubba Free John etc etc.  Anyway, the music here is all instrumental, and the titles could really be anything.  Let's listen.

Deep Breakfast is a really nice mix of analogue synth and early DX7, and the composition and arrangements definitely reflect the skill of one classically trained with a baroque affinity.  There's a good balance of sunny, poppy and upbeat tracks with more mellow, reflective material.  The first half of the album is purely electronic, and the second adds guitar, piano, flute and viola in places.  Lynch apparently disliked the New Age tag, considering his music a cut above much of the dross being produced, and he's not wrong - this is top-drawer stuff in its era.  My favourites are the gorgeous, Roedelius-like miniature Falling In The Garden and its neighbour Your Feeling Shoulders, which shows a definite Vangelis influence.  Some nice TD-esque sequencing here too, in the second and the last tracks.  Superior sounds for getting the muesli crumbs out of your futon.

mega / zippy

9 comments:

  1. Really? Honestly? All the stuff that you tend to gravitate towards, and you can take this thing seriously for more than 10 seconds? Don't get me wrong, I definitely have my favorites along the "zero-actual-musical-nutritional-value" lines as well - but this is some stunningly empty-headed stuff here. "Top drawer"? Must be a mighty small piece of furniture. Next thing you know you'll be posting late 80s Kitaro stuff...

    Also worth noting : "Celestial Soda Pop". (Besides the title alone which is just.....words fail.) He makes that little melodic swerve JUST in time to avoid Giorgio Moroder and Debbie Harry's lawyers giving him a little call to say, "Uh, dude - I don't think so..."

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    1. Ha, I knew Celestial Soda Pop was sounding familiar - more than a slight debt to Giorgio. And you can virtually sing the verse of Call Me over it; you'd think I'd recognize a classic like that (UK No.1 when I was born, no less).

      Hmmm... let's say "top drawer" in relation to other New Age music, rather than my original 'top drawer in its era'. As in, it's not exactly groundbreaking electronica, but I'm still enjoying it. Particularly the back half of the album when more instrumentation comes into play.

      Don't worry, I don't have any Kitaro - do have some Yanni, but it's strictly a guilty pleasure rather than stuff I'd consider posting.

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    2. Well, I would not put it in any sort of "essential achievements of all time" list, but the 1979 Oasis LP by Kitaro is pretty good. But you sure as hell don't need anything beyond that by him.

      And yeah - you keep your Yanni hidden and I'll keep all my Hardcastle/Jazzmasters stuff tucked away and we'll all be good. ;)

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    3. Yeah you do! I hate to say it but Asia is a live recording(1983?) and there are some really cosmic rock moments in that recording. He has a phenomenal support band and the guitar player on a few tracks is impeccable. Id like also mention Astral Voyage and Full Moon Story his debut and follow-up have a definite nod to Pink Floyd as he just departed the Far East Family Band to go solo circa 1977.

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  2. Nice post! I was intro'd to Rays music in the 80s via all the new age music that was playing in little mom and pop stores in Bangor Maine. Tiny Geometries is and always be a favorite since its a little Tangerine Dream like. Btw he did use and ARP analog synth and a TX7 Im guessing a rack ver. of the DX7? Sky of Mind which can prior to DB is good but more chamber like and not 100% electronic. Wish he would have released more music nothing since the 90s I think. What a talented artist.

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    1. Must try Sky Of Mind sometime then, definitely been enjoying the tracks towards the end of DB when the other instruments come into play.

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    2. Ah, the Maine connection! I *knew* this music — at least the names of the artist and album — were familiar from somewhere. It must have been getting rotation on our community radio station, WERU, when we were new here. As such, it brings back pleasant memories indeed. Though I can't say it made a deep or lasting impression.

      One artist of broadly New Agey bent that *did* make an impression was Kay Gardner, a Maine flutist and composer, who co-hosted a show on this same radio station. Her work could be all over the board but there was one album — Moods and Rituals, I think — that was really noteworthy.

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  3. loved this record since i first heard it 30 years ago!

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  4. This is good stuff, but (in my opinion) Nothing Above My Shoulders But The Evening (by Ray Lynch) is one of the ten best albums of the 20th century. Kids who think this lacks substance can go back to their Kiss albums.

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